Friday, April 10, 2009

Football And Pop Culture

FOOTBALL may only be a game to some, but for fans, players and managers, the round ball game is a very serious business.

So once in a while it's good to get a light hearted view of the game, it's good to laugh and get away from the attitude that Football is more important than life or death, as the famous quote goes.

The Simpsons

The Simpsons episode on Soccer was quite hilarious. The frustration of the fans with short attention spans, who struggle with the low scoring aspect of the game, is beautifully highlighted by the Simpsons.

On the lack of Action on the pitch:

"The Continental Soccer Association is coming to Springfield! It's all here - fast-kicking, low scoring, and ties? You bet.
"You'll see all your favourite soccer stars. Like Adiaga! Adiaga two! Badiaga! Aruglia! And Pizzoza!"
(in a commentary booth, bored) Half back passes to the centre, back to the wing, back to the centre. Centre holds it. Holds it. Holds it...

(excitedly) Half back passes to centre, back to wing, back to centre! Centre holds it! Holds it! Holds it!!

On the rampant Commercialism:

LISA"Hey look! It's Pele!"

PELE"Pele is king of the soccer field. To be king of your kitchen, use Crestfield wax paper."
(He is handed a bag of money and walks off. The game starts, and the crowd cheers. The Mexican team kicks off, and pass it between them, again and again... and again... The crowd becomes quiet)

The violence off the field:

Sideshow Mel is bored and a riots starts:

He punches Skinner, knocking him into Barney, spilling his beer. Barney gets mad, and dives headfirst into the people fighting, knocking them over. Groundskeeper Willy and his friends watch from nearby.

WILLY"Ach! You call this a soccer riot? Come on, boys, let's take 'em to school!
The Scots join the fighting, and the riot escalates."

MARGE"Homer, we've got to get out of here!"

HOMER"But I wanna do some rioting! (he pushes one of the Scotsmen)"

SCOTSMANJobbers cognots, ya mucker!

HOMERAll done!

Here is a link to the visuals:

Movie The Art of Football from A-Z
The Herman Vaske Movie The Art of Football from A-Z has some great comedy. John Cleese from Monty Python delivers rants about the offside rule, Americans and a great skit about Philosophy.

Here is a bit of his rant that is counter to the Simpsons view on Soccer:

"The wonderful thing about Football is its creativity, and this is why it never caught on in America. In America the action is deliberately kept short so that the sponsors can get as many commercials in as possible. And also so the players don't have to think for too long.

"They are given instructions from the quarterback who has in turn received them from the offensive coach; no-one has to think for themselves, this is the Dick Cheney version of creativity, otherwise doing exactly what you are told.

"Why do the American's insist on calling it Soccer, why do they have such a problem calling it football?

"I suppose in some way that is a form of creativity, it is quite a creative use of language, saying one thing and meaning something completely different"

Here is a link to the vision:

Monty Python
Monty Python did an excellent skit on philosophy and Football. They constructed a fictional game that had the Germans VS the Greeks with Confucius the referee.

My favourite line:

"Nietzsche has just been booked by arguing with the referee, he accused Confucius of having no free will, and Confucius he say, "Name go in book".

Again here is a link to the vision:

Maradona the King of Comedy
Perhaps the greatest Footballer ever Maradona is the best source for great comedy, and after his 6-1 loss to Bolivia I'm sure there is more to come from this enigma.

The latest documentary about him is called Maradona by Kusturica.

The film opens like most movies about great people, with a great quote that doesn't make any sense to the film.

The line is:
"God is the only being who, in order to reign, doesn't even need to exist."

But to most people Maradona is God; and he did exist. My brain hurts already and then it hurts even more when the director is shown playing the Good the Bad and the Ugly theme song written by Ennio Morricone on guitar for no good reason.

We are then introduced to a member of the Maradonian Church and repeated vision of the two goals he scored against England in the 1986 world cup in Mexico:

I never tire of watching those goals. People say the Aussies are always winging about the penalty decision against the Italians at the last world cup but the English will never forget what Maradona did to them with that infamous "Hand of God" goal.

So it's good to get some light relief now and then so I'll leave you with the greatest piece of commentary ever, after Norway beat England in World Cup qualifier in 1981.

"We are the best in the world! We are the best in the world! We have beaten England!! We have beaten England! England, birthplace of giants. Lord Nelson, Lord Beaverbrook, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Clement Attlee, Henry Cooper, Lady Diana--we have beaten them all. We have beaten them all. Maggie Thatcher can you hear me? Your boys took a hell of a beating! Your boys took a hell of a beating!"

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