There is so much awful about football. It is commercialised to a surreal but ultimately abusive degree. The partakers are far from the Cantona/Socrates ideal. The fans are sheep who don’t know what’s good for them (see: Manchester United fans campaigning against the owners dressed in official replica gear).
And the World Cup is the epitomy of it. A postmodern hypercapitalist slapgasm of mass-inescapability.
But it is also perhaps the biggest ritual in the world. Sorry to get all Durkheimian, but social life exists through and for these rituals. The point shouldn’t be to close off people’s participation in rituals, but to try to claim them, rebuild them.
I adore the World Cup – partly out of strong nostalgia, admittedly – but I hang a DIY glittered & sloganed St. George’s flag from my window, my skincrawls at every single “Official Butternut Squash Supplier to the England Team” type tie-in, I feel a strong sense of dislocation from many other fans.
But I refuse to give up my right as a social animal to this ritual just because it’s fucked up. Indeed, I feel a sense of both duty & fun in doing whatever little I can to deviate it, to Vaughanify it.
Every night I fall asleep dreaming of sporting deviance.