Keeping the Rabble in Line

Banging on about representation: The would be media lens

Saturday, November 26, 2005

"I will bring you stories and bleary eyed photos, like a regular tourist" *

Whilst it is no doubt sad that George Best has passed away, I am already fed up with the coverage. This is of course, not Best's fault. But as Rob says with the assistance of Eagleton how much do we need to know about the man? And how much of this stuff is clutter, but all too necessary [for the 24 Hour News channels] filler on a slow news day? Why was he of interest to many who never even saw him play? It is now being repeated ad nauseum that Best was the first modern football celebrity, without him, no Beckham...

If the platitudes and cliches are any barometer, then his celeb status is confirmed. Perhaps "we" need celebrity culture, it fulfills a desire within "us" to both revere and dam in equal measure. What I find particularly nauseating is the desperation to deify this character in specific ways: no doubt there are coaches being booked as I write, ferrying the mourners up to Old Trafford, all laying their wreaths, scarves and notes of "Simply the BEST" so desperate to be part of the narrative...something to mention, the "I was there moment" of the year. Perhaps George does deserve the reverential treatment, as a football fan for thirty years, I can certainly appreciate his skill, and as a student of popular culture I am interested in his life [and now death]...and despite the three week "deathwatch" provided by our news channels, I was still moved to sadness by his passing. If he does deserve this deification, perhaps the best way to proceed is to resist the urge to indulge in a sort of collective grief tourism. This pornography of grief is not a tribute to anyone.

* Tourist - Athlete


  • At 11:12 PM, Blogger B said…

    I wonder how Beckham, Rooney et al feel about their comparison with Best. "Haha, yes! I am recognised as a fottballing genius, have a short, incendiary career then descend into a world of drink, drugs and fast living until I become a shell of the man I was was". Not a very nice future to impose on anyone. Even Wayne Rooney.

  • At 10:54 AM, Blogger Imo said…

    It was either the Sun or the Mirror who predicted this was gonna be "as big as Diana's"...lammers.

  • At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Question: why does the media want to bestow these celebrity footvaller's on us? What purpose do they serve in becoming cult heroes. Where are the footballers who once their career has ended lived a happy life, wife et al. Is it that we rejoice in the fact that our football heroes although good on the field at home are brainless wasters who fuck old tarts and having shagged Miss Worlds can't handle their piss.

    Does it make you feel better still being alive, unable to nutmeg Beckenbauer at 65 and managing to spell Debt collector?

    I don't know the answer, but I would enjoy a front page spread about a footballer who having retired has just got his PHD and is now managing to keep his three kids happy playing chess and his first wife still finds him attractive with a pot belly and penchant for jelly babies and a pint of mild.

    Love your blog. George.

  • At 11:11 AM, Blogger Patrick Duffy said…

    "Georgie, Georgie - they called you the Belfast boy"

    Well they sure did and with every right too. He was called George, which can easily be fondified (word not actually real) to Georgie. And he was from Belfast. And a boy.

    And then he died.

    Now going out in a trail of booze and sex is always a good thing but Georgie Georgie they called him the Belfast boy made the mistake of drawing it out over the course of the coldest month in history. How many times can you get home from work and turn on the tv to find out how close to death a person is before your cheeks have defrosted before you start to lose interest.

    A common shout in my house was "has he gone yet"? and that can't be right. Unfortunately Billy Connelly did not take the opportunity to come out with a "why don't they just get on with it" rant.

    "So let's all drink to the death of a clown" said crazy London beat combo the Kinks. Well let's maybe not become alcoholics and remember the death of a footballer. Media deathwatch, pages and pages about his life and loves, but very little dignity.

    I wish I had seen him play live (although then I'd be older than I am) but I didn't. People say George Best and I think of that footage of him pouring Champagne into a pyramid of glasses and telling Wogan "I like screwing". Since his death I hoped that all the shots of him playing football would replace this - but the powers that be think I was correct all along and show me that footage of him pouring Champagne into a pyramid of glasses and telling Wogan "I like screwing"!!!!!

    Oh Georgie - I really don't know what to think.


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