One of the great privileges
Oh no, it's the Morning Line
A tremendous close to a World Cup, and my thoughts this morning are with Kylian Mbappé who scored a hat trick in the final, only to end up not just on the losing side, but with Emmanuel Macron of all people doing an unconvincing and horribly ill-conceived ‘let me console you, brother’ number on him. Oh, that the player had chinned him, live on TV.
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It was a packed field, but the Daily Mail’s Oliver Holt grabbed the Virtue-signalling Wanker Award with both hands.
Again, let’s look at the data. The Office For National Statistics tells us that an estimated 3.1% of the UK population aged 16 years and over identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) in 2020. The number is steadily rising, but the reality is that you’ve pretty much as much chance of bumping into someone whose sexual orientation is not heterosexual as you have of bumping into a person of colour.
swathe /sweɪð/noun noun: swathe; plural noun: swathes; noun: swath; plural noun: swaths a broad strip or area of something. "vast swathes of the countryside"
Oliver is a journalist that one would expect his English to be up to scratch. So what was the percentage of non-heterosexual people (3.1% in the UK), who might have wanted to travel to the World Cup, but couldn’t because it was held in a medieval hellhole?
I suspect that it is a number that one might wish to choose a more accurately descriptive term than a ‘swathe’.
But that’s not my main gripe. It’s journalists wanting to have it both ways; suspending-their disbelief about all the really dark stuff in a place that hasn’t experienced a period of enlightenment, whilst pouring out yard after yard of football prose, to then have a cowardly dig once they are heading to the airport.
There’s also a special mention for the deeply unworldly hacks who consistently turned a blind eye to the same dark stuff, to then bellow sports washing! at Lionel Messi graciously agreeing to wear a bisht. This fine robe was gifted to him; as a symbol of appreciation and respect in the Arab culture, and yet it sent many people quite barmy, which ironically marked them out as being as bigoted and intolerant as those they mumbled about when they thought they were safe.
Miguel Delaney, James Pearce, Jane Merrick, Gary Lineker, and Dan Walker, (and others), we are looking at you and wondering if being complicit in funding your kind of journalism is a good idea, or not a good idea.
Would a rainbow flag that masks the beyond grim activity of Stonewall and Mermaids have drawn such ignorance? No, of course not, because the intellectual bar one has to hurdle in order to endorse something without really knowing what one is really endorsing …is deliberately set low.