Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Charlie Brooker on the World Cup

I wish I enjoyed the World Cup, if only for some fleeting sense of common unity with the rest of humankind. But I simply don't get it...What puts me off isn't the game itself, but the accompanying patriotism; or, more specifically, the hollow simulation of patriotism used to hawk products throughout the contest.

Take the current Carlsberg campaign featuring an insanely jingoistic dressing room "pep talk" which blathers on and mindlessly on about national pride. "Know this," the voiceover whispers portentously, "that shirt you're wearing? Your countrymen would give anything to put it on." Really, Carlsberg? I wouldn't put down a sandwich to lift the World Cup, let alone pull a sweat-sodden sports jersey over my head. And would even the most committed fans really do "anything" to wear it? Would they saw their own feet off with a bread knife dipped in cat piss? No. They wouldn't. So stop lying.

Having grossly overestimated the cachet of said hallowed shirt, the ad treats us to a cameo from virtually every notable English sporting hero of the past 50 years, pausing briefly for a patronising moment of silence for Sir Bobby Robson, before depicting an ethereal Bobby Moore, bathed in heavenly light at the top of the tunnel, standing proudly beside a lion. The whole thing plays like a masturbatory dream sequence for Al Murray's Pub Landlord character, the punchline being that the whole thing is a sales pitch for a Danish brewing company. The tagline should be: "Carlsberg: as English as Æbleskiver"...There are other adverts of course: Coca-Cola, Nike, Pepsi-Cola, BP, Blackwater Security, The Tyrell Corporation, Damien Thorn Enterprises and so on. All hitting the same phoney note of concord, all somehow cheapening the fun that millions will extract from the tournament itself...

Encapsulates much more eloquently and accurately what I was trying to argue here

Edited to add: See also Mike Marqusee

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