Week Three of the World Cup has come to an end. And what a [🚨 CLICHÉ KLAXON!!! 🚨] Feast Of Football it’s been. Notwithstanding that Brazil continue to elicit roughly the same amount of sympathy as their 1994 World Cup-winning edition of vicious bores, rather than 1982’s beautiful losers.
Yeah. Happy Independence Day to you, too. In trying to remind myself of the details of Leonardo’s brutal, jaw-breaking elbow on Tab Ramos, I came across this discussion of the incident, which includes the following extract from ITV’s commentary in Britain:
Kevin Keegan: “Well I’d love to see that again, I didn’t think he did that much wrong… Look, he’s holding him”. Alan Parry: “Ahh, Elbow” KK: “Yeah but he’s being held Alan” AP: “But that’s an elbow though isn’t it?” KK: “Yes, but…”
As usual, the standard of commentary and analysis we’ve had to sit through this year has been atrocious, too.
— Ricky Monahan Brown (@ricky_ballboy) 1 July 2018
To be fair, Spain did lose that game, but are we still condemning tiki-taka as a kind of cheating ten years after Euro 2018? Well, of course we are. It’s just not of a one with the uniquely British sense of fair play and up-and-at-em heroism, is it?
I wonder what Keggy Keegle had to say about that?
But I’m probably just being moody because Scotland didn’t qualify, right? And a Scottish player wouldn’t do anything as underhand as that, right?
On the other hand, I was just remarking to a friend that I can remember rooting for England in the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea while I was living in New York. And even if I’m weeping for myself, I’ll be happy for my English friends if the unimaginable happens this year.
There just seems to be something different about the experience of watching the World Cup in Britain.
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) July 4, 2018
When even the Mail agrees with me, we’ve really passed through the looking glass. I don’t suppose I should be too hard on Keegan and Glenn Hoddle. The mindfulness practice that I was encouraged to adopt in the aftermath of my stroke has reawakened my interest in critical thinking. But I don’t think that that critical thinking is top of the curriculum in the football academies.
No. The Latins (except for the Samba Selecao) practice the dark arts. Japan’s play is tidy. The Spaniards have a perverse aversion getting it in the mixer. The African nations are indisciplined in defence. Scotland boot people up in the air. And as evidenced above, the national television stations – and no doubt, the Mail itself – encourage this sort of thing.
Kane’s father was born in Ireland. Dier grew up in Portugal. Sterling was born in Jamaica. Lingard’s grandparents came from Saint Vincent. Alli’s father is from Nigeria. They represent England. UKIP don’t. https://t.co/sjumYusJej
— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) July 3, 2018
And then there’s people having to have this sort of conversation with the bandwagon-jumpers from UKIP. Did you know that the BBC have had former UKIP leader Nigel Farage appear on Question Time thirty-two times? And contrary to what Kippers might think, I can assure you that fitba’s no comin hame any time soon. Now, using my critical facilities, I can acknowledge that football wasn’t invented in Scotland just because Patrick Barclay says so in the Independent. I remember going to see a play on Broadway about the invention of television and being astonished that it didn’t feature Scotsman John Logie Baird.
Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention, you see, was about American Philo Farnworth’s invention of the first fully functional and complete all-electronic television system. It says here that, while Baird gave the first public demonstration of the transmission of moving images, Farnsworth came up with the technology necessary to give TV its mass appeal. Needless to say, we don’t get into that distinction in Scotland. And my American friends often give me a blank look when I bring up Baird.
It turns out that The Farnsworth Invention is itself not historically accurate, but an intentional alteration of the story. What I’m saying, I guess, is that it pays to consider what we consume, whether it’s a commentator’s jingoism, the Mail (whether in white hat or black shirt mode), or Aaron Sorkin playing fast and loose with the facts for the sake of art. Because all that stuff has an effect on us. Which leads me to a final observation which brightened my day in the face of footballing fatalism.
Yesterday, the baby offered a finger of his sardine sandwich to the cat. Melted my heart.
Evidence, if I can go all theological on this, that we are not born bad but vested interests make us so. — Ricky Monahan Brown (@ricky_ballboy) July 4, 2018
I hope your day is good, too!