Category Archives: Rant
With the start of the soccer world cup, the small fraction of the American population who are even remotely aware of the sport’s existence, appear to be showing a passing interest in the proceedings. Most of them have decided to become soccer fans and to actually give a shit about the sport for the exact duration of Team USA matches.
Sport bars across the country have subscribed to the Team USA World Cup Special on their respective Cable TV providers. The special package allows the bars to show the broadcast of Team USA matches only. The broadcast starts exactly at kick-off and ends exactly at the final whistle. The advertisement for that special package explained that the time between kickoff and final whistle in Team USA matches is pretty much the exact duration when any American would even give a shit about the sport. It also said that it would cover the final celebrations only if USA won the World cup.
“Apparently this is something big. I think USA is playing. So I guess I will watch our matches,” said Tim, who learnt about the existence of this sport last year when his European college roommate was playing FIFA on his computer. When asked about other countries’ matches, he replied, “Oh I was not aware that there were other teams playing in this tournament. Maybe I will read up on the teams and the results online after the World cup.”
There appears to be no shortage of support for Team USA. There were reports that people who ‘would rather watch reruns of College football from 10 years ago’ were also supporting the USMNT.
“Go Team USA! We are the best! Wait…does it mean I have to actually watch this match? What sport is this? Why is this called football? Why is he playing the ball with his foot all the time?” wondered Bob, a truck driver from Wisconsin.
But what would happen if USA were to win the World Cup? To this, Pete, a NY Yankees fan replied, “First of all I do not understand this tournament. If this is a World Cup, why do they have different countries playing each other? Is this the Olympics? Why can’t they just have a bunch of city based teams in a country play other city teams in their own country and the winners crown themselves World Champions? That’s the way it is in the US of A! This World Cup is just a waste of time.”
Saying that he was bored to death after watching the Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea match, local football fan decided that he wants all teams to play attacking football all the time. He said that his decision was largely influenced by how Chelsea ‘parked the bus’ for the entire game and didn’t let Atletico Madrid score a single goal, thereby gaining a very valuable draw in the away leg of the Champions League Semi Final.
“I cannot imagine how bad the game was. It was like watching paint dry. Chelsea just parked the bus and did not let Atleti to create any clear cut chances! They just could not breach Chelsea’s defense! That is just simply unacceptable from Chelsea! They should not be allowed to do that!” he said while expressing outrage about the scoreless draw.
The football fan now wants all teams to be required to play attacking football because “that is what is most entertaining and creates a lot of goals!”.
“It is not right to play a defensive game even if the team is playing away from home. Always attack attack attack!”
The self proclaimed Bayern Munich fan then went on to give examples of clubs like Barcelona and Bayern Munich who generally have a lot of possession and are always shown to be attacking the ball. “I was always supporting Barcelona. They were my passion. But then after last season’s semi final when they lost 8-0 on aggregate to Bayern Munich, I just started getting attracted to Bayern somehow. Now I just support Bayern. They are the best team in the world because they keep playing attacking football all the time! It is real great to watch them.” Digressing from the topic a bit, he then went on to criticize how fans who previously supported Chelsea changed their allegiance to Man City after City started spending and winning more titles.
When asked to elaborate about why all teams should play the same style of football, he said “I mean, who wants to watch teams with different styles of football and hailing from different football cultures – aerially dominating, long ball tactics, physical game play, counter attacking tactics, extremely defensive formations stifling the opponent’s attack, parking the bus – pitted against each other? Really, who wants to watch those styles of play going up against each other? All I want to see is two possession based teams who pass the ball a lot and create opportunities from through balls or cut-ins. Everything else is just boring!”
He went a step further and said that the players should not feel proud if they win by playing any other style of football and that if a free-passing team such as Bayern Munich or Barcelona loses, they should always feel proud of sticking to their brand of football. “Take the Barcelona – Chelsea semi final 2nd leg at the Nou Camp in 2012. I am sure that at the end of the day, all Barcelona players and fans were celebrating with pride how they never abandoned their philosophy and played with it right to the end of them getting knocked out! Never mind the fact that with practically 100% possession in the second half, Barcelona were able to generate only ONE meaningful shot on target with those tactics. I am just proud that they kept maintaining possession and passing the ball around aimlessly while Chelsea did not give them even an inch of space for a through ball. Chelsea do not deserve any credit for their performance that day at all – even if it was with ten men”.
Among recent games, he pointed to the way Arsenal lost 6-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. “Hats off to Arsenal for not at all changing any of their tactics or style of football while playing away against a top counter attacking team in all of Europe! Arsene Wenger deserves a lot of credit for sticking with his attacking free flowing possession based football away from home against Chelsea. The final score line doesn’t matter at all! The important thing is that Arsenal did not stop playing their brand of football right to the end. I am sure that all Arsenal players and fans were extremely proud about that and celebrated like they won a trophy or something!”
In the end, the fan said that tactics do not mean anything if it does not involve free flowing attacking football. “The only tactics that makes a game good to watch are those that get employed in a possession based attacking game. Everything else is just simply unacceptable. Shame on all the teams who employ other tactics to beat possession based attack minded teams! If you want to beat them, beat them with free passing tiki-taka football which is very impressive to watch. Otherwise, just don’t play and bore us with defensive displays stifling even the best attacking teams in Europe! That is just unacceptable!”
Being half way around the planet from all the NaMo and RaGa and MaBa and ArKe waves during the election campaign, I have had little to no direct exposure to the ground realities in India. All my ‘information’ came from Facebook status messages, newspaper headlines quoting politicians out of context, memes, satire posts on Faking News and some input from my parents who are seeing all this first hand in Bangalore. So in order to get real information, I have had to make additional effort to look through the biased media, read a very long list of ‘expert’ opinions on both sides of the story, find compilation of statistics on so many issues that are being debated and of course, frame my own opinion at the end. In any case, the general gist of what I am hearing is this:
There is this NaMo dude who is the Uber Dude and who is expected to simply win the next election. Then there is RaGa who is going all out to let people know he has an IQ less than Timmy. New kid on the block ArKe is trying all in his power to just play spoilsport. Didi MaBa just wants to run for elections. The Left parties – wait, do they still exist?
The common thread running through all the bits and pieces of information I am getting is not regarding RaGa, ArKe or Didi. It is almost exclusively about NaMo. But before I get to that, a little bit of football.
When I started watching football, it took me a while to start supporting Chelsea. Everyone around me was either a Manchester United fan or an Arsenal fan. The Arsenal fans were mostly proud of the whole ‘youth development’ ideal that the club apparently stood for. All good. The Manchester United fans on the other hand were mostly proud of their trophy collection and were generally branded as glory hunters. I get it. Every fan wants the sport team he supports to win trophies on a regular basis. It is a very natural state of mind.
But what was different with United fans was the unquestioned glorification of the club and everything associated with it. Most of the fans were convinced that Manchester United was the only true club in England. They would quote the rich history associated with the club and also point to the massive trophy collection. They would also point to one Sir Alex Ferguson as a ruthless winner who would stop at nothing to win trophies – and all the fans were proud of his long tenure at the club. But it didn’t stop there. United was considered to be a team that was beyond criticism. Going a step further, no other team was considered to be a valid team to support. If you were new to football and were still looking for a team to choose to root for, you would be made to believe that you had no choice. You would be made to believe that Man United were the only team worth supporting and it was some kind of a default choice.
United was also the club which had the largest fan base (and still does) in India and Asia. There were definitely reasonable United fans here and there that I have gotten to know over the years but for the most part most of them were just plain cocky about it. They just refused to even entertain the idea that the club was anything less than just the best damn club on the planet. There would never be any admittance of any imperfections in any of the club’s aspects. Nobody could level any amount of criticism without getting a good amount of backlash from its supporters. Moreover, supporters of all other clubs were looked down upon as if they did not deserve to be a fan.
All this inevitably led to a lot of distaste among a lot of fans who supported other clubs – including myself. So much so, that there was a fair amount of hate brewing against United. These people were our friends who we got drunk with and whom I am still in touch with. But the dislike and hate that was brewing was directed more at the club than at the supporters. Sure the schadenfreude that we experienced whenever we saw United lose grew exponentially. But the important thing to note was the strict polarization that Manchester United’s image had created. You either fully embraced it and considered it to be the flawless club ever, or you considered that to be the most vile, cocky, exaggerated, pretentious, falsely publicized, all powerful, corrupt sports organization in the world. There was almost nothing in between. And all this was a creation not of the club. (I am sure the club wouldn’t have wanted it this way). But this big divide was really a creation of the supporters.
And now I see the same exact thing happening with NaMo in India. He is considered untouchable and beyond criticism from the eyes of his supporters. There is so much pro-Modi rhetoric that there seemed to be little that he could not accomplish. He is treated as the solution to all problems. There is not a single ounce of criticism that can be thrown at him without ten counter responses coming from his supporters. (In the eyes of the supporters, they feel they are right because they are offering the statistically proven, reasonable response to a guy who is just making wild accusations against Modi). He is considered to have zero imperfections and his supporters quote the ‘development’ that has taken place in Gujarat over the course of more than a decade as proof of his awesomeness. And just like United fans sing the ‘Glory Glory Man United’ chant, there is now also a NaMo NaMo (and many more apparently) chant/song that all the Modi supporters consider their war cry. There is even a Modi-Brigade that you can join by giving a missed call or something.
All this isolation from criticism, unquestioned glorification of his past achievements and a level of expectations never before associated with an Indian politician have inevitably generated a strong anti-Modi fan base – just like it happened with United. Endless arguments and debates – both online and offline, opinion pieces from every Tom, Dick, Harry and his brother-in-law, articles listing statistics that prove the point each side of the argument is trying to make (never mind that they contradict themselves) – all have contributed heavily to the strong polarization of the Modi image.
You are either a strong supporter and think he is the panacea all Indians have been waiting for, or you think he is the nightmare scenario waiting to happen where he ends up becoming India’s Hitler creating a Hitler Youth organization equivalent and there will be a genocide in his first month in office. The stronger the isolation and glorification, higher is the criticism and hate. Higher the criticism and hate, more is the isolation and glorification. It is like a feedback loop which just feeds one off the other but they both grow in size and content. And just like United, all this is a making of the supporters. Modi for one would have never wanted this divide. Part of it, admittedly, can be attributed to the hate against the UPA Govt and our current impotent PM. But most of the responsibility of this rests on the supporters.
I suppose there is a cut off point beyond which there would be no significant growth of pro-Modi or anti-Modi rhetoric. Perhaps that point will be reached after he is elected PM. Or Not. I for one can only hope that his supporters and haters can get to a more reasonable level of opinion. The worst outcome of this would be an American styled Democrat-Republican divide.
If you have not been able to figure out yet, this post is nothing more than an observation. It is not a criticism, support or judgment of anyone involved – from the politicians to the avid supporters and haters. It is merely a perspective which I have been looking through for a while. A lot of Modi and Man United supporters will inevitably disagree with me and some will even offer detailed explanations of their disagreement which are supposed to be interpreted as their idea of reason. First of all, do check out this thing called the Backfire Effect. Secondly, if you have you gone as far as trying to dispute what I have pointed out, you have already proven my point. So just calm the fuck down and think about it for a while.
In all seriousness, I personally want to see Modi in the PM office and am really curious what this guy is all about. And at this point, I offer no response to speculation or the possibility of a genocide happening in India as a result of his election. But really, considering his competition is a circus clown in a politician’s disguise…..
…well you get it.
Terrorist organizations all around the world joined hands for the first time to condemn and express disappointment over the failure of gun control legislation in the United State Senate. Media outlets all around the world, but predominantly in the middle east and Africa, have been receiving a barrage of video tapes and CDs showing terrorists from different terrorist groups expressing shock, disbelief and ultimately disappointment over the apparent hypocrisy of the US.
Al-Jazeera beamed an image of that Al-Qaeda guy, whom the US have not yet caught, in a prerecorded tape trying to imitate the late Osama Bin Laden.
We the surviving members of Al-Qaeda condemn the United States (well, Duh!) for their failure to pass any gun control measures even after the shooting of many school going kids. This inaction is goes beyond all morally accepted double standards and hypocrisy all around the world!
In what appeared to be a prepared statement, the man went on to explain why this was totally unacceptable and unfair – to the terrorists.
Guns have been killing people in America at a rate of more than 10,000 a year. But the Government doesn’t find the need to do anything about it – not even pass a stupid expanded background check bill. We terrorists have not done ANYTHING for more than a decade and we are still being hunted down! How is this fair?
More than a decade ago, we killed some 2000 Americans. OK I get it. That was a big deal. But now it has been so long since our last attack that I don’t even remember why we want to kill Americans anymore! In spite of this we are being hunted down. But then during all this time, there have been so many mass shootings killing so many people in the process and nobody wants to do anything to stop it.
If we terrorists had carried out those mass shootings, we would have been wiped off this planet. The USA would have gone to war against all of us and finished us off once and for all! But when it comes to guns, they don’t want to do anything about it!
This is disgraceful! This hypocrisy is worse than what I am used to.
A spokesman for another terrorist group founded on religious extremism also condemned the US Senators for yielding to the NRA.
I can’t believe all the ridiculous reasons and ‘logic’ that all these pro-gun activists and the people from the NRA have been screaming about – tyrannical government? good guy with a gun shooting bad guy with a gun? second amendment violations?? Really??
And all this time I thought MY arguments were bad!
Yet another terrorist organization, which has pledged to end “American dominance” pointed out to the overwhelming opinion in the US for expanded background checks.
90% of Americans want expanded background checks for gun sales. 90% of Americans also want people like us killed. So why is it that background checks do not get expanded but we are getting killed? This is just not fair to the terrorists around the world. This hypocrisy will not stand man!
When asked about the terrorists’ demands, President Obama started on a long and inspiring speech that made sure everybody forgot what they had initially asked and instead started crying and yelling and clapping and generally behaving like 6 year old kids who have just been promised candy.
Oh well, that’s how it works I suppose….
In a surprising development towards the end of yesterday, hundreds of reports from all over the world poured in claiming large masses of people going to depression simultaneously. The reason : Democracy – or more specifically the realization that it does not appear to be working.
It first started with people in Japan reporting en masse to psychiatrists and psychologists complaining about general depression and a growing inability to trust anything. People were seen making long lines outside pharmacies waiting to pick up their prescription medication to battle depression.
Meanwhile, many reports started coming in about similar developments in Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, Italy and a few other European nations. This was then followed by reports in the United States where millions of people were first confused if their depression was the result of the extended winter this year. However, after continuing to watch their preferred News Channel - Fox or MSNBC – just to see the ‘other party’ get thrashed, the people found their depression getting worse and ultimately attributed it to the failure of democracy.
Common questions the people seem to be asking all around the world included: “Why isn’t anything getting done here at all?”, “If a party is elected by the people, then why doesn’t it get to do anything?” “Majority means they should be able to pass all the bills right?”, “I thought Obama had won the reelection. But then why is he still campaigning against the Republicans instead of getting things done?”
Questions like these were asked repeatedly by people when journalists inquired about their depression and what they thought of the economy.
A worldwide survey had shown a few years ago that democracy was “The Shit, Yo!”. It was apparently not just a ‘good system’ of governance, it was also the ‘only system’ of governance. People all around the world appeared to agree that the United States was ‘just awesome’ because it kept bringing in ‘democracy’ to all those poor souls in the middle east who were ‘totally suffering without democracy’.
A noted commentator who has been supporting democracy setups all his life had this to say about the new democracies in the Middle East: “It’s cool yo! I mean, there are a lot more people getting killed, more religious persecution, more security problems, more economical problems, and on top of it all, nobody is able to do shit about it! But it’s cool because they have a democracy, right?”
Another pro-democratic intellectual
masturbator said this in response to all the increased violence and unrest in the new democracies: “Hey! At least now they get to feel awesome and brag to the rest of the world that they live in democracies right? I mean, now they actually have a RIGHT to brag and feel awesome! Yeah, take that Bitchas!”
Actually, this reporter was unable to find anybody who held anti-democratic views who could talk about the other perspective. Apparently, it was just ‘not cool to be anti-democracy’. Why? The only answer this reporter was given repeatedly to that question was “Because Democracy is the Shit, Yo!”
When more people were interviewed to hear their perspectives about why they felt democracy would not work, many of them echoed similar thoughts.
“I was told from my days in middle school that democracy is the shit. I never understood it back then but just thought it was something cool that everybody liked. So I began to trust it as well. But I just don’t see it working ANYWHERE.”
Citizens of India, the largest democracy in the world, were initially upbeat about the next elections so that they could vote the ruling Congress party out. But then they realized that even a different party would never be able to satisfy the needs and demands of hundreds of retards who will still be in the parliament- all thinking differently.
“The only thing that will continue for sure is the regular adjournments of the parliament sessions. No bills will get passed and no reforms will take place. Because this is democracy right? So you get to put down a bill just because it won’t help you win reelection.”
The only people who appear to be celebrating democracy and those that have not gone into depression are the folks who have been making their lives out of subsidy and welfare money from the governments. Social Security, disability, medicare, medicaid, unemployment benefits, you name it. People who utilize these welfare schemes appear to be extremely happy about democracies.
“I hope democracy continues. This way nobody will have the balls to take away my disability checks and Medicaid because if they do, I will vote for the other guy who promises me my free money. Isn’t that awesome? I hope the people in the Middle East also begin to reap the benefits of democracy soon. Go welfare schemes!”, said a 43 year old American who has been claiming disability checks simply because his ‘back hurts a bit when he tries to stand up’.
It appears that only people who work, making money and leading generally better lives were affected by the depression epidemic that has swept the globe. The poor who have been living mediocre lives through welfare schemes and subsidies appear to be more than happy to continue to live in mediocre conditions as long as they keep getting their free money that in turn supports their mediocre existence.
All the people living off subsidies and welfare schemes were of the strong opinion that ‘Democracy indeed is THE SHIT!”.
When President Obama was asked about this mass depression epidemic, he responded with a prepared statement with beautifully crafted sentences, messages of hope, general GOP bashing, and a lot of promises and by the end of his speech, people were so excited and enthusiastic that they seemed to have forgotten what it was that they had asked him in the first place.
The President did refer this reporter (who pressed him with the same question a second time) to the following video from The Dictator…..
…..thus missing out the whole point altogether.
In conclusion, it appears that Democracy is not just ‘The Shit’, it is simply SHIT.
There are few things that can get me riled up like watching a news item that tells me that 20 young kids were murdered by a gunman who used legally obtained guns to carry out the attack. We are all familiar with the story now and I have no intention to recap it here. But back then, when the reports were still emanating and the media did not have all the information, ALL news articles ran one line midst their coverage. Upon initial reading, it appeared innocuous. Looking back, however, it could not have been phrased better to truly show the situation for what it was. Quoting it verbatim, it simply said:
An entire class was unaccounted for.
That line sent shivers down my spine. I had to reread that line over and over again, trying to comprehend its complete implications. It was as if the “class” had somehow become a commodity – like a production batch that had gone missing, or like a monthly payment that was never recorded. But these were small kindergarten kids that were ‘unaccounted’ for. If the only available context for the above line was ‘a classroom of kindergarten children’, it would likely be viewed as a bullet point in some school audit report indicating wrongly maintained student roll. It would also be made to seem like an inventory of lost homework that was destroyed in a small fire.
But without the full context available, NOBODY – and I really do mean NOBODY – would even be capable of thinking along the lines of what actually happened. 20 school children were brutally murdered by a gunman who fired 3-11 bullets into each of these kids. Most of them were in a single class. And all of their lives will remain ‘unaccounted for’.
Suddenly the homework-destroying school fire and the incompetent school accountant sound so much more desirable.
I intended to write a long piece voicing my opinion against gun possession and all that it entails. While doing my research on it, I came across two articles. One of them, in the NYT, was by Jeff McMahan, and it articulates every single thought and opinion I have about gun possession and gun laws. Jeff McMahan has said everything I ever wanted to say. A small excerpt from his article:
The logic of private gun possession is thus similar to that of the nuclear arms race. When only one state gets nuclear weapons, it enhances its own security but reduces that of others, which have become more vulnerable. The other states then have an incentive to get nuclear weapons to try to restore their security. As more states get them, the incentives for others increase. If eventually all get them, the potential for catastrophe — whether through irrationality, misperception, or accident — is great. Each state’s security is then much lower than it would be if none had nuclear weapons.
I wish I could copy-paste the entire article as there are really so many points made there. But the internet is a wonderful thing. It allows me to simply link to the entire post. Here is the link again.
The other link is to an article in Jim Emerson’s Blog. This is NOT an opinion piece. It is comprised solely of facts about guns, gun laws and other statistics about homicides. It is a necessary read for anyone who wishes to debate or voice an opinion on gun control. Here is ‘a modest proposal’ that he does suggest though:
If you believe that the government is plotting to take away your guns, then you are paranoid and crazy and should have your guns taken away.
These two articles cover everything that I ever wanted to SAY or KNOW about gun control in America. Needless to say, I favor a world where nobody has guns except the police. Far from a reality I know. But as John Lennon said, “You may say I am a dreamer; But I am not the only one.”
At the unveiling of his statue in Old Trafford, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson bemoaned the changing scenery of English football. He was speaking to over 2500 fans – which included former players Eric Cantona, the Nevilles, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Edwin van der Sar, Peter Schmeichel and more – who had all gathered to pay tribute to the man who has arguably become the face of Man Utd over the past couple of decades.
In particular, he was visibly frustrated with the way Chelsea had taken over the mantle of the most hated club in England - a seat long held by Man Utd. He said:
It is particularly disappointing to see other teams take over a position that you have worked so hard to build for so many years. When I took over in 1986, it was never easy to become the most hated club in England. But I achieved and maintained that for more than a decade. But now you have teams like Chelsea and Manchester City – Chelsea in particular – who come out of nowhere without any club history and simply knock you off that coveted spot! This is unacceptable!
The manager spared no words to express his frustration over how the media was treating Chelsea in such a biased manner.
I can’t believe today’s media in this country. They have made it so easy for people to hate Chelsea. Anything Chelsea does, the entire media criticizes and paints them to be the bad guys of English football. That is unfair - especially as WE at United have worked so hard to be the bad guys of English football!
When asked to illustrate his strong claims against the media with specific instances, the United boss pointed to the way the media has portrayed and criticized the Chelsea owner Roman Abromovich over the years.
The media has portrayed him to be this trigger happy evil general who has insanely high expectations and yet, it conveniently overlooks all the money that he has pumped into the club. Compare that to our owner Malcolm Glazer whose sole objective is to use this club to make money for himself, and the media barely pays attention to that. Just the fact that the owner has not fired me should not shield him from media criticism.
He went on to talk about all the latest scandals and racism rows surrounding Chelsea and was particularly disappointed that he lacked players who could live up to the controversy that their Chelsea counterparts have courted in the past couple of years.
I have to admit they have more players capable of drawing controversy to themselves and the club than we do here. It’s a shame that we no longer have players like Cantona or Gary Neville who the media love to hate. Chelsea can boast of players like Terry and Cole who repeatedly get all the media’s criticism aimed at them and the club.
Even in this whole Clattenburg affair, there is so much vice and vitriol in the media against Chelsea, it is just completely unfair to us folks here at United! Think about it, the media has spewed forth so much venom over a club simply reporting a possible instance of racial abuse. Where is all this hate when referees give us undeserved penalties, or when they send off opposition players, or when they give me all the Fergie time I want? I mean, the referees practically play as our 12th player, and yet the media takes no note of it! This is outright biased and ridiculous!
The United manager also found time to point out how the media had reacted to Chelsea winning the Champions League. He compared that to how his team have been treated by the media during similar situations.
It is ridiculous to see the lengths the media has gone to criticize Chelsea winning the Champions League. Just because a team plays unattractive football and banks on a bit of luck on the way to winning the biggest prize in Europe, it should not make them subjects of criticism. I mean, here at United, we have been practically winning titles that way for more than 2 decades! Where is OUR fair share of hate and ridicule then?!?
Sir Alex Ferguson then spoke of his pride at having a statue of himself erected while he was still manager at the club. He claimed that he would remain the club’s manager longer than it would take for the statue to rust. Nobody bothered to argue his claim.
Before he concluded his talk, he brought the subject back to the media’s role and sought attention to the prevailing bias.
The media needs to take note of its unfair bias regarding all the hate being directed at football clubs. It is not acceptable that only one club gets all the attention when other clubs perhaps deserve it more.
This media bias will not stand, man!
In what could be the next biggest development in the history of football, ABSOLUT Vodka and UEFA have announced that the winners of the upcoming EURO ’12 and UEFA Champions League ’12-’13 tournaments will play ABSOLUT Football – a new brand of football that nobody has ever seen so far. This announcement was made on UEFA’s website and was confirmed by a spokesman of the Pernord Ricard group which owns the ABSOLUT brand.
UEFA’s official website carried a new posting outlining the rationale behind the new legislation:
After an executive committee meeting of UEFA, it has been decided that the winners of EURO ’12 and Champions League ’12-’13 will be based on the ability of teams to play the ABSOLUT brand of football. The objective behind this decision is to provide fans and spectators all across the world the opportunity to watch the most entertaining brand of football ever played.
The UEFA executives concluded that all teams must raise their games to include more entertainment aspects into it. And, as currently, the most entertaining and exciting brand of football is considered to be Total football – born in the Netherlands and currently played by the likes of FC Barcelona - it was decided that in order to be fair to all teams, even those playing total football had to raise their games.
However, after further investigation by this fearless reporter, new sh*t has come to light. It appears that the UEFA executives had a very controversial motive behind this decision.
Most of them were unhappy that Chelsea FC won the UEFA Champions League, for apparently deploying negative (read extremely effective) tactics to secure wins against the likes of FC Barcelona and FC Bayern Munchen. Sources revealed that the members refused to consider the inability – of either Barcelona or Bayern Munich – to finish even 5% of all the chances that they created as a sign of the weaker team. This, as compared to Chelsea’s almost 100% finishing record, appears to have had no bearing on the executives.
One of the executives, who wished to remain anonymous justified the motive in the following way:
How can you have entertainment when all you are getting from Chelsea’s tactics is a scenario when one team is constantly on the verge of scoring the decisive goal and the other team is defending for its life – suffocating and frustrating the attacking team- only to provide the most dramatic finishes in the history of the game? That Barcelona game might have given people heart attacks. But then since Chelsea had deployed negative tactics, this simply cannot be considered entertaining, right?
In a related development, Websters dictionary publishers have agreed to use the above executive’s quote to explain the words ‘retard’ and ‘hypocrite’.
Johan Cruyff, one of the most vocal protesters of Chelsea’s tactics – and himself an ex-Barcelona player who was also involved in the development of Total football – had a few thoughts of his own:
What is the point in having all these different styles of football - from different leagues in different countries all across Europe – competing against each other in one tournament? Teams playing widely different tactics pitted against each other in a game of football is completely pointless! There simply cannot be any value in doing this! Everybody should try to play the same type of football – the type that is played at Ajax or Barcelona.
I don’t know how this ABSOLUT football will work but right now, the only way to win a tournament and deserve it is by playing total football. Every other style of play is inferior to Total football. Even if other styles of football aim to exploit the opposition’s weaknesses, or even if they culminate in the most exciting games ever played, those styles are still invalid and do not deserve to be rewarded!
This reporter initially suspected that Mr. Cruyff could have been stoned when he made the above quotes. Turns out, this is how Mr. Cruyff is.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Pernord Ricard group which owns the ABSOLUT brand shed more light on what this means to the company and also about how this is going to work.
ABSOLUT Vodka is proud to be associated with this new chapter in the history of football, where ABSOLUT Football makes Total football absolutely obsolete!
The methodology of playing ABSOLUT football, inevitably involves the consumption of copious amounts of ABSOLUT Vodka. Following this, the players take to the pitch and the game begins. However, once the game begins, this style of football will now require you to make use of the players of not only your own team, but also that of the opposition’s. The players will bounce the ball like a pin-ball machine and make it go towards goal.
We are absolutely confident that ABSOLUT football will provide the highest amount of entertainment in the game of football. Of course, the best way to enjoy a game of ABSOLUT football is to be absolutely drunk yourself with our Vodka! CHEERS!
In what appears to be a follow up of UEFA President Michel Platini’s comments about video technology, a spokesperson for the governing body in European Football made the announcement in a press conference yesterday.
UEFA has decided to make incorrect referee decisions mandatory, effective from the knock out stages of the UEFA Champions League and the Last-16 of Europa League. This ruling will be applicable to only these 2 tournaments this season. However, starting the 2012-13 season, all leagues and all competitions overseen by UEFA will be required to introduce mandatory referee decisions which are incorrect. This decision was taken up as part of our efforts to drive the organization along the ‘totally-not-ridiculous’ vision of our legendary President Michel Platini.
The vision that Michel Platini has for UEFA and European Football appears to have been indicated by none other than himself a few days ago when he made revelatory comments about the state of football and whether or not to allow video technology in it.
Video is not for football. Human (adjudication) is better. Football became popular thanks to its human values. If that becomes a commercial value, it will lose all its popularity.
Though his initial comments appeared to make his stand clear about use of video technology in football, it was nevertheless vague and unspecific about his vision for the game. This he clarified in his later comments as to what he believed drove football’s popularity.
Football has also based its popularity on injustices. You can remember them and talk about them in the bars. You can talk about 1982, France-Germany, it was an injustice like the hand of Maradona or that of Henry. The notoriety also comes from negative things in football.
Through his later comments, Platini seems to be taking European football in a whole new direction – one which is aimed at increasing the popularity of the game. And he intends to take the shortest way to achieve that aim. In a subsequent press conference, the President himself spoke to reporters about his vision and how he plans to increase football’s popularity.
It is very simple you see. It is a lot easier to make something popular through its negative things. So, like I had said a few days ago, we need stuff to remember and talk about in bars. This way, the game can become more popular! And this is our main objective.
I mean, think about it. Instead of having just a few games here and there – spread out over time and geography – which have talking points, we intend to take it to the next level by requiring ALL European games to have talking points! How innovative and original is that! Think of all the possibilities that come with such a ruling!
There will no more be any favorites to win any match, let alone a tournament! There will also be an exponential increase in the level of competition everywhere. Suddenly you will find ALL teams fighting for the title. Isn’t that a dream come true for so many fans around the world – to have a realistic chance of their team winning a big tournament? With so much uncertainty and chaos, football’s popularity will soar!
And do you know the best part? This can serve as the perfect solution to all those big spending clubs who will utilize all the abundant loopholes to beat the Financial Fairplay rules! I mean, what difference will all that big spending on big players make if the referees (read UEFA) do not allow them to win matches?!!?
I am so awesome no??!?
Though we are yet to receive official reaction from the clubs and players, one industry which has voiced its opinion against the move is the betting industry. Spokesperson for the betting industry released a statement:
Though the intention to create a more level playing field is welcome, the betting industry cannot comprehend such a ridiculous and asinine measure to achieve the aim. The betting industry will run out of business if these rules are enforced because ALL teams will always have a 1-1 betting odds irrespective of whom they are playing!
ESPN’s (self appointed) Pundit Shebby Singh was talking to John Dykes about the drawbacks of the rule and pointed out the inherent flaw in its working.
What Platini is forgetting is that, even if he uses video replays, the person who will eventually make the call is still human. And he is always prone to errors. But if more wrong decisions can be overturned, then the game becomes clean while still maintaining the possibility of having ‘talking points at bars’ due to the human element involved in judging the video replay itself!
Also John, I would like to add one more point here. Platini is half right about the injustice meted out during the 1982 France-West Germany semifinal. In his opinion, the injustice was to France because the goalkeeper Schumacher was not sent off for breaking the jaw and spine of Patrick Battiston. However, the way I see it, the injustice was to the whole of European football because Schumacher should have actually broken Platini’s jaws and certainly his skull during that match, but he didn’t. That would have saved us all from this impending doom with Platini’s current position as President of UEFA.
In a sensational and completely unexpected development, Alok Kumar, an unknown liberal thinking youth from Bangalore began his fast-unto-death OPPOSING Anna Hazare’s Lokpal Bill. The news of his fast, however, came out only after he had already entered the 2nd day as not many people knew him in the first place. In spite of the delayed discovery, people from all over the city are paying him a visit just to see why somebody would do something as strange as this when the entire country seemed to be protesting WITH Anna Hazare.
When quizzed by curious and bewildered reporters as to why he was fasting to OPPOSE the LokPal, a visibly weak and tired Alok managed to respond, “People don’t seem to understand what exactly is happening here. Everybody is under the misconception that creating this Lok Pal will solve all corruption problems. But what they don’t realize is that it is a big risk to give so much power to one institution and hope that it does its job.”
Alok’s point of view, he said, was inspired by reading many articles online by bloggers, columnists and authors who he considers as “liberal thinkers.”
“These are the people who have influenced my thinking. These people have the courage to go against popular opinion. They are not afraid to write on their blogs and websites about things which the majority of the population would disagree with. One should really read their articles and consider their points of view. It will help people to think in a more sensible and liberal way. “
Alok managed to give links to a few of the websites and blogs he was reading that he said were influencing him. (This, this, this, this and this) He also elaborated about his actual objective of fasting.
“I am right now doing a fast-unto-death primarily to stop the Lokpal bill from going through to become a law. We simply cannot have an all powerful organization dictating this country’s fate. If the Government yields to Anna’s demands, then I will continue to fast until I am actually dead.”
It appears that, with Anna beginning his fast a couple of days back, the country is witnessing its first ever Fast-unto-death Off! On one hand, we have a widely popular Gandhian who has been fighting for this bill to go through for many months and on the other hand, we have a relatively unknown new generation liberal thinker who is fasting to protest the very idea behind the bill. This is an extremely unique situation and curiosity is building as to how this is likely to all pan out. Is Alok going to get enough attention to make his fast actually count? Will people take notice of what Alok is doing and recall the bill? Or will Anna Hazare, with his Gandhian ideals and populist base, out-fast Alok and get his demands met?
This brings us to another interesting question. When is one considered to have ‘out-fasted’ the other? Is it considered a victory for the survivor if the other person dies out of hunger? Or is it considered a victory for the deceased as it gives him martyrdom prior to the fate of the survivor? Who will be considered as the morally more right person? The person who dies first or the person who survives to fast another day?
[Even as this piece is being written, the writer has learnt that Arnab Boguswami has already called in a debate panel to discuss (read force-his-own-opinion-on-everyone) the nuances of what appears to be a moral paradox. ]
When confronted with this dilemma, Alok carefully considered the argument and said, “Honestly, I do not know. We will just have to wait and see till one of us dies I suppose. In either case, Anna Hazare holds the cards because he has a lot of practice fasting. He has been doing that for years now. I am sure he has been putting in a lot of fasting days in order to be on top of his game for this current fast. On the other hand, I will have to make do with absolutely zero fasting practice. I might very well be the one to die first. Lets see.”
Many of the curious youth who have gathered outside his house to see what the fuss is all about admitted to now being terribly confused. Shyam Prasad, one of the onlookers who knew what was happening said, “I really don’t know what to think honestly. We the people have always supported people’s agenda when they have resorted to fasting to get their demands met. Whenever someone decides to fast, it is usually for some very noble reason. That is why we supported Anna. Now there is this Alok who also fully believes in his point of view that the Lok Pal will do more harm than good for the country. And so I am confused which side to take.”
It also appears that the social networking websites have caught scent of Alok’s hunger strike and is apparently making waves in it. One of the onlookers outside Alok’s house, Ram, said he was posting updates on his Facebook and Twitter profile telling all his friends about this new development. “I want to do my bit for the country. That is why I am conveying this important development to all my friends through Facebook and Twitter. I am fairly confident we can get Alok trending on Twitter in a short while. I have asked all my friends to RT my tweet about Alok. One of my friends already said that he will start an online petition to create more awareness and support for Alok” he said. Asked whether he believed in what Alok was fasting for, Ram replied, “I don’t really know the exact reason why he is doing it. But if somebody is fasting, there must be a very noble reason behind it. We supported Annaji when he fasted. We should not treat Alok any differently.”
In an even more sensational development later in the day, Gautham Nayar, another unknown youth – this time from Mumbai- has also started fasting! But this young man is now fasting not to oppose or support the Lokpal bill. In fact, this youth appears to be fasting in protest of Alok Kumar going on a fast!
“This is ridiculous!” Gautham said. “How can somebody just decide to have a certain opinion about something just because they read a good argument on some blog? People like Alok Kumar need to look at both sides of the story to see what exactly is happening. Beginning to fast before that is like using the Jump-to-conclusions mat. You just conclude the same as whatever argument you end up reading.”
Gautham admits that he hasn’t read the Lokpal bill and so does not know where he stands on it. “Once I read it I will know exactly where I stand. But so far, all I have read are the articles that criticize the Lokpal bill and Anna’s method of getting this done. And I can tell you this. What they have to say really forms a very persuasive argument. They have a lot of points which raise some serious concerns about the subtleties of the bill. People, the youth mainly, read these cogent arguments on all these blogs and websites and immediately conclude that this bill is a recipe for disaster.”
When asked to elaborate, he said, “One of the points that the writers make criticizing the whole support behind Anna Hazare is that for the most part, none of the supporters have actually read the bill, yet they voice unconditional support to it. And this is truly a serious concern. However, what I want to point out is this. There are many people who have read these critiques and framed their opinion based on that. Now, how many of THESE people have actually read the bill before deciding that it is set for doom? For all you know, what one may read in these blogs and websites may as well be a clear case of Confirmation Bias. For every point that these critics bring out which appears to spell doom, there is likely to be one which streamlines and expedites the way corruption is handled. But these writers may have consciously or sub-consciously ignored to include those bits in their critiques just to prove their pre-conceived point.”
“The large base of support for Anna Hazare and the Lokpal bill may be largely ignorant about the nuances of the bill. But the small percentage of the population who seem to feel superior to the rest for going against the stream are not doing any better either. They feel smug about having this opinion as it goes against the popular voice. And with the general perception that going against the stream is a cool thing to do, these youth appear to be jumping to conclusions without sufficient basis. All those who seem to think they know better than the others about the bill just because they have read some well written critiques of the bill online are nothing more than self righteous hypocrites, because all they themselves know about the bill are just these small pieces that only serve to prove their point.”
While Gautham was making all these points about why people should read the bill before framing an opinion, this reporter was still trying to figure out if Gautham was fasting in support of the bill or to oppose it. When confronted with the dilemma, Gautham responded, “I am not fasting for the bill at all. I am fasting to get Alok Kumar to stop fasting and actually read the damn bill! I am fasting to make everybody, both who support the bill and those who don’t, to actually READ and get to know exactly about what they are feeling so strongly.”
This reporter was still not satisfied as he wanted Gautham to take a clear black and white stand. He felt it was not good for journalism to run a story wherein there was no story of a person who had a passionate bias towards or against something. So Gautham was asked if he was against all these critics who write online. To this, Gautham replied, “Absolutely not. We need such critics who can show us one side of the story and it also helps the case for freedom of expression. However, looking at the bigger picture, these critics do not serve any real purpose at the end of the day.”
Hoping that Gautham was going to take a clear stand against something, the reporter asked him to elaborate on that. Gautham, who was getting more tired by explaining everything to this reporter than by his hunger, managed to go on.
“You have to look at what is happening. On one hand we have Anna Hazare, who, in his own (perhaps questionable) ways, is trying to help the country by helping the corruption issue. And he is actually getting something done here. There has never been such widespread protests against corruption in a long long time and he was pivotal in initiating it. He is helping (again, in his own ways) to frame a Lokpal bill which is not just an eyewash from the Govt. It may not be the perfect solution to the corruption issue. But if it wasn’t any effective at all, there perhaps wouldn’t be such hue and cry from the Govt opposing it and trying to make it an eyewash. This will go at least some distance in doing something against corruption.”
“On the other hand, we have these critics. They sit in their office or home chairs, comfortable, searching for new and important developments in the country. They read about it, think about it and then frame their own opinion and point of view about the situation. They are able to understand the nuances and subtleties of the situation, which would otherwise be easily overlooked. They are then able to articulate these ideas and messages very well in a coherent manner in their websites, blogs or columns. Many of these points of view go against popular voice and when other youth read this critique, they frame their opinion based on what these writers have conveyed. These writers and critics may have a lot of very valid points concerning the situation at hand and they may want to communicate these ideas to the general public so that they are aware of what is happening.”
“But in the end, none of this translates to any tangible action. All that transpires out of them writing about critical issues, either in favor or against, online and a whole bunch of youth reading it to frame an opinion is that they write about critical stuff and a whole bunch of youth frame their opinion based on that. Nothing else ever happens. Everybody involved in this online process wants to be in their comfort zone in front of a laptop and think. And they feel good about it and believe that it is a job well done. There is nothing actionable that ever comes out of these things. You have to ask yourself. At the end of the day, what is all this critique and writing, if nothing more than just pointless intellectual masturbation?”
This reporter finally felt he had a quote. And immediately left Gautham’s house.
After the news of Gautham’s fasting became public, the news media went hysterical. And retarded. Actually make that MORE retarded. Arnab Boguswami lost his ability to think while thinking about who among the 3 was the one he was to support in the upcoming force-my-opinion-down-your-throat show. It is understood that his IQ was so low that he could not even initially comprehend what was happening and who was doing what. And then when someone explained the whole moral ambiguity involved, he just lost his (diminished) ability to think.
Popular blogger Amit Varma, who writes on the India Uncut blog, responded to what Gautham had to say. “I don’t understand why Gautham is getting all upset about us criticizing the bill. This is about freedom of expression and criticism. That being said, I really need to get back to blogging. You know I used to write a lot before. Almost 4-5 posts daily. I myself do not know where I go nowadays. Someday I will keep my word when I say I will be blogging more regularly. Oh by the way, that is not a promise.”
The cops on the other hand held an hour long meeting and, after realizing that this involves too much thinking, have decided to turn a blind eye to all these fasts. Local circle inspectors of both places were too busy to be bothered with ideas such as moral ambiguity and paradox. One of them said, “I have not received any orders to detain him. And moreover, I really do not know what is lawful and what is not anymore. So please wait till somebody higher up gives me an order for something.”