X Factor, the Manchester Derby and Media Hype

Posted on December 10, 2012

I watched the last five minutes of X Factor last night, the first time I have witnessed this jamboree of old shite since I found myself emotionally disturbed by some deluded ugly kid getting bullied by perennial bell end, Simon Cowell, five years ago or so.

What I saw last night was worse than I could have imagined, there was some sort of Plan B lookalike bellowing out a shit a song in a non-descript manner whilst a selection of hysterical morons in the crowd screamed as if though Jesus Christ had made another unlikely come back. It was unbelievable stuff to witness, especially when some silly bitch on the judging panel tearfully went up on stage to join in the celebration. I felt physically ill.

It made me realise that with zealous marketing, the tabloid media and enough stupid people, anything is possible; look at darts for fuck sake, a moderately enjoyable game for fat bastards and potential rapists has, with the power of Sky TV, become a multi-million pound ‘sport’ that has, every Christmas, millions people tuned into. The winner of the PDA (Professional Darts Association) now receives a mind boggling £200k;  it is little wonder that they look so chuffed when they walk on to the arena with a dolly bird on each arm. Who can blame them?

That said, 200k is a piss in the ocean compared to the salaries on display at the Etihad Stadium yesterday as the working class men of Manchester scrambled their hard earned cash together to watch an absorbing derby encounter hyped up into a bitter  frenzy by the Murdoch media trying and succeeding to convince the British public that the Premier League is the best league in the world, despite the fact that both Manchester City and Chelsea have already been kicked off Europe’s top table (The Champions League) and Arsenal and United are unlikely to get to the desert menu, let alone the cigars.

Of course, in scenes reminiscent of ancient Roman chariot racing, otherwise normal men, who would happily stand side by side at an Oasis, Happy Mondays or Stone Roses concerts were consciously or subconsciously encouraged to despise their neighbours, with former and current managers as well as players, offering incendiary quotes (for a fist of cash I don’t doubt) to the Murdoch media who in turn play songs like Two Tribes and named it the clash of the Steely Scotsman versus the Fiery Italian or some crap like that.

This human form of Badger baiting is all fair game until it spirals out of control and the violence kicks in, then the media, the managers and former players all ram themselves into reverse and start trying to condemn fans for throwing coins at the likes of the detestable Rio Ferdinand, who is no stranger to a good old media or Twitter wind up himself. “These people don’t belong in football”  they cry, with all the sincerity of Harold Shipman sat with a subscription and a pensioner.

I am sorry, but yes they do belong in football, these frothing fans are a vital ingredient to it all and the media know it. So are players celebrating in front of opposing spectators, fans throwing flares and coins, devious strikers taking a dive, two footed, leg breaking tackles and chants about the Munich air crash or Ferguson dying; without it all football would cease to be the incredible cash machine it is. In reality, most of what happens in terms of football is actually pretty boring and low on quality, particularly if you are stupid as me and you are the pitiful owner of a Reading FC season ticket. We don’t even get the potential of violence for our investment, just an invite to drink tepid beer in return for our children’s inheritance.

Manchester City fans singing “We’re having a party when Fergie dies.”

What gets me though, is when this media machine is used for even more sinister purposes. I guess that the majority of City and United fans learn to live in peace outside the lion’s den atmosphere of the Etihad and Old Trafford theatres of hate, but what happens when man is encouraged to rabidly turn on fellow man in the real world? It is becoming an increasingly factual theory, rather than a conspiracy, that the Government, as the austerity ideology continues fail, are going in to the grubby world of blaming the public sector, the unemployed and the poorly paid for all the ills created by the mega tax dodgers and financial industry that fund election campaigns.

It is a sinister move, but an easy scene to create with headlines such as “MEET THE McSPANGLES, THEY HAVE 10 CHILDREN, THEY SMOKE 800 SUPERKINGS A DAY AND THEY OWN A FLAT SCREEN TV…GUESS WHO’S PAYING? YOU!!!!” These headlines in The Sun or The Mail (yes The Mail is a tabloid, so don’t try and deny it) drive everyone round the bend with anger, especially people who are working 80 hours a week just to cover their mortgage. Meanwhile,  Google, Amazon, Starbucks and virtually every other FTSE 100 company are stashing money away anywhere except to the British Inland Revenue…The independent financial website Citywire estimate that tax evasion costs Britain FIFTEEN times more than benefit fraud, whilst estimates suggest the banking crisis cost us roughly seven billion!

As much as I don’t like families such as the McSpangle’s (I made that name up) I get a feeling that someone is taking the piss; tax evaders and the financial industry are costing us a lot more than a few cheap cigarettes and a knocked off TV.

Still, as Paul Weller once wrote:

The public gets what the public wants…..”


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