Down With the Cup!

Rev. Frank Julian Gelli

Posted Jun 16, 2010      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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by Rev. Frank Julian Gelli

The young Lenin loved classical music. Beethoven, especially. But he gave it up. ‘The revolution…my dedication to its cause must be total. Music would distract from it’, he said. Therefore he stopped listening to Beethoven.

Like Lenin, I am wholly & fanatically committed to my revolutionary-theocratic project. What shall I give up, then? Music? No, not that. Oh, yes! I have got it! I will renounce football. Happy, O happy renunciation!

Down with the Cup! In my remote, right-wing Roman youth, beleaguered by football-crazy Italians, I felt like a stranger in strange land. Because the game had no attraction to me. It generated either indifference or tedium. Now, as an over-ripe, Bolshie Londoner, I stand on graver ground. Football is actually counter-revolutionary. No one should watch the World Cup. Nay, reader, crucify me if you wish - I hold people should be prevented from such self-harm.

Is the priest in a company of one on this? Not quite. I learn that the Somali militant group, Al Shabab (the Young Ones) has declared the World Cup un-Islamic. With impeccable revolutionary logic the Shabab argue that soaking up international soccer is incompatible with jihad. Too many young people are glued to the TV screen to join the struggle. Hence the Shabab threaten to behead or mutilate those caught doing it, apparently.

I disagree with the means, but not with your end, dear Shabab. The laws of Christianity forbid killing or maiming people. Yet, by the same token, we should impede people from hurting themselves. Watching the Cup is self-damage. Worse, it is deliberately intended to be so.

Someone has accused me of being an Islamic apologist. I take that as a compliment. Any strongly held religious belief today demonises you as a quasi-Islamist. That football has been turned into the new opium for the masses (far worse than Marx’s opium of the masses) seems to me undisputable. The Church should denounce that and vigorously campaign against it. Strive to discourage it by preaching and teaching. If she fails to do so, while Islamists do…I have to be with them. God works in mysterious ways, surely.

Down with the Cup! I hear the howls of execration. ‘Events like Cup bring people & nations together. How can the priest be against them? They are celebrations of friendship between cultures.’ Are they?  Last year, when Algeria beat Egypt in a Cup qualifying match, Egyptians hurled fire bombs at the Algerian embassy in Cairo. Even worshippers coming out of a mosque after Friday prayers took to rioting and burning Algerian flags. Mubarak Jr. said something about bashing enemy heads. Egypt recalled its envoy in Algeria. Just as well they have no common border, otherwise a war might have broken out between the two Muslim nations. United by a common faith and Arab language. Egypt also aided Algeria in its war of independence from the French. Yet football fanaticism erased all that. Instructive, to say the least.

‘Frank, think of those poor South Africans enjoying the game so much. Do you want to deprive them of something so innocent?’ My friend Carolyn contended along those lines. I answer that this insidious, debilitating craze isn’t innocent. It is designed to sedate the toiling masses, the still indigent blacks down there. Opium induces a rush of pleasure, it relaxes and then it stupefies. Diabolically, in the XIX century British opium merchants fought wars to forced opium on the Chinese, to put them to sleep, prior to dominating and exploiting them. Similarly, the World Cup is now being foisted on the wretched South African blacks to narcotise them into submission, something even the apartheid rulers shrank from.

Thankfully, not all of the oppressed are buying the drug, despite saccharine movies like Invictus. Near the 400 million dollar Soweto Soccer City hosting the opening match between SA and Mexico are mud and puddle villages. The residents need water and electricity, basic services, not a pig’s bladder to kick around. They protest, hold up anti-Cup placards, they are angry with their rulers. Even that decrepit, mummified icon, Nelson Mandela, gets short shrift – the nation was never really a rainbow. ‘We were victims of apartheid yesterday. We are victims of democracy now. Only the name has changed’ says an eloquent black quoted in The Wall Street Journal, that egregious organ of financial fascism. A smart guy indeed. One who refuses the opiate. Should be President.

Down with the Cup! Why is football called ‘the beautiful game’? Looks pretty plain to me. ‘A gentlemen’s game played by hooligans’, they used to say. Its players express themselves in barely human grunts. Footballers’ wives…no, I am a gentleman – no rudeness to ladies allowed. The fans (from fanatic – geddit?) generally hark back to Neanderthal Man. Rooney’s face looks like a squashed potato. Beckam is the nearest I know to a living and very dumb gay doll. All right, there are exceptions, like the personable and articulate ex-player Gary Linecker but…a swallow does not make a summer.

Some politically pious bloke in Time Out magazine blathers about ‘racism, homophobia, slashed horses, sectarianism, violence & so on’ as vices attended by football. Not dissimilarly wrote the joke atheist, Chris Hitchens, in Newsweek. Both miss the essential point. Capitalism-plugged football is the new opium for the people. A counterrevolutionary tool. So David Cameron had the flag flying over Downing Street yesterday when England played the US. The bankers, financiers and public school toffs in power want to keep the opium flowing. By contrast, faith in God is about liberation.  About arousing people up from their drugged slumbers. About a bright new dawn. Listen to the Apostle to the Gentiles:

‘It is full time for you to wake out of sleep. For salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand.’(Romans 13:11-12). Kick the habit, folks. Kick the Cup, O you new Gentiles. Time to wake up!

Returning home in the Tube last night, I ran into a bunch of noisy yobs wrapped in the St George’s flag. ‘Down with the Cup!’ I nearly shouted out. Martyrdom is always a temptation. But I reflected that there are worthier occasions for it.  The revolutionary cause demands it.

Rant Number 400     15 June 2010

Revd Frank Julian Gelli .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)