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October 19, 2004

Comments

Peter Nolan

"...in an unglobalised world..."

Then maybe he can go back to playing on Sundays for the team in whatever cow town he comes from.

London was full of these ESF idiots at the weekend. At least they'll fight, not like these diving pansies.

Frank McGahon

Yes, of course, it takes some chutszpah for the Argentine captain of an Italian team which prides itself on a cosmopolitan international outlook - and which team comprises his fellow Argentines, Brazilians, Serbs, Uruguayans, a Paraguayan, a Dutchman, a Nigerian, a Greek and a Turk - to complain about globalisation!

Michael Turley

"Some footballers, Barcelona FC also springs to mind, suffer from the same delusion as academics and Hollywood celebrities who imagine that their prominence in one field confers a wisdom on affairs in another unrelated field which eludes the rest of us poor rubes."

I wouldn't read too much into it. He's just giving an opinion - you could include taxi driver in your list of footballers, academics and Hollywood celebrities.

I presume by "unglobalised" he means something about globalised corporate activity rather than cosmapolitanism. Who cares anyway, he's a footballer.

Frank McGahon

I presume by "unglobalised" he means something about globalised corporate activity rather than cosmapolitanism.

Well, you'll find it is rather difficult to sustain any kind of cosmopolitanism without "globalised commercial activity".

Who cares anyway, he's a footballer.

Which is my point. His opinion is no more valid than the taxi drivers, yet his fame as a footballer has awarded him a platform he confuses with a mandate to spread the word on non-footballing matters.

My view is that entertainers should button it and stick to what they are good at.

As it happens Sir Alex Ferguson is a socialist and was opposed to the Iraq war, yet he doesn't use his position to lecture the rest of us on this. People with contrasting views on the merits of socialism or the Iraq war may still support (or loathe!) United without any problem.

Zanetti's actions (as with those of Barca) ask the fans to take a position on this. There may well be fans of Inter who consider Subcomandante Marcos to be a terrorist, it must be galling for them to see him officially lauded by their team captain. Zanetti's private opinion is his own business but he has no right to suborn the prestige of his team and the implied support of their fans and hook it onto his political hobby horse.

Jon Ihle

Hey, Peter, my co-blogger Paul was one of those ESF idiots. Crawl out of your ideological cocoon and engage with some different opinions sometime - it's educational! I'm not really convinced by the ESF and related groups, but I've learned a hell of a lot from Paul over the years.

Peter Nolan

Jon, I have plenty of contact with the ESF type of person (see http://twenteenthcentury.com/uo/), if you don't believe me).

I am all-too familiar with the mix of mud-pie cultural theory, adolescent posturing and latent totalitarianism
that makes up these gatherings.

I've already made enough of a contribution to this event through Mr Livingstone gifting them some of my council taxes.

Lying on a couch in Starbucks reading the new Fukuyama book while ignoring the background noise seemed the best response.

Michael Turley

"Well, you'll find it is rather difficult to sustain any kind of cosmopolitanism without "globalised commercial activity"."

Indeed. However, there is a certain vague advocacy out there which seems to embrace the idea of multiculturalism (whatever that is) while rejecting the concept of corporate globalisation (whatever that might be, probably McDonalds). In time, I'm sure that contradiction will become more apparent to everyone.

"My view is that entertainers should button it and stick to what they are good at."

It would be preferable if some entertainers were more reticent regarding matters which they seem not to have dedicated much thought towards (morally dubious Hollywood stars bleeding their hearts over Tibet being a famous example). However, I'll never begrudge Mohammed Ali for his "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet-Cong" quote.

Zanetti may be wrong, misguided and even, depending on your outlook on world affairs, dangerously misleading but at least he is showing a hint of a conscience which is more than most of our vacuous entertainers are capable of. Its a personal opinion but I would rather have some headcase with heart ranting about Zapatistas than another Beckham trying to tell us how brainy he is or some South African beauty telling us where we should and should not put our roads.

Brian

Zanetti believes in this cause (however misguided you may think it is). He convinced his teammates to support that cause. Why the heck is this arrogant or presumptuous?

I donate money to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, a mentoring organization which I also volunteer for. I also encourage others to do the same.

My academic training is in mathematics, not social services. Does this mean I'm under the delusion that prominence in math confers wisdom on affairs in social services which eludes the rest of you poor rubes merely because I donate my time and money to this cause?

I understand your contempt of "trendy" causes and I'm pretty skeptical of them myself. But I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with the action, perhaps only the particularl cause chosen. Do you object to George Weah's work with War Child, a group that works with demobilized child soldiers in Africa?

Frank McGahon

Brian, as I said, I don't have a problem with Zanetti's personal opinions. My beef is that he is abusing the prestige of Inter for his personal hobby horse - one on which it could be reasonably assumed that Inter fans might differ. As for Weah, I doubt too much whether fans of his would disagree with the aims of his charity.

Michael, I suppose we'll have to differ: "misguided idealism" is a lot more dangerous than apathy. Would that Che Guevera had forsaken misguided idealism for apathy instead.

Brian

"My beef is that he is abusing the prestige of Inter for his personal hobby horse - one on which it could be reasonably assumed that Inter fans might differ"

Not at all. He asked his teammates to join him. They voluntarily agreed. He demanded nothing of Inter or Zanetti fans, who are free to think he's full of sh*t.

Where I work, people are always trying to get you to support their pet cause. Cancer research, juvenile diabetes, the local youth center. People are free to contribute or not as they so desire.

Heck, people don't go around trying to recruit people to political parties, but many cubicles have Bush-Cheney or Kerry-Edwards signs.

Brian

So essentially famous people shouldn't speak on anything unrelated to their profession???

Listen, I have no problem with Hollywood yahoos yammering on about Tibet or the NRA. I don't consider their opinions on the topic anymore highly than my next door neighbor. But I'd never suggest they shouldn't talk at all.

They're free to talk about whatever they want (just like you and I). You and I are free to ignore them.

Brian

Essentially, it seems like you think celebrities are free to have his personal opinions so long they don't actually express them. I don't see why being in a particular profession generally imposes a gag order on citizens in that profession.

They have freedom of speech. You have the freedom to say they're full of it.

Brian

For example, I think Maradona is a prick for sucking up to Castro (not that I had any regard for him as a human being before that). But that's because Castro's not someone who deserves any adulation, not because Maradona doesn't have the right to express his political opinions.

Frank McGahon

Essentially, it seems like you think celebrities are free to have his personal opinions so long they don't actually express them

Not at all. You seem to have missed the point(s):

1) Attaining a status in a certain field - say a Hollywood actor or an Ivy League professor - awards a certain prominence. It is a mistake to assume that this prominence brings any kind of wisdom or obligation to speak, over and above that of any old Joe sixpack. Yet this is the default assumption of a lot of these blowhards.

2) Just because I think a celebrity who keeps their mouth shut on political matters is more admirable than one who doesn't shouldn't imply that I favour any restriction on their speech. Freedom of speech doesn't confer a right to respect for the contents of that speech.

In any case you will note that I mentioned Sir Alex Ferguson who holds a view on the Iraq war different to mine. Yet, how do I know this? Because he revealed it in an interview. Naturally, I don't object to him expressing this opinion. What I would object to is if he was to campaign on this issue or try to parlay his status as a successful football manager or as manager of Manchester United into some sort of authority on this matter. Of course, he doesn't do this - yet this is exactly what the likes of Richard Dawkins (whom I otherwise admire for his "day job") do.

Brian

I wouldn't object to Fergie campaigning for that issue at all (for the record, I don't know what position he took on Iraq). I'd merely treat his opinion the same as any other pro- (or anti-)war self-appointed pundit: I'd agree or object on the merits of the argument.

Brian

As the saying goes: politics is too important to be left solely to the politicians.

Michael Turley

"Would that Che Guevera had forsaken misguided idealism for apathy instead."

That would have been a tragedy for t-shirt makers the world over. Anyone know of a good biography of Guevera? I know nothing about the man.

Frank McGahon

There's plenty of hagiographies out there and a google search for Guevera (or Guevara) will unearth plenty. I don't know of any critical biographies off hand but Guevera wrote plenty himself. You might be better reading his own words to get a sense of his "misguided idealism" and the extent to which for him the "ends" of revolution justified the "means" of killing or coercing individuals.

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