Twitter

Against Modern Fads

If you follow English football on Twitter, you’ll know how difficult it is to go thirty minutes without a disgruntled fan lambasting ‘modern football’.  In fact, the term ‘against modern football’ has become somewhat of an internet cliché. The phrase seems to encompass every thing from soft red cards to obscure mascots and is essentially a persistently minor protest against the modern adaptation of the world’s favourite sport.

A lot of the major criticisms of ‘modern football’ are the increasing expenditure of following a club, the almost identical new-style stadia and the lack of atmosphere they produce. It’s fair to say that these are all fair comments and something many football fans share a disliking of. Others bemoan the influence of broadcasting giants, BSkyB in determining untraditional kick-off times instead of the standard Saturday 3pm start. As silly and banal as some of these issues seem, they genuinely matter to many a football fan, even leading to the popularisation of flares at football matches in tune with Eastern European footballing traditions that are similar to English football’s in the 1970s and 80s.

Modern stadium… The home of Cardiff City

However, many don’t consider the ridiculousness of attacking the entire institution of modern football. Many seem oblivious to the fact that emulating football support from forty years ago is also a promotion of hooliganism and intolerance. Others forget that modern football is also superior as a game with huge advancements in facilities paying dividends in creating a more entertaining sport with fitter players.  A deluded sense of nostalgia seems to be the culprit in this absurd movement to disestablish everything football has evolved into.  On the other hand, naive ‘bandwagoning’ from the younger generations may be at fault. I for one would guess that most of the ‘AMF’ crowd are under the age of twenty. In fact, most older football fans I know love ‘modern football’.

In reality, ‘against modern football’ is nothing but an irritating catchphrase used by fans who choose to ignore the historic flaws of the game we love. Sure, we would all like cheaper match tickets, better atmosphere and maybe less characterless stadiums but ignoring that, there isn’t much wrong with the current game. In fact, modern football isn’t something to be opposed at all, it’s something to be embraced.

My Story as a Football Fan

I didn’t always like football. Actually, when I was little I didn’t see the point. As a seven-year-old boy, I didn’t understand why kicking a sphere of air in to a net brought such joy to people – I was really all about Star Wars. One day circa 2002, my sister was playing football outside with my Dad while me and my two cousins re-enacted Yoda and Count Dooku’s lightsaber duel with my Lego… I know. They soon got bored and went outside to join them, apparently people don’t appreciate being told that they’re not recreating an intricate fight scene with toys correctly. I didn’t want to be a loner so I went outside and played too and I loved it. I never expected to but I really did. From that point on, I was a football fan. I didn’t know anything about the English game, except that my family’s club, Leicester City were on the brink of relegation from the Premiership; a concept I simply didn’t understand.

Glorious… Filbert Street’s infamous double decker stand.

Something, I’ve never tweeted nor mentioned in any blog is that initially, I was Manchester United fan. Truthfully, they were the only team other than Leicester that I knew and I think I thought Leicester ceased to exist whilst they weren’t in the Premier League.  My ‘support’ of Man U didn’t last long. I soon decided to support my local club (still Leicester) and it came about in a very special way. The 2001–02 season marked Leicester’s last in the Premiership and their last at their historic home, Filbert Street.  On the day prior to its demolition, the ground was open to fans to have a kick about. Me and my family went down and had a game and I ended up scoring the winning goal against my Uncle Paul. To our knowledge, the ground closed when we left, meaning we were the last people to play a game of football on that historic pitch. I was the last person to score a ‘goal’ at Filbert Street, as the family legend goes. Not a bad way to start off your following of a club, eh?

From then on, my support for the Foxes ebbed and flowed, I went to my first game in 2002/03 after I won a pair of tickets from a football course at my primary school. We drew 1–1 at home to Sheffield Wednesday. The next season, following our promotion back to the top-flight my Dad caught the City bug again and bought us season tickets. Sometimes, me and my sister and my cousins who also went loved it and sometimes we didn’t. We used to take a small ball and play downstairs on the concourse. I still remember every result from that season and most from every one that has followed. We’ve renewed our season tickets every season since but I truly fell in love with Leicester again in 2008, after years of mediocrity, our club had been relegated to its lowest ever position – the third tier of English football. From then on, I’ve been hooked, resonating City’s triumphs with my own and their defeats likewise. I’ve always been proud of my hometown. In fact, I was always infamous at school for being from Leicester, because I never stopped banging on about it.

As you can tell if you follow me on Twitter, I’m very much infatuated with Leicester City Football Club. Which is weird when you really think about it, especially when you know how skeptical and cynical I am about these sorts of things. Being a Leicester fan and a football fan unites my family and my community. Some of my best memories are from football. We all want to feel apart of something bigger than ourselves and football offers us that. That’s why we refer to our favourite team as ‘we’ when we have nothing to do with the actual playing of the game. To be honest, I don’t know why I’m writing this. I was inspired by Kyle Andrews’ post on Charlton Athletic and MK Dons which I’ll link at the bottom of this post. He talked about feeling a sense of belonging around his club and although, we admire the fans of Germany, Spain, South America etc., following a club is a unique experience in this country. Where else do you see 7,000 fans in the fifth tier of the domestic league turning up every game like they do at Kenilworth Road for Luton Town and better yet, where else do 1,500 fans pile in on a cold Tuesday night to back Darlington 1883 in the 8th tier? This dedication, to me explains why English football fans nearly always put club before country. Football is our game, it’s part of our culture and we don’t like to share it. We’re more bothered about being the best on these shores than globally because our clubs have a real sense of belonging. It sounds corny, I’m sure I’ll read this back and cringe myself but it’s true as far as I can see. You often see people refute claims that football is ‘just a game’. But it is. Football is merely a game, nothing more, nothing less. The problem is, the people that chose what was allowed to encompass a ‘game’. Passion, drive, community, dictation of mood, anything you want can be part of this game. But really, football is just a game. It’s also just a very special one.

 

The Inner Twerkings of Miley’s Madness

This post is pure speculation,  I have no real proof to suggest anything I’m going to ramble on about here is true but it may be something worth thinking about. At any given time, there is usually one celebrity making all the headlines, the one you can’t go anywhere without having a conversation about them, I’m talking Lady Gaga after she wore her meat dress, Kanye interrupting Taylor Swift at the VMAs but who would have thought innocent-faced, Miley Cyrus would ever reach the required height of relevance to make such a huge impact? Well, she has and while most are labelling her a ‘whore’ among other things, there is a just a chance that she may really be a marketing genius.

Scantily clad… Miley has become quite attached to skimpy clothes and sexual grinding.

In case you live under a rock, country darling Miley Cyrus has recently transformed in to a mega slut, think Draco Malfoy in a strip club. It all started with her single “We Can’t Stop”, exploring the sinister themes of a drug party rather than the cute on-goings of Tennessee hoedowns like her previous singles. The video was the most controversial with Miley writhing around barely clothed, making out with dolls, licking men’s torsos and twerking like she’d been tasered. That was stir enough but Cyrus managed to exceed her antics when she then twerked right in the lap of Robin Thicke at the MTV Video Music Awards. She also showed the world that she had a rare disease called ‘restless tongue syndrome’. Anyhow, interest continued to generate and she once again kept her momentum of craziness going by appearing in her latest music video for follow-up single, ‘Wrecking Ball’ entirely naked on an actual wrecking ball and by practically fornicating with a sledgehammer. She claims that this is purely artistic but you would have to be a moron to have seen that video and think she’s not trying to promote her sexuality.  You’re probably wondering where I’m getting with this but if you think about it; sex sells.

Hammer time… Miley claims this is artistic.

Miley acting promiscuously in her weird videos generates interests, which generates more views which generates more publicity and before you know it, Sly little Miley or Sliley as I’m now dubbing her, has her first UK number-one single. Pretty clever right? She follows her madness up quickly with her stint at the VMAs, everyone’s left talking about Miley and we’re waiting for what she’ll do next. She releases ‘Wrecking Ball’ accompanied by another equally controversial video and subsequently she breaks the record for most views on Vevo within 24 hours. And you can bet that ‘Wrecking Ball’ will be another top 5 hit globally. Why has she done this? Probably because it’s worked. Crazy behaviour gets noticed. Just think about how irrelevant Amanda Bynes was 12 months ago and now she’s arguably been the most talked about celebrity of 2013. But what I’d bet is that this is an ingenious plan by Miley to simply distance herself from her Hannah Montana days. She tried and failed to do that with “Can’t Be Tamed” but this time has thrown out all the stops to ensure she will no longer be seen as a kid. Here’s the checklist; 1) she’s singing about drugs, 2) she’s provocatively licking and flirting with literally any object she can find, 3) she’s changer her image so people know she is different now and 4) she’s declared ownership of a slutty dance move that is easy to replicate and already popular. In fact, that last point is her biggest triumph. Twerking is all the rage in clubs, on Twitter, on Vine and when ever anyone hears that word they think; Miley Cyrus – which is probably why she’s been trending on Twitter in some medium for the last two weeks.

If what I’m suggesting is correct, you really have to give Miley credit, she’s done a remarkable job of making herself relevant when in reality she’s not the best singer nor the most distinguishable popstar of this generation but if she can make some money and herself a success from these eccentric escapades than more power to her; Twerk, Miley. Twerk, twerk! On the other hand, if she has just gone a little bit insane and actually thinks her behaviour is normal and appropriate, maybe we should get her some help and perhaps get Billy Ray on the Jeremy Kyle show.

Other Celebrity publicity stunts that have worked out

  • Mariah Carey scored a platinum-selling single with the only slightly above average, ‘Obsessed’ by targeting Eminem in her video.
  • Lady Gaga cemented her reputation as ‘quirky’ and ‘off the wall’ by wearing a dress made of meat – it didn’t harm her album sales either.
  • Swapping spit seemed to bolster sales for both Britney Spears and Madonna.
  • Any number of female celebrities have increased their sex appeal by coming out as ‘bisexual’.
  • Kim Kardashian masterfully handled the fallout of her sex tape to become one of the world’s most famous names (well her mother did).

The Damning Consequence of Accusation

Today, Coronation Street actor, Michael Le Vell was cleared of sexual assault and raping a minor. Although, today may seem like a victory for the actor; the power of a simple accusation will plague his career for years to come.

Innocent… Michael Le Vell was cleared of all charges

The official approach of all courtroom proceedings in the UK and indeed, most other places is ‘innocent until proven guilty‘. But, if we were to gage the general public’s response to Le Vell during his trial last week, a more accurate description would be ‘guilty until proven innocent and probably still guilty after that’. A quick search of ‘Le Vell paedo’ on Twitter returns several tweets condemning an acquitted man as irrefutably guilty.

https://twitter.com/_JadeFulton/status/377498568250376192

Damaged… The acquittal of Michael Jackson didn’t stop abuse.

Unfortunately, labels stick, as we’ve seen time and time again with other accused celebrities. Michael Jackson was famously tried in court on two separate occasions for child molestation charges. The singer came to a private settlement with the accusers the first time around but was acquited in 2005. Both Jordie Chandler and Gavin Arviso have admitted lying about Jackson’s abuse but still, he is widely considered to be a predator. You probably didn’t know that because the media doesn’t want you to. These celebrities are stuck with this tag for lifetime and the liars that tarnish their livelihood usually get off scot free.

In fairness, many believed that Michael Le Vell was the victim of a Salem witch trial type scenario, basically meaning he was accused, knowing that the accusations alone were enough to ruin him – which they will. Michael Jackson was never the same after his court cases and like him, Michael Le Vell will always be the target of ‘paedophile’ jibes. Even though, the accuser didn’t get the defendant a conviction, he will still pay the price for this episode.

The question is what can be done? Why do people assume the worst? Well, in honesty, people resent success. It’s human nature to enjoy the fall of a person high up in the world because it makes civilians feel and look better.  But the real culprits promoting this cause are the sensationalist tabloids who only sell papers if they convict without evidence. The Sun isn’t going to sell more copies of a paper that labels a loved Corrie star as ‘accused by probably innocent’ than they would labelling him as a ‘sick pervert’. The celebrities accused in these instances, and in fact, the general public should be given a greater chance at anonymity. Ultimately, although cleared of all charges, Michael Le Vell will be considered a sex offender for the rest of his days, whereas the mother and daughter who put him through this atrocity can carry on as normal because no one knows who they are. If you want to talk about perversion; how about perversion of the course of justice?

That’s so Hateful

Target… Raven Symone’s sexuality has been blamed for ‘ruining people’s childhood’.

Although rumours of her sexuality had been circulating the web for the better part of a year, former Disney star, Raven Symoné publicly acknowledged her orientation on Twitter a few days ago. The reactions proved that homophobia is still rife in society, despite the march towards marriage equality in much of the Western world.

Other than dying or having a baby, there is nothing more provocative a celebrity can do than come out of the closet. Time and time again, the public and the media have worked up a storm over the sexuality of the likes of Ricky Martin, Lady Gaga, Zachary Quinto etc. Although, nobody is at all perturbed by a confession of bisexuality as every female pop star will tell you; it’s the must-have edge to a star’s persona. Regardless, this confession in a supposedly tolerant society shouldn’t cause a stir – more a passing acknowledgement and then let’s get on with our lives. Having said that, a media frenzy is a much more welcome reaction than the one Raven Symoné received. An account called ‘Childhood Ruined’ that tweets sinister observations of popular crazes from people’s childhood tweeted the news as if it had somehow tainted her hit comedy show, ‘That’s So Raven’. Frighteningly, people latched on to the tweet to agree with its sentiment. Even celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris, perhaps most famous for playing womaniser, Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother who has been ‘out’ for years is still targeted with (hopefully) inadvertent homophobic comments.

We can see the prominence of homophobia in sports such as football where homosexuality is fair game for a cheap ‘banterous’ dig at the opposition, meaning that discriminatory insults are likely to lurk in the minds of kids for generations to come. Also, recently there has been a rise in ‘homophobic’ terms seen on social networking sites with remarks like ‘faggot’, ‘no homo’, ‘dyke’ and ‘so gay’ becoming increasingly popular social vernacular. Although, usually non-intended with any malice, these words can affect the confidence of young LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender) people wondering whether they are in a safe environment to be who they are, a potentially permanent effect on their self esteem. One site (NoHomophobes.com) has collated all of the tweets with the previously mentioned terms in since July 5th 2012. Astonishingly, today alone, there have been (as of 5:17pm BST); 34,311 tweets mentioning ‘faggot’, 8,354 ‘no homo’ tweets, 8,275 ‘so gay’ posts and 2,735 utterances of ‘dyke’. Remember, this is just tweets, Facebook statuses and comments, ask.fm questions and Tumblr posts are not included in those scarily high numbers. Statistics show that 64% of LGBT students feel unsafe at school, which is no surprise given the popularity of homophobic slurs in modern slang. It’s tough enough to come out as gay when you’re pretty sure you’ll be accepted but the uses of such language will only make youths doubt their comfort in themselves. Harmful lies about gay stereotypes are also stacked against many people today. The view that gay men are always effeminate lead to the ‘no homo’ catchphrase, only enforcing the idea that a gay youth being themselves will change people’s perception of them.

Rising... The use of homophobic slang is on the rise.

Rising… The use of homophobic slang is on the rise.

I obviously realise that a lot of the uses of homophobic slang is not meant in a derogatory way but the words will have an affect on others and society in the long run. Pretty much every person has had a critical joke made about them and wondered if there was any sincerity behind it, this is exactly the same. Don’t alienate people – think before you speak.