Ibrahim Bello-Kano in the game of anti-herd will
Well above five Fridays ago – specifically on December 30, 2022 – I penned here “Cristiano Ronaldo’s anti-herd will.” The column essentially centred on the super-fabulous former Manchester United super-player universally and popularly called CR 7 – the name that helps his hype in the round leather game which I forgot to emblazon here that time I did my column aforesaid on him. The golden super-attacker vehemently rubbished his former club and disappeared to the Middle East – precisely to Saudi Arabia – where he is gulping football money brazenly and un-brazenly.
Of course, since he left Man U by mutual consent, the fortunes of the former English champions have significantly improved – thanks to the anti-herd critic and hero whose fiercely fierce dressing-down of the Manchester Red Devils had since forced the management of the club to put appropriately fitting machinery in place to fix what the correctly fiery one wanted the club to fix in order to make the chaps the real Red Devils of yore. His ex-play mates have been reaping from his genuine outburst. The benefits his rightly rough words engendered are now to their benefit. The super-chap is outstandingly beneficially selfless. Up Cristiano Ronaldo!
Now, why am I dwelling on this subject today tomorrow being one of the greatest of the greatest days in the annals of our country’s politics and chronicle? Obviously, tomorrow is a day that all our anti-herd minded chaps will love to will to shape Nigeria your Nigeria my Nigeria our Nigeria for super-glory that is super-glory.
I am doing something un-usually unusual by placing here to celebrate tomorrow a welcoming anti-herd alternative to my column today. Read in-between the lines as I place to the fore Professor Ibrahim Bello-Kano’s flourishing demolition that is really not a flourishing demolition of me but an unusual demolition, an ingenious demolition, of what is what that is not what. If the elections hold tomorrow may the anti-herds demolish the pro-herds as a fitting end to what is what that we shall forever memorialize as what was not that was really what was not that was expected to be the what of what. Am I uttering a riddle? Read and digest it how you will. Now over to IBK who is in the game that is the game to play the game as he deems fit as one-day football enthusiast and critic/commentator our political game players may adore or abhor.
Dear Professor Tony Afejuku, I read your unusual and “out-of-character” column on football. I find it intriguing that a scholar and researcher and writer, and Professor of repute, a highly acclaimed and first-rate columnist who is very up there on the scale would be concerned about the game of football – the most plebeian of modern games, although now re-described, without a tinge of irony, by its “priests” as “the beautiful game.” Modern, or post-1970, football is the new “soft,” comic face of capitalism, or rather glitz capitalism or frivolous spending on glitz and razzmatazz for nothing other than the “ticketed excitement” of a few rowdy, neo-anarchist revellers shouting at the top of their voice and jumping up and down for a brief, pointless, and unproductive moment.
Football is now a facile consumer “culture industry” with zero intellectual value to anyone devoted to the development of human intellection or critical thinking, or even real progress in human edification. The just concluded World Cup tournament diverted attention from the brutalising, neo-liberal economic policies of many governments, and the heavy malice of many a potentate, across the world. It’s like the metaphysical arsatz drug that lulls many into the sleep of insoucience over the urgent problems of the economy and society.
Nothing but vainglorious ataraxia at most. Many young men and women were glued to their television sets just to watch a pointless game shrouded in money-glitz, servile nationalism or bland “brand” euphoria. But I do understand the role of mass euphoria and quietened-requited hysteria that football tournaments offer to the popular masses and the deracinated, fashion-obsessed, money-worshipping, watery-eyed, star-gazing elite as well. The great Pele, the only immortal footballer, example, played when money and mass euphoria were not on the ascendant, not even on the cards. Pele played for the good of the game and the entertainment of the masses, especially those in his native Favellas.
His cosmic dexterity, his incredibly and incomparably suave footballing skills and dazzling performance thrilled millions, and for a moment showed that humans could be thrilled by a dark-skinned master player. Yet Pele didn’t receive mega six figures or outrageously vulgar cars such as the Bugatti or the May-back, the contemporary symbols of vulgar possessive consumption and egotistical self-obsession. High-end Football is now the obscenely crude symbol of utilitarian crassness, the refuge of the alienated and, like cocaine or heroin or meth, the euphoric space of High Delusion.
Just as the masses flock to hallowed buildings to be “purified” of their tenacious clinging to reality (or rather their instinctive hatred of the real Real), so football fans seek in football a new energy to face the illusion that reality is evanescent and not empirically limiting, to shout and jump and make “horrid faces.”
Little wonder that football is the new secular religion, a hollow and hollowed religion full of priest-managers, misty Logos, authoritarian referee-conspirators, money-fixated “bean counters” called “sports insurers”, and a host of unthinking hungerers for glitz and glamour, from sports writers to field advert managers. Indeed, football is the new blunting of mortality. It’s, in fact, the new “stupidized morality”.
For a moment, football or its spectators forget that, in the end, life is fundamentally and incorrigibly Anti-football in that it does not “play” but moves inexorably towards an unglamorous decomposition in the Crypt. The only redeeming value of the game is that it won’t be very beautiful after all has been played, and jumped and shouted and ended with or by the Great Whistle.
Tomorrow may the vanquished not be vanquished, the loser not the loser, and the winner be the winner in the spirit of the game that is the game that we are all in. Exactly what do I mean? Exactly what do we mean? The meaning of the meaning! We shall celebrate with a whimper that is an absolute whimper, not with a bang that is an absolute bang!!! What do I mean? Exactly what I mean: The meaning of the meaning! We await our vindictive capitalists – all of us anti-herd fellows. But this is not the meaning that is the meaning in the game that is the game that we are all in.
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.