Tuesday 20 December 2011

Christmas Mk 1

For reasons that don’t really make sense or concern you I had an early Christmas with my partner today – she was going to her parents for Xmas you see. That I was going with her didn’t mean it didn’t make sense to have our Xmas dinner and do presents today (I kind of explained it despite saying I wouldn’t and that it would interest no-one, I like that about me). I am glad we did as I got a fucking Kindle baby. That’s right – I shall now look down my nose at plebs with their so-called books. I am pretty sure my partner thought I knew I was getting it. I didn’t though; an actual surprise rather than a feigned one.

I think it is the lack of real surprises – and pleasant ones at that – that makes me dislike opening presents in front of people so much. I really hate doing it. It’s all that “ahhhhhh oh that’s brilliant” that you have to say STRAIGHT AWAY when people are watching you open presents (generally that they have bought for you). I don’t like the attention (no really – I crave the attention of people laughing at me saying things like ‘fanny gauged fuck tattoo’ when it’s inappropriate, which I realise is often, but I don’t like people’s attention for any nice or real reason). Also for most of my formative years I was opening things for which I had specifically asked. I was grateful as fuck – don’t take me as ungrateful (I am really) – but there’s no surprise there…so, I’m just like unwrapping something I know what it is. But my mum’s there looking for my delight at me unwrapping the Super Nintendo (Entertainment System)..and there is a delight but not a “oh me goodness I’ve just found a million pounds in my bank account” shriek I would make if I suddenly found a million pounds in my bank account. God, I’m a fucking wanker.

Acceptable in the Tweenties

I am sure that being anything other than conversational – at an acceptable level – on a train used to be bad. On the train to London tonight there was a family who put a film on a laptop for their little lad. But had the volume on full. I think they didn’t want people talking or something interfering with him watching The Snowman. Unfortunately there is no device you can buy to make the volume of something exclusive to the person watching it so there really is no reason for me to be slightly miffed at the parents.

Was there a vote though? To make this ok and now alright for people to do? I know people get annoyed at people playing their music out of their phone on public transport (not that I would do something like that)but everyone on the train seemed fine with this. At least I know it is ok with everyone now so can work on finding it acceptable myself.

Black or White

The beauty of writing these on the old catch-up is I have a bit of perspective: I know that everyone is bored to tears about the whole Suarez-Evra-gate. It would be stupid and boring to add my two penneth now then.

Here is my two penneth:

Suarez admitted using a phrase to describe Evra in terms of his race. It was not one deemed acceptable. If you say something that offends someone on grounds of most issues you set yourself up to be punished for it. If that issue is race then you have picked perhaps the most sensitive issue in modern Britain to choose. So: if you say something bad you deserve to be punished for saying that thing.

That the phrase was something that is ok to say in Uruguay – we are not in Uruguay. We can’t go around letting people off with things because it is ok in their country; it would get very confusing. I am not saying we are right or wrong but we have our laws for a reason. More pressingly on this isssue, Suarez has played in Europe for about 5 or 6 years now; I am almost certain this word would have cropped up before in his interaction with people and maybe it would have been pointed out that this word or variants or not really ok. This isn’t saying Uruguayan ideas on racial semantics are better or worse than mine – I just think negro (and words derived from it) is offensive and has a lot of history associated with it. I think this is the consensus.

That is why I think the punishment is fine – he admitted using the word and so it’s fine. The verdict wasn’t that he is a racist. I don’t think someone saying something in the heat of the moment makes them a racist; someone is a racist where there worldview is that races/religions/nationalities are inferior because of their race/religion/nationality.

The statement Liverpool made afterwards was a bit cringey. I also didn’t think them wearing t-shirts supporting Suarez to warm-up before tonight’s game was the best idea. However, I think the reaction to all of Liverpool’s actions was somewhat OTT. There was a lot of condemnation. But what are you to do if you really believe something/believe in someone and you want to show that? It was a bit laughable them saying Suarez had black relatives and friends. But imagine you said something bad and it made you look like a certain kind of person you MIGHT say things that were true about you that showed you weren’t the kind of person they were saying you were. I am not saying it was the best way to approach the issue – but the club and players of Liverpool just wanted to support their player and offer him support.

That said – more twists than Chubby Checker – the statements made by Liverpool about Evra were definitely disrespectful – and seemed to contradict themelves and Suarez. He admitted using a word and was found guilty. Why they chose to question Evra’s honesty and motives is odd when Suarez’s defence was he did say the word just that he didn’t mean it in a bad way. HE ADMITTED SAYING THE WORD. End of story as far as the charge goes. And to make Evra out to be some congenital accuser is false.

What I just said is said a lot better here (I was not expecting to link up to Daily Mail article to back up something I had an opinion on) and with typical good style by The Guardian‘s Daniel Taylor here.

In summary –  I think someone said an inappropriate thing in the heat of the moment. What they said was almost certainly not motivated by right-wing leanings. They have been punished based entirely on what was said – and not been accused of anything more than using inappropriate racial language. That has made a lot of other people mean that means they can label him a racist. His employers and colleagues have reacted to that – in part in a good way (saying they think he is a good lad and not a racist) and part in a bad way (making out the man who didn’t like being referred to by a racial term out to be some kind of rabble rouser). I think it would have best been sorted out with a chat between Suarez and Evra a long time ago, rather than it becoming about who either play for – which seemed to undermine the more important issue of race in football.

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