Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Tuesday June 5 2007
Word up mon amis, correspondance has been somewhat sparse from your esteemed writer (TM) of late owing to a myriad of circumstances, both personal and professional. Besides which, let's be painfully honest, there's not really been much to put the proverbial ink in one's pen has there? Nothing to sufficiently direct my ire towards. But it is perhaps this inertia that has moved me to write this piece, or maybe this is one big mediatation on the pathological effects of boredom itself. Maybe it's something much less pretentious and self important than that? It's probably just a diabtrite against the province of Goonerdom, by no means limited or aimed at the contributors of this site, but of other Arsenal cyberspace outlets and football fans everywhere.
With no meaningful football action to occupy the collective footballing conscience, the rumour mill has taken its annual crank into overdrive as our media saturated sport seeks desperately to fill its 24 news casts and daily forest wastage with ill informed rumour. It is often decreed by academics that the media does not seek to reinforce or even enrich a culture, but to dominate and inhibit it. In his essay 'Civilization and Its Discontents', Siegmund Freud asserts, 'civilization overcomes the dangerous aggressivity of the individual, by weakening him, disarming him and setting up an internal authority to watch over him, like a garrison in a conquered town.' WHAT THE F**K HAS ANY OF THIS SUPERSILLIOUS SH*TE GOT TO DO WITH FOOTBALL I hear you cry? Well nowhere can the media's domination of our society be more clearly elucidated than in the mind of the average football fan. So with no tactical conundrums to pour over, no expert off the ball movement to ponder, no reason to question why Steven Gerrard has once again performed miserably against quality opposition, we feed upon the age old phenomena of transfer rumour in search of satiety. Much in the same way a forty year old divorcee lurches lecherously to the nightclub dancefloor, hoping to scrape up the dreggs and take them home. Much like said gentleman's combover and haiwaian shirt, 99.99999999999% of transfer rumours promise much more than they deliver. They are an advertisement without a product, a cheap piece of polyfilla to paper over this giant crack in our lives. The phenomena of silly season is another by product of bskyb and the Premiership's insane ascent to popularity, exacerabted by the advent of the transfer window.
But we all know this right? We all know that most of it is as unsubstantiated as a Tony Blair promise. In fact, tabloids in particular are ridiculed throughout the nation as substanceless scandal sheets. Yet the sun, the most filthy, putred publication ever, continues to be this country's best selling newspaper. Most football fans realise that summer transfer rumour is predominantly garbage, right? So why do we insist on clinging so tightly to it? What is this bemusing need we have to deliberate over every single prospective signing? Triggered off like pavlov's dogs, we rush salivating to our media overlords for some sort of gossip, then run back to our masters, bone firmly nestled betwixt teeth panting, our tongues rattling with suspicion. 'Well it's simple, sell x for x million, replace him with y who will cost approximately z million.......(ad infinitum).' It's all so embarassingly futile isn't it? Now I know one might be inclined to ask what the point is then in deliberating the finer tactical points of a game, either in the immediate aftermarth or in the pre match waffle. But this is different is it not? We are pontificating on an event that has actually happened, or that we know is going to happen. The frustrating thing about transfer tittle tattle is that most of it is hot air that evaporates into the clouds. By granting any credence to it and wasting our breath/ finger enammel on it, we are ostensibly chasing rainbows aren't we?
The other thing that amuses me about this symposium is that it strikes me that most people, in reality, have very little idea about the players' they are imploring Arsenal to sign. Tongues have been a flutter with the prospect of us signing Franck Ribery over the last twelve months, a prospect which has polarised opinion on the various blogs. Manchester United's recent acquisitions of teenagers Anderson and Nani have sent the windmill into overdrive, with the naysayers declaring that Wenger has missed out. Now, come on, in all honesty, if you are reading this now and are guilty of deliberating at length over the talents of the aforementioned, how many of you can honestly say you watch the Portuguese league, or Ligue 1 on a regular basis? I don't, so I cannot tell you whether United have landed two wonderkids, I don't know if Franck Ribery would be a great acquisition for us, I do not have vast scouting networks set up watching these players. My sole indulgence in silly season would be to suggest we resign Nicoals Anelka, but I can honestly profess to have seen this guy play regularly. I quite like the look of Pedersen as a left winger, but I am not maccaing my alans over it.
In his essay 'Civilization and Its Discontents', Freud goes on to affirm that the human being undergoes one of three common machinations in order to avoid pain and suffering. One of which is to be hedonistic, that is to say, to chase every single pleasure going in hope of latching onto something durable. The polar extreme of this probably reflects my particular attitude towards the silly season, to isolate oneself, to turn one's back on civilization to insulate oneself from the never ending disappointment and rejection. While I would not reccomend this nihilistic approach to life in general, until May gives way to golden August, you may just have to forgive this ghost for retreating into the wheels of the machine. Afterall, what is the point in killing oneself by gluttonously feeding at the table of rumour? A game is different, we are emotionally involved in the experience unfolding before our eyes and who knows? If we find enough new and exciting ways of questioning the referee's parentage, maybe he'll award us that dodgy penalty? But we cannot affect transfer activity in any useful or creative way, which is probably just as well, because I don't recall hearing many of us begging Wenger to sign a forlorn winger from Juventus in 1999. I do not recall too many blogs demanding Wenger sign a centre half from the Ivorian first division. So take silly season off, what else is there to do besides relax? And let the rumours in your mind become ancient artefacts. When August comes, feel refreshed and lend us your voices.LD.
Date:Tuesday June 5 2007
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