False Prophets

 

I wrote this, the original draft, not long after the Newcastle game and it's been sat in my drafts ever since. It's a rant about football coverage and spin. Long time readers and blogging historians will just about be able to consume it. I apologise to everyone else.

 

A few weeks back some of the more melty amongst us were worried about Liverpool*. A team wins a game or two and suddenly they're a threat and a benchmark for comparison. A gauge to measure our own phantom failures. To those I say, learn to love your club. The rest - all other clubs - are there to make up the numbers.

*change this for Man Utd or West Ham for present day relevance

I can't change how people process games and most on here and on social media talk from the heart and I respect we are all different. Some like to protect themselves by refusing to build up their hopes. Hands safely in pockets rather than reaching for the sky. That's fine, one game at a time and no uninhibited release of all emotion means you're more likely to embrace logic than blind faith. Others are more calculated, over using it as a defensive mechanism, a way to soften every blow, making it a barrier to protect against losing face at all times.

If you stand tall and constantly front a pessimistic outlook (which arguably can vary in definition from one person to the next) you'll likely to be on safe ground as what defines success is equally ambiguous. Riding the crest of the wave with no fear of drowning is an uncomfortable option for those that don't wish to align themselves with an unpredictable future. If you constantly disparage then you wont be called out for getting over excited and carried away. For some reason, the latter is deemed a weakness. It's delusion to wear your heart on your sleeve. Being permanently shackled from joyful pride is the alternative choice and one of resurgent popularity, in this world of avatars and retweets.

I read possibly the worst 'match report' this season, an ugly cauldron of hateful bile and poisonousness rhetoric, post Newcastle defeat that proves some enjoy Spurs failing. It gives them credence to channel negativity to fuel their ego and agenda with lavish dollops of sensationalistic headlines and shallow content. The word agenda is abused at times and someone having a differing opinion to my own is hardly a target for belittling in the same manner they might direct at those that prefer an optimistic viewpoint. But there is a difference between believing in yourself and what you have to share compared to saying something just for reactionary narrative. To continually seek to tick the same boxes to meet the quota for negative spin just to push an overriding arc is pathological. It's fake. Honesty here appears to be a commodity that always comes off second best.

Criticise when criticism is warranted and just. Criticise when it isn't and I'm sure you'll end up in a rich and dynamic discussion where you can fight your corner. 'Warranted' and 'just' are subjective at the best of times. But this isn't about being right or wrong and neither is it about how you choose to support your football club and give your personal point on results and players. It's about whether you believe in what you say as someone that hosts a platform or forum for further discourse. It's that simple. Is there truth in it or do you wish to languish in lies? Is the priority Spurs or the ego of the person writing it?

I'm not advocating a happy-clappy utopia and completely appreciate that if there is one thing that embodies fragmented perspective, it's sport and especially football. One incident or a single performance can be dissected a 1000 ways by a 1000 supporters. It's what makes debating about it so great and why I blog and others stream their conciousness on podcasts, Twitter and any given pub or office canteen. I'm not referencing any of this ilk of debate and discussion. I'm talking specifically about those that set out to spin. If you believe in something then you're telling your truth, a version of it, whether others agree to it or not. If you look to bypass it and craft something that is there simply to incite and cause provocation then what are you more concerned about? It's back to the ego. Back to wanting to be perceived at the forefront of it all, with pitchfork in hand, believing yourself to be more important than the subject matter.

It's a common human trait to spin or exaggerate, right? It's funny how some can mock the likes of The Sun or Sky Sports and other tabloids and yet perpetuate fear and self-loathing in similar fashion. The content becomes secondary to driving the providers name. It's a platform for literal theatre for the aforementioned agenda. It's about them attempting to influence for their own gain. Whether it's for the sake of drumming up business for Sky Bet or using meaningless traffic stats to crown yourself king (not unlike Tim Sherwood using win ratio to claim he was a decent coach). It all only confirms the desperation of those that click in. They seek snapshots of trivial news with little insight whilst those publishing only care about the numbers.

These providers do so by not writing from the heart, instead choosing to scribble something they perceive will fit into the mainstream at that given time to maximise exposure, even if it's the opposite of something they wrote a week or month earlier. We see it a lot with player loyalty articles. It's not okay for X player to want to leave a small club by going on strike but the moment he joins a big club it's presented as a positive move and the small club is labelled as unambitious. It's the same with the way players are villianised for the sake of headlines or vitriolic writing style, because everyone loves a scapegoat. Even Saido Berahino (still a WBA player) gets mocked for having a bad attitude when connected to Spurs.

Readers are more likely to react to a con than a pro. All news is bad news making it good news for those delivering it. It's pretty much the template for most red top journalism. TalkSport is another example of simply seeking to anger potential callers to pick up a phone by provoking them with ridiculous statements that the presenter probably doesn't even believe. The way you can usually tell whether someone is genuine or not is by how much hypocrisy can be found in their arguments.

I guess I could be accused of all of the above too. Except I have nothing to sell. I'm not reliant on any of this and any articles published elsewhere are condensed and no different to what you'll read here (less words maybe, you know I hate to edit on DML). Maybe I am selling happy-clappy propaganda. Maybe I use positivity as a commodity the same way others use negativity.

/dramatic pause

Do you buy that sentiment? Is my agenda to always be fighting fans on the opposite side of the Spurs spectrum? Is that my voice?

I've never claimed to have dropped a monolith. Whether you agree with my football commentary or not, it's raw and often lacks a grammatical grace. I've never cared about losing face and have countless times raised my hands and admitted I'm wrong. I don't demand anyone to respect what I write and I've taken all the jabs thrown at me by some of the more expletive readers. It's unavoidable. Put yourself out there, roll with the punches. You can't go bullying people for having a differing view to your own. Freedom of speech means exactly that and doesn't include censoring it to fit a version of freedom 'you' deem to be comfortable for your own agendas.

In fact, we're meant to be a community. Even if we disagree on a lot, Spurs fans should reserve most of their disdain for them lot down the road and not for each other. I might still be accused. Is this article self-indulgent? Yeah, sure, whatever. Maybe I get a kick out of the fact that someone has browsed here expecting to read something about a striker we're being linked to and then browsing away in disgust. Bit of bandwidth banter. Maybe I should consider the reality that this site is linked via NewsNow, who host (via feeds) loads of websites that earn a crust off doing everything I'm slating. I guess it's worth it if one or two new readers are occasionally captured by my feed. That's my hypocrisy right there. However, the only thing I'm guilty of is not producing the content that most NN readers demand and expect. Rebel, rebel.

Maybe I'm spinning a topic that for most is an irrelevance because they choose to ignore those that bullsh*t constantly. Maybe I can't look away from this topic because I like to have something to fight against. Or maybe I just love a pretentious article, aiming shots at those that could do with a slap (literally speaking).

I'm not going to patronise and insult you if you don't like something I've written. Spurs fans happen to be the least dependent of supporters and are therefore the least likely to want to be told how to think and what to follow in terms of ideology. They'll chew and spit it out. Not everyone likes their meat raw.

Sure, we're all fickle and capable of changing our opinions but some do so more than others. It's the ones constantly changing their stance on purpose that grate whilst others stay the same whilst only ever changing their scapegoats.

I can't look away because real life conversations differ vastly from anything you get online, which tends to be a microcosm. It's all frozen in time. The dynamics of any given message board or website or timeline means we have this war of words to contend with and the truly personal aspect of face to face discussion is lost amongst the necessity to strike hard with either wit or insight or something offensive. So having an opinion isn't enough, we have to also battle for it, protect it and disapprove conflicting arguments. I enjoy it and perhaps in a less aggressive way it's also ego driven. I like to blog, I could keep all my thoughts to myself. I don't. That's basically it.

I'm not suggesting the spin can be eradicated, there's an entire industry built on it. It's a shame some enable it where it should never exist (fan websites) but at the end of any given day people, supporters, writers are free to say what they want and write what they desire. Which means I'm free to call it out as bullsh*t. Guess everyone should be grateful that bloggers and the rest of the self-appointed 'voices of Tottenham' are not important or leaders of opinions. They don't sit above any given supporter. There's no hierarchy. I know my place, in amongst everyone. Some don't.

The ones that wish to write to appease those that are susceptible to angry undertones and those that aren't quick to knee-jerk to the most simplistic of human emotions might be pushed into doing so, in support or against. Meaning a position of opinion that doesn't deserve attention ends up getting it. Yes, I know there's irony at play, what with me writing about this here. I can't escape that.

There's a lot of soap boxes and plenty proclaiming to be the loudest representative of THFC. Lusting for sycophantic glory is vastly over-rated. If you find yourself more comfortable with disparagement than you do with encouragement then I feel for you. You don't need to be that bitter and narcissistic.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

 

TL;DR: Don't read blogs, they're b*llocks