I’m still sifting through the tantrums, meltdowns, crushed trophies, crude, overwrought psych jobs, promos, conspiracy theories and accusations of racism that have emerged in the wake of the mini-El Clasico marathon of the past month. Essentially, I have no coherent thoughts of my own, yet, but I did want to share an extremely interesting post by Richard Whittall on the Footy Blog. The post titled “El Clasico and the hyperreality of modern football” deals with the sad, unmistakable, inescapable sense that these recent matches (with the exception of the amazing Copa del Rey final), featuring many of the most talented and exciting players on earth, became progressively less and less about soccer in a profoundly ugly and brazen way; a particularly belligerent ugliness bloated by an intrinsic emptiness, the cultural symbols that used to lend it significance, sustenance and furor fading further to an ever more distant remove. Here is an excerpt:
“El Clasico has gone hyperreal. It’s no longer about football—last week’s aesthetically dreadful CL game attested to that. Rather, it’s a tetherless conflict fueled by a hatred without purpose or end, played out second-by-second online in the form of back and forth recriminations between managers and players and legal threats and accusations of doctored footage and sabotage expertly leaked to a hungry sports media. It’s about Mourinho’s conspiracies and Barcelona’s diving and covert racism, about UEFA’s handling of the post-match events”
Please read the whole column. He also applies this hyperreal context to the EPL in general.
I usually think Mourinho is brilliant but I’m baffled by his recent antics and comments. He went far beyond psychology and histrionics into prissy paranoia and megalomania. Mourinho went furthest, but was not alone in his travels. It’s sad and hard not to feel that a lot of these people diminished themselves.
“These Clásicos, in other words, have been emblematic of the increasingly ambient, fragmentary way in which the world consumes its favorite rivalry. The feud is waged half in headlines, so the games—endlessly recorded, endlessly talked about, endlessly replicated—never really have to end. The best players in the world are involved, but they don’t usually get in the way.”
Extremely well written and worth reading in its entirety.