Taming of the Shrew (act 1, sc. 1)
After the media’s fitful fever (1), the business of FIFA, the corruption of the corruptible, the FBI’s arrest of the corrupt, the theories of conspiracies, the election of FIFA’s president and his subsequent resignation – all this has already sunk into the swallowing gulf of blind forgetfulness and dark oblivion (2).
Still, the FBI’s sudden interest in football leaves me so attired in wonder that I know not what to say (3). However, inclined as I am to be a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles (4), I cannot exempt myself from questioning, at the onset, whether football is football or football is soccer.
To begin with, first there was ‘socca’ (1889), followed by ‘socker’ (1891) and finally by ‘soccer’ (1895). But how can ‘socca’, ‘socker’ or ‘soccer’ have anything to do with a foot-kicked rubber-ball?
It is an instance of what lexicologists call ‘implied similitude’, with the formation of a twin-term associated with rugby. There was a Rugby Association (1871), which, for reasons unknown, came to be shortened into ‘Rugger’.
Later there was a Football Association. But, in a similar vein, to transform ‘football’ in ‘futter’ raised unpleasant associations through assonance. The next best thing was to apply the conversion to ‘Association’. But using the first three letters as the matrix for a familiar verbal rendition was out of the question – without even considering that Victoria was still queen, alive and well.
Furthermore, the Football Association may have lost some of its standing, and soccer some of its appeal, had it been familiarly referred to as ‘asser’.
Incidentally, this is not the first instance when two letters make all the difference. Not many know that Hitler’s actual last name was ‘Huettler’. But ‘Huettler’ falls flat on the ear, whereas ‘Hitler’ has the sound of hard metal. It is perfectly suited to rhythmic repetition by oceanic masses, driven into Dionysian frenzy by Hitler’s galvanizing speeches.
In our case, the first 2 letters (‘as’) were dropped and replaced by the next 3 (‘soc’). The rest you now know.
There remains, however, one unresolved question. In American football, the least used limb (with regard to the ball) is the foot. Therefore ‘football’, as it is called in the rest of the world, is consistent with the actual game. But in the context of the new American century, we should not be surprised if the world should henceforth call football soccer, leaving the use of ‘football’ as the undisputed right of the Exceptional Nation.
Nevertheless, the Nation’s sudden interest in football-soccer should be seen as a kind of historical revenge.
In relatively recent history, the US considered football-soccer a game for sissies, and they attempted to make baseball popular in Western Europe (there are ways other than bombs, drones and killings to establish a hegemony).
It came about in the wake of WW2, of the atomic bomb, the American dream, American music, cigarettes and the Hollywood movies. Playing (or attempting to play) baseball, was yet another way of being ‘cool’.
In Italy there was a popular song, with lyrics in the Neapolitan dialect, that (translated), went as follows,
“You pretend to be an American,
But you were born in Italy.
You want to appear fashionable,
But if you drink whisky and soda,
You later experience intestinal troubles.
You play baseball, you dance the rock-and-roll,
But the money for the Camels (cigarettes),
Where does it come from if not from your mother’s purse.”
Regrettably, baseball did not stick, and American sports lost ground against the game that was soon to become the most practiced and followed worldwide, football-soccer.
But now it seems that the empire wants to make up for lost ground. It intends to rule even in this sport, and decide where the world-games should be held and who should run its ruling body.
Once more, the Exceptional Nation expects its citizens, and now the world, to believe the incredible. For the unbelievable combines with the incredible, to create a nuclear bomb of disbelief, for the annihilation of the last trace of truth.
That corruption is endemic where big money is involved is not disputed nor is the issue. It is a world where practice has introduced rules, rather than rules have directed practice. And rules are drawn rather from precedent than reason.
Corruption plagues US sports. To feign scandal at practices that have been sanctified and blessed under the name of ‘business’ is to stab the audience with laughter.
Ironically, and almost simultaneously with the episode in question, a US Court sentenced some major US and US-based banks for massive fraud and market rigging in the range of hundreds of billions. The sentence consisted of fines of a few billion $ each. No one was arrested or indicted.
Yet rigging and fraud are not metaphysical entities – behind every rigging there must be a rigger, behind every fraud, a fraudster.
However, the US Supreme Court earlier deliberated that banks are persons, which of course they aren’t. And since as physical persons they don’t exist, they cannot be imprisoned for their crimes. In practice, this means a license to steal and immunity from prosecution for banksters, fraudsters, riggers and their ilk. The trail of similar unpunished crimes is decades long.
Some international readers may think I am making this up. But this type of so-called legal reasoning is not unique. In a previous blog I made reference to the trial of a policeman who, when off-duty, shot a girl dead, for being part of a group of 3 youngsters believed to be too loud at 1am.
The policeman was indicted for involuntary manslaughter. I repeat verbatim the judge’s verdict, “The act of intentionally firing a gun at some person or persons on the street is an act that is so dangerous it is beyond reckless; it is intentional, and the crime, if there be any, is first-degree murder. Simply put, the evidence presented in this case does not support the charges on which the defendant was indicted and tried. The motion for a directed finding is granted (translation, what I say is because I say so). There is a finding of not guilty on all counts, and the defendant is discharged.”
In other words, since the crime was murder but the defendant was to be tried for involuntary manslaughter, no crime had been committed.
Let’s return to FIFA. According to the horse’s mouth (US Attorney General), the FIFA investigation started 6 or 7 years ago. And the amount of illegal money involved (150 million $ over 10 years), compared, for example, to the crime by the banks just mentioned, is the proverbial pittance.
The Attorney General gave a glitzy news-conference, held for the benefit of an easily dazzled and blindly reverent audience, unafraid of unresisting acquiescence. In which conference, she maintained that not design but chance caused the end of the investigation and the arrests to occur on the day before the start of the FIFA congress. In other words, “What can be avoided that has been purposed by the mighty Gods?” (5)
Unreported by most media, a team of New York Times reporters were already present in the pharaohnic hotel, site of the forthcoming congress – so as to give Hollywood-style cover to what was designed as both a demonstration and a vendetta.
As a demonstration, it was to be confirming evidence that the Exceptional Nation can intervene, arrest, detain, torture and kill anyone anywhere in the world “where American interests are at stake” (Obama’s words). For many, it was a low point for Switzerland’s famed neutrality and independence, to show herself, in the instance, a stooge of the empire.
As for the vendettas, there were two unforgivable offenses committed by FIFA. One, as we know, was that Russia had been earlier selected as the site for the 2018 World Championship.
The second, sheltered somewhat from publicity, was the request by the Palestinian Federation, to bar the Zionist Entity from the games, on the ground of the apartheid regime, ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Given that the target of US wrath was likely to be elected anyway, there was a chance that the Palestinian motion could be tabled. And even if it had not passed, it would have given food for thought, awareness, exposure and world-wide publicity to the Palestinian cause.
Interestingly, the New York Times, after Blatter’s short-lived re-election, wondered about the “strange mathematics” applied to the FIFA elections. Meaning it is strange that every nation, however small, should have one vote. From which it follows that, rather than having a body of national federations (as FIFA is), it would be possibly be better to convert it into a private organization, of which the US could easily become the master.
Who writes here, does not follow sports and, from what we can read, the re-elected and now removed Blatter is or was not a particularly agreeable character, setting aside his honesty or lack of it. Maybe he will now be listed as a terrorist, and FIFA rated a rogue organization, secretly plotting to acquire nuclear capabilities.
For sure these are strange times, when the world is almost forced to defend Blatter, (however questionable his character), to prevent him from being destroyed by the empire.
Or, considering the insane compounding of corruption, mendacity, intrigue, fraud, theft, imperialism, pretense and blind shamelessness, we may conclude that “It is the times’ plague, when madmen lead the blind.” (6)
As for the sport in question, let’s call it football, not soccer – that is, a game played mostly by the use of the feet. Or, as Hamlet would say, “Let’s speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us.” (7)
- King Richard III
- Much Ado About Nothing
- The Winter’s Tale
- Julius Caesar
- King Lear
In the play. A prankster lord addresses the players who will actually play a prank on the character Sly.