Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New Boots & Contracts

The Eleven Devils Stamp of Approval descends with terrifying speed and force on this Richard Williams column, in which he compares the meaty, beaty, big and bouncy Premiership bonus boys to the less lovely side of '70s rock in its most decadent phase. Pushing the metaphor, Williams sees a parallel between the scruffier, more egalitarian (and, sounds like, more fun) world of the Championship and the pub-rock insurgency that led directly to punk.

This jibes with some preoccupations and reactionary opinions long held 'round here, to wit: while the Premiership can be dandy entertainment, it's also symptomatic of the Soviet-style gigantism and mindless power-worship that have taken over all of sports. One sees this everywhere—from the capitulation of the entire American sports scene to the NFL juggernaut (and its college junior league) to the glammed-up parody cricket of the Indian Premier League, the alleged Invisible Hand is used as an excuse for crushing the small, the quirky, the independent and the non-mainstream. Meanwhile, fans are renovated into consumers, their traditional sense of ownership replaced by a passive role. Buy, buy, buy, kids—until the owners find a more lucrative market, at which point, one way or another, you're gone.

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