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cincinnati redsChicago Cubs – There was a time when baseball was America’s pastime and the sport held the allegiance of all right-thinking people, but football has since supplanted it in the hearts of an increasingly conservative populace. In a more innocent age, Cubs were a perfectly acceptable mascot, but football demanded more machismo, and so it was that Chicago’s team became the Bears, in an effort to one-up the beloved baseball team. Bears were big, burly, and tough, while Cubs–or worse still, Cubbies–were derided as less manly. Of course, after the sexual revolution of the 1970s, the irony of big, hairy men who rolled around in the grass together and were prone to patting each other on their butts being seen as exemplars of heterosexual toughness became apparent. The Cubs, meanwhile, remain simple adorable losers, with little sexual identity whatsoever.

Milwaukee Brewers – During Prohibition, Milwaukee, which had long been known as a centre of beer production, struggled mightily. Looking to save their businesses, the breweries diversified their products to include colas and root beers. Al Capone took advantage of the situation and arranged for the smuggling of illicit booze into Chicago from nearby Milwaukee. Always eager to conceal his criminal operations behind a veneer of legitimate business, Capone owned a company that supplied public school cafeterias with soft drinks. In 1927 his entire operation was almost brought to its knees when alcohol meant for speakeasies was accidentally shipped to grammar schools, resulting in mass drunkenness amongst Chicago’s 5 to 8-year olds. Capone managed to shift the blame to the Milwaukee breweries, which were shut down for the remainder of Prohibition, and the entire city, by extension, was vilified as a den of iniquity. In Chicago, ever since, a “Milwaukee Brewer” has meant someone who serves alcohol to minors.

St. Louis Cardinals – Catholics were once viewed with as much suspicion in America as Muslims and Scientologists are today. In fact, the main targets of the Ku Klux Klan after African Americans were Catholics. St. Louis, for a time the biggest city on the Frontier, and the Gateway to the West, once had two baseball teams: the Browns and the still-extant Cardinals. Much like Rangers and Celtic in Glasgow, the teams garnered support from opposite sides of the spiritual divide. The pious and unprepossessing Browns were the choice of dour Protestants, while the Cardinals, as much as they tried to hide their papal allegiance behind their bird mascot, were Catholic to the marrow. For the many born-again Christians who don’t believe Catholics are Christians, the Cardinals still represent a fifth column in the heart of the Mid-West.

Pittsburgh Pirates – At the height of their success in the nineteen-oughts, the Pirates were the preeminent base stealers in baseball, but off the diamond were notorious ladies men, apt to steal your best gal from under your nose. This reputation took a severe hit in the 1970s with the rise to prominence of the homely Kent Tekulve, and was well and truly put to rest with the addition of the monstrously ugly Zane Smith in the 1980s.

Cincinnati Reds – Dirty Commies. Still, twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall? You betcha.

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In a recent speech, U.S. Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney spoke about American exceptionalism, and his belief that God has big plans for the United States. In fact, Romney believes that God (not just some Mormon God, because Romney also wants you to know that he believes in the same God as you do, as long as you’re a Christian, because he’s a Christian too, even thought most Americans believe Mormonism is a cult and not Christian at all–much like many evangelicals believe Catholics aren’t really Christians either) created the United States for a higher purpose, which hasn’t been fulfilled, despite fears that American hegemony is over and that China will soon rule the world. Not so! says Romney. America is just getting started! The twenty-first century will be a century of American dominance! The United States remains a beacon to all freedom-loving peoples everywhere, with the possible exception of the French! America is not done with you yet, planet Earth!

In light of Romney’s confidence in the ongoing supremacy of the United States, it’s interesting to look at the rest of his speech, in order to see what he believes God’s plan is for some other countries. After all, this could be the next President of the United States of America, and the rest of us ought to know where we stand in Mitt’s vision of the coming world order.

Russia – supplier of mail order brides and strippers

Canada – buffer between America and Sarah Palin’s Alaska

Afghanistan – cudgel to criticize your predecessor’s foreign policy

Iran – beards and poignant but little-seen cinema

Great Britain – royalty we pretend to hate but secretly envy

Tunisia – setting for George Lucas Jr.’s Star Wars sequels

Colombia – cocaine to fuel America’s need to condemn drug use

Mexico – drug wars to scare America and keep border fences high and wages low

Japan – to prove to everyone that the U.S. will drop the bomb if they don’t behave

North Korea – a reminder that Communism is evil and America kicked its ass

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