Sunday, December 14, 2008

The immovable brick wall of stupidity

Gustave Flaubert once said: "Stupidity is something immovable; you can't try to attack it without being broken by it." This is sound advice. This week, Rebecca Wilson came out with yet another anti-football article, this time bleating about the $45-odd million the Federal Government has pumped into the World Cup bid. There are, of course, plenty of sensible arguments against spending such a large amount of money on a sporting event. The problem with Wilson's article is that her arguments demonstrate a (deliberate?) ignorance of the issues at play, and stem instead from an emotional reaction informed by her own obvious dislike of football, the "terrible A-League", and its "fanatical fans".

Thus, I will not get angry - I will yield like a reed in a rapidly-flowing stream, recognising the immovable stupidity of trying to compare a bid for the World Cup with sports like swimming and Rugby League. The difference, of course, is that the World Cup cash promise is not just 'sports funding' - it's a well-thought-out political move to bring the biggest event in the world to Australia. It's our country flexing its muscles in the same way that it did when bidding for the 2000 Olympics. It's an exercise designed to increase Australia's international soft power standings, whether successful or not, and the economy will receive a huge boost if we actually host it. It's a win for the FFA and a considered gamble by the Federal Government. In all likelihood, if this $45 million was not going towards the World Cup bid, it probably wouldn't be spent on sport at all. It's not an either/or proposition.

I'm not angered by the fact that she is complaining about football's relative gains when other sports are missing out on the gravy train. Why? Because, to put it simply, it's an idiotic argument. Football is the most popular participation sport in Australia, by far, and is played by males and females of all ages and backgrounds. For years it has been the ugly sister, missing out while millions have been ploughed into the more fashionable cricket, Aussie Rules, and the Rugbies, as well as Olympic sports like swimming and rowing. Now it's time for a bit of equity, bitches. Why shouldn't football get more than other sports?

I can sense some righteous outrage building in my liver at the moment so I will move onto another point: her decrying of the fact that money will be spent on schmoozing FIFA bosses and other football bigwigs. Well, how else are we going to get the frigging thing? As if Australia didn't do exactly the same thing when bidding for the Sydney Games (and in fact a lot more than that: the words 'Olympics', 'Sydney', 'IOC' and 'corruption' make for an interesting Google search). Does Wilson complain about money being spent on the Olympics? Of course not. Would she rather see the World Cup bid money be put into Rugby League, a sport that is more or less unknown outside NSW and Queensland, the bulk of whose income is sourced from the wallets of pensioners and single mothers through poker machines, and whose 'World Cup' final failed to attract enough interest to fill Suncorp Stadium? Obviously, yes. Maybe I'm being unfair to Rugby League, though: its 'Rapists of Tomorrow' program for juniors has clearly been a successful initiative.


At this point I feel like I'm angrily beating my head against the immovable brick wall of stupidity, so I'll stop talking about Rebecca Wilson. Let's turn our attention to Geoff Roach's column in yesterday's Advertiser, shall we:

What the hell has Australian soccer done to deserve a $45 million handout from
Santa Rudd's Federal Government?
That one's easy, we've covered that: a) it's decided to bid for the world's biggest sporting event; and b) it's the most popular participant sport in Australia, bar none. Next.

voluminous stomachs of the conga line of lobbyists and power brokers
zzzzzz. Once again, show me another way to get anything done anywhere without anyone powerful getting a free lunch out of it. C'est impossible.

How does the AFL, the SANFL and the other Australian football codes feel about
such booty being thrown to foreigners, marketers, PR companies and other
assorted leeches rather than Australian kids playing the unique Australian game?
Well, if Mr Roach is representative of their opinions, pretty bitchy and borderline xenophobic, I'd say. An interesting exercise would be to count how many times Roach uses the word 'Australian' in the article. A cynical person might think that the use of the term is a deliberate device to paint football as an immoral foreign pastime indulged in by shady foreigners (probably black ones, too!) as opposed to our pure Australian game played by Australian kids. In Australia. Not that I'm accusing Roach of this: he's just a proud Aussie worried about Pies v Hawks having to be played elsewhere when the MCG's playing surface is invaded by a bunch of diving longhaired pansies and the stands are filled with hooligans that would stab you with a sharpened boat flare as soon as look at you.

It's fair to say that I got a bit angry reading Geoff Roach's article, as well. But there are little touches of stupidity in there alongside the fearmongering and implied racism. Calling the Football Federation of Australia 'FA', for example. It's FFA. FFS. If you're going to write something nasty about an organisation, and it's going to get published in a major newspaper, at least do the minimum amount of research to make sure you don't come off looking like an ignorant fool (like, you know, finding out the name of the organisation in question).

I'm not angry about what these people write. They're biased and ignorant, and they're clutching at straws in an effort to undo all the progress that our sport has made. I'm angry that so many people will get to read their stupid articles. And now I'm angry at myself for having spent the past two hours writing about those stupid assholes. Time for a cup of tea I think.


Anonymous said...

Just wait for her "Adelaide embarrassing thrashed by Gamba" article.

that will be an amusing read.

Guido said...

Great post Salmon!

I was going to write something about this on my blog as well.

Is there a link to Roach's article?

Bill said...

Hey Gweeds,
I read Roach's article in hard copy. I can't find a link to it online but I'll try to scan it for you & send a copy to the email address listed on your blog...

Guido said...

That would be great. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

RW is so blinded by her anti-football views that she can't see the benefit to Australia as a nation. Pretty unpatriotic. She should shut up about football.

executive koala said...

Football is number one now and we give these journalists the best nation wide coverage for their "articles".

When else would so many people across the nation take notice of these ignorant bigots?

These fools aren't done yet.

Ed said...

Great read Bill. Never mind Rebbecca, she has made a career of being obnoxious, it would not pay to stop now.

Anonymous said...

First time I've come across your blog. Excellent read - I like your writing style!

Just amazes me how an intellecutally limited imbecile like old Leatherface can be given a column in a major metropolitan paper.

Astounding stuff - and sad to say, speaks volumes about the quality of the sports press in Australia.

Keep up the good work, Salmon!

Bill said...

Fair points - these people thrive on controversy and the more people that are talking about their articles the better. Which sucks, because we have to challenge them when they come out with such rubbish. I guess they win either way.. :(

Guido said...

Thanks Bill for the transcript of Roach's article.

I have put on the web so everyone can see the inglorious ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Well written mate, good arguments all around.