Analyzing Brian Phillips “Your Stupid Rage”

Brian Phillips is here to save my life, and he is not kidding. At least, that’s what he’s told me, in the first sentence of his Run of the Play article, “Your Stupid Rage”. Phillips addresses the audience directly, kind of like breaking the fourth wall in television or movies, when the character looks into the camera and talks straight to the viewer. I’m sure his intention was to address fellow soccer fans, but he makes observations about life that every person can relate to, regardless of soccer team allegiance/preference/interest. Just because I don’t follow soccer doesn’t mean this article can’t apply to me or my life: “I mean how you’re going to live as a sports fan, but let there be no limit to the revelation: I mean how you’re going to live in every other way, too.”

He takes care not to patronize his reader or to call them out and make them uncomfortable. Phillips simply wants to make a better community for everyone invested in soccer fandom. He states that he’s not interested in solving the problem of innate rudeness; instead he tackles a specific annoyance, like hyper-partisanship. He knows that when you are “totallysupercommited” to your club that inevitably, “something is always slightly wrong with your perceptions.” The author develops his rapport with the audience by connecting with them thorough a shared common experience. “When you become a low-grade-rage fan, your club is always in the right, and truth has nothing to do with it.”

In the last paragraph, Phillips reprises his direct conversation with the audience: “And here’s where I save your life.” He gives his “uncommon” advice to his audience not to be so devoted to a football club as to be blindly ignorant of the real purpose of fandom.  His advice? “You just can’t be an idiot.”

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