Okay, Football. More specifically, the World Cup. Everyone's talking about it. So what is there left to be said by someone such as myself, who has absolutely no interest in the game whatsoever. Well, nothing, as it turns out, and I wouldn't be bothering if it weren't for a man by the name of Charlie Brooker.
Now Charlie, as we all know, writes a bit of a column in some newspaper or other, I forget which one, in which he talks about whatever rubbish he feels like talking about. Which is fair do's, he's a funny guy, people like to read his thoughts, everyones a winner. Anyway, he wrote one about the World Cup. Or rather, he wrote one about his lack of interest in the World Cup, the oversaturation of advertising themed around the World Cup ,and the nauseating faux-patriotism that is the inevitable by-product of the World Cup.
In this column he said everything I think about the bloody World Cup, and did it much more elegantly, succinctly and above all amusingly, than I could ever dream to do. So if you want to know my views on the World Cup (unlikely I know, cos why would you want to know my views on anything?), then track down his views and pretend I wrote them.
Which leads to the question, why am I bothering to type any of this. Well you see, I was inspired by his column, or more accurately the reader comments that followed his column on the interweb site of the newspaper in question. Several people agreed with his point of view, which tells me that they are right thinking individuals who have managed, against all the odds, to retain a modicum of the taste and common sense they were born with. Well done them. Others however, disagreed. Vehemently and with nobs on. It is these people that have got me typing.
You see, they have taken offense at the article. They have not all taken offense at the same portion of the article but there are 3 main, bones of contention, shall we say. I should point out that I am not writing this in defence of Charlie Brooker. On the one hand I doubt very much that he cares what people think about his views and on the other hand, he's more than capable of defending himself if he is. No, this is me defending MY views.
Anyway. One of the problems people had with the article was that Brooker finished it with a reference to the fact that he would be out of the country for the duration and therefore would not have to endure to much of it. This got certain people hot under the collar because he was rubbing it in their noses that he could afford to go on holiday while they couldn't. He's a snob, in other words. I know what I think about this complaint but won't say, because this is about defending me, not Brooker, and I most certainly can't afford to leave the country for the duration of the Cup. But Fuck off, seriously, if that is how you took that comment, you humorless little shits.
Point 2 is back to something I can relate to. The faux-patriotism. Now, leaving aside the imbecile who insisted that our armed forces were fighting and dying for our right to participate in a football tournament, the main problem people had was that the patriotism, in their minds, is not false. No, they hang flags from their bedroom windows, stick them on their cars and temp-tattoo (I hope) them on their kids 365 days a year. Proper flags too of course, not those cheap rip offs that don't even have ENGLAND written across the middle. English until I die, opined one. Excellent mate, well done.
Except it's not that way is it? No, for the most part, we whinge and we moan and can't be arsed to vote (I know more people turned out this year but it was hardly a huge majority of the populace was it). We complain about our public services and then we complain about our taxes. We are, lets face it here, a nation of people who, if we are honest with ourselves, are incredibly unpatriotic. In as lazy a way as possible. We don't firebomb the Houses of Parliament and chop off her Maj's head or anything.
The final point is the one that realy made me laugh. I simply could not believe that anyone could say this with a straight face. Maybe, just maybe, the first person to post it was being ironic. Possibly. Didn't stop a shedload of people from agreeing though. The complaint was essentially "Why do people who don't enjoy football feel the need to shove it down our throats? Just don't watch it if you don't like it. It's once every four years, just let us have our time."
I say once again, Fuck Off. Seriously, people who don't like Football shove the fact down peoples throats? Really? We live in a country where you are, especially if you're male, considered somehow sub-normal if you don't like Football. When I was a trainee at my old place of work I was ordered to fake an interest in Football because neither the staff nor the regular customers would accept me if I didn't. I didn't and they did. After about 5 years. And it never went away, but rather became a running joke among them.
I would never dream of walking up to a stranger and announcing that "I did not watch the game last night because all fotball is shit". Care to hazard a guess how many times strangers have come up to me and started talking about a match? How often do you think the phrase "I don't really follow it mate", a phrase that hardly shoves my loathing of the game in their faces, has been enough to end the conversation?Never. Because people simply can't accept the fact that you aren't interested in watching a bunch of blokes you don't know kick a pigs bladder around a patch of grass for 90mins.
And, "let us have our time". Jesus. Because of course, outside the 4 yearly World Cup the poor deprived footy fans have absolutely nothing to watch have they? No, they are sitting in a dark cloud of depression, shaking with the agony of withdrawal as they stare at the calender, willing the endless days to pass so that they might once again eat their fill of footbally goodness in 4 years time. I mean, it's not as if there is an annual League tournament, FA Cup, European Cup and various International friendlies. Or even various foriegn League tournaments that are covered across Lord knows how many channels. Oh, whats that you say?