this is one of them posts that might be interpreted as serious. as a result of that, i really wasn't sure if i wished to write about it or not. it would seem that, since i am hammering away on a keyboard that feels like it has just about had it and you are presumably reading this, i decided yeah, i wanted to voice an opinion.
earlier in the week, i believe as point of fact Monday, i found the blu-ray of Escape From The Planet Of The Apes going really cheap. as in, to celebrate things being fixed all nice-nice Stateside, US$5 cheap. finding it doesn't mean buying it, of course. however, i did buy it.
it is most peculiar that i have so far found this one and the original, the Mr Guns starring Planet Of The Apes, for sale at this price, and yet the other 3 films from the 70s are nowhere to be seen, either at full or cheaper prices. they will turn up one day, i am sure.
in a somewhat unusual move for me, i watched it as soon as i could. usually discs take a while to get seen, i must confess. time does not allow it. in this case, though, i really wanted to watch it again. it's an ace film. all five of them are, as indeed is the recent Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes. they are clever, entertaining, well written and well made despite the limited budgets of the 70s films and the limited effects they could use.
of the Apes films, i would rate Rise as my favourite as it was stunning. second was that undisputed masterpiece of an original staring him off of Ben Hur and one of them Wayne's World movies. this comes in at third, then, since it does not have the annoying noises that the otherwise great Beneath does all over the soundtrack.
as spoiler free as i can, it's a favourite because of the dynamic, brilliant way it explains how time alteration rather than time travel is possible, well over 20 years before the brilliant FlashForward tried to do the same and apparently confused American audiences to the point of cancellation. secondly, and here i have to be wary of spoilers, it shows a barbaric, brutal reaction of someone trying to alter time by taking actions on the basis of what might happen if he does not.
the debate around if we should try and avoid a fate that has apparently been cast already is brilliant. him, the tall one off of the original Fantasy Island, in particular is ace in a cameo appearance.
the whole Planet Of The Apes concept often gets read in an allegorical way, be it in regards of races, religions, class systems or nationalism. a sort of modern Animal Farm if you like, assuming we all mean the one that George Orwell wrote, and not the Scandanavian film of the same name but radically different plot that my mate Spiros thinks is ace.
this allegorical take is particularly impressive when applied not to people vs apes, but in the way that people turn on each other and indeed the apes, or primates if you like, build their own class system. in that regard, it is a work of genius.
a different work of a rather different kind of genius would be this story which came along a mere couple of days after i had watched, or if you like re-watched, Escape.
hmn. like a lot of people, i would imagine, i instantly hit google to see just what this offensive, or at best inappropriate, joke was that Roy Hodgson had decided was ace coaching material. here, for those of you who have not seen it, it is
Nasa decided they’d finally send a man up in a capsule after sending only monkeys in the earlier missions.
They fire the man and the monkey into space. The intercom crackles, 'Monkey, fire the retros’. A little later, 'Monkey, check the solid fuel supply’.
Later still, 'Monkey, check the life support systems for the man’. The astronaut takes umbrage and radios Nasa, 'When do I get to do something?’
Nasa replies, 'In 15 minutes – feed the monkey’.
quite, erm, quite crap, is it not? this probably made sense in the 60s, when the USA was firing monkeys into space and the USSR had no quarrel with sending men up. the jist or point of the joke is that the celebrated, trained and likely hero needs to bow down and serve the unlikely, actual hero of the hour.
a rather convoluted and unusual reference to use in a 10 minute break in a crucial World Cup qualifying game. since the point he was making was that Smalling should pass the ball to Townsend to get the ball up the field to score i would have thought it easier to just say what i did then rather than to recall a joke that was as popular as it was relevant some 20 years before either player involved was born.
the reference is pretty straightforward, really, or at least it bloody should be - Smalling is a big star from Manchester United, whereas Townsend is but a promising youngster at Spurs, only now starting to even get into the Tottenham team, let alone the England set up.
as both players happened to be born non-white, and one would assume will remain that way for the rest of their lives, quite a lot of fuss was attempted to be kicked up about Roy's unusual training idea.
let's get something straight right away. i do not like Roy f*****g Hodgson one little bit. i consider the prick to have been a part of the dodgy regime at Blackburn Rovers that eventually unleashed an uncalled for complaint against Boro that saw Boro unfairly docked 3 points for postponing a match in good faith. since then, of course, other Premier League teams have postponed games with much less notice, and West Ham cheated to survive in the Premier League. no points docked for any of them, so f*** the FA for the most part, too.
for entirely different reasons, ones that will feature here, a number of other people don't care for Mr Hodgson either. his rather unorthodox way of presenting tactical advice has given them what they think is ammunition against him, and indeed they have run with it for a little while. as that class headline from a classy publication shows.
there are two other things we should clarify here too. a lot of talk at the moment is "offence" and of course of "rights". well, let's look at the two things that certain people skip in this regard.
first off, no one has the right to go around and say what any other person should and should not be offended by. that's down to the person hearing it or seeing it. many out there, as has been the case here it seems, are rather eager, however, to tell others that they are in fact offended by something, whether they are aware of it or not.
secondly, i am forever in the debt of John Cleese for this one. i quote the man : "nobody has the right never to be offended". in general, away from this, freedom of speech actually does have a price, and that price is that others can express their opinion just as much as you. this is where the internet goes bonkers, of course - people on forums and comments on news articles go mental when someone disagrees with what they have said.
if we move back to the story in hand, then (Roy, not Escape From The Planet Of The Apes) it is somewhat telling that the complaints, or the leaking of this story, did not come from either Mr Smalling or Mr Townsend. it seems they took what Roy said in his most peculiar way as simple, basic tactical instruction and they got on with it. well done on the win, by the way - we are all looking forward to England limping out of the group stage and getting battered in the first knock out round.
if neither of the players who were being spoken to complained or thought what Roy said might have been meant in an offensive way, where did the story come from and who would have an interest in trying to twist around what Roy said?
it's no secret that the, and legally you have to call it this, "newspaper" that ran this 'exclusive' does not like Roy Hodgson at all. it is, in fact, only recently that they have bowed to pressure and call him Roy instead of 'Woy'. they dislike him on the basis that they wanted someone else to be the England manager. they wanted someone of their choosing. they wanted a highly tax efficient, wheeler dealer, good old cockney barrow boy to lead England.
whoever "leaked" the story, rather than doing the right thing and going to the FA to raise a concern about what Roy said if they had a genuine reason to believe offence was caused or intended, has not been named or identified. well, they probably have if one searches on the internet or that twitter thing. going to that "newspaper" rather than making an official complaint does make one wonder if this information was released more to discredit Mr Hodgson than it was out of concern for offence caused.
i don't have any idea who might have given the story. i have not searched or looked. as for who it might have been, it does tend to scream that special kind of dickhead who interprets "reluctantly not guilty due to lack of a direct witness" as "completely cleared by a court of law", but as far as i am aware he was not in the squad; perhaps he was giving moral support or similar to the partner of someone playing.
i suppose it could well be the case that just whoever it is that "newspaper" wanted to be England manager might have had a family member or good friend, if not both, in the squad, and they well might have decided to mention it in passing.
let's stop p!sssinng about and state the obvious here. what was trying to be done was that somehow this "newspaper" wanted to interpret that Roy was calling a black player a "monkey". unless my eyes are really f*****, and i am due some new glasses, both players who got tactical advice from Roy via the medium of a redundant joke about the American space programme are non-white. for this to have been the case here, then, Roy Hodgson must be fanatical about the allegorical ways of Planet Of The Apes as i mentioned above and for his comment to have worked he would have had to have explained the class system amongst the apes / primates in that work of fiction and further gone on to advise to the whole England team that such an ace class system prevailed amongst black people.
i suspect he didn't do that. firstly, trying to get John Terry or, even worse, Wayne Rooney to understand Planet Of The Apes, in particular the famous ending to the first film, would be something that is simply not possible. the basic level of intelligence required to understand the concept would, i fear, be lost on them with a lack of shiny things visible and indeed a lack of any sort of loose, free and easy definition of what "fidelity" means. i would also imagine that the FA might have spotted it if Roy had such ideas when they interviewed him for the job. the FA are bad, but not that bad. well, they are that bad, remembering the reincarnation coach.
this of course is not Roy's first brush with race relations. for Euro 2012 he did not select Rio Ferdinand. he did not select Rio because he was an injury liability, and Sir Alex Ferguson advised Hodgson that even at full fitness there was no way Rio was up to being able to play two games within four days at an international tournament. this was stated quite clearly at a press conference.
of course, a certain "newspaper" or two ignored this, and went with Rio's idea that he had been exiled because of that whole John Terry / Anton Ferdinand case. he would not accept that it was for footballing reasons. this would in the end also lead to Rio boycotting the "Kick It Out" anti-racism campaign for not being militant enough, and of course also using a racial slur (that he denied was racial) against a black player who dared to testify as to what he saw and heard, not what Rio wanted him to say.
all things considered, Rio is quite the fan of the allegorical class system in Planet Of The Apes, it would appear. woe betide anyone who does not see race relations the way Rio does. and at this point i would like to say that on any day of any week in any year i would rather play Rio Ferdinand in my team than that special kind of dickhead, no matter how many limbs Rio was missing, because he is a superior footballer. but i am not the England manager.
the most troublesome element in all of this is that it has allowed this chap the opportunity to once again grab some nice attention for him and his business, by means of stirring up things a great deal.
that, readers, is Peter Herbert. he rose to some prominence with the whole thing with the special kind of dickhead. he sees the plight of non-white professional footballers as a civil rights issue and he expects them all to join him in "the struggle". presumably he is prepared to let them pay some sort of special membership fee to join him, but he has not mentioned that.
Peter Herbert is dangerous. he is dangerous because whilst some of what he says makes a great deal of sense it strikes him that everything he says must then make sense. in respect of the special kind of dickhead, he was quite right to point out that John Terry "got off lightly" with his FA fine and ban. he was quite right to point out that Chelsea had dishonoured their commitment to fighting racism by not ejecting him from the ground, as they said they would of any fan found guilty of using the words that Terry did. Peter Herbert, however, did not state that Anton Ferdinand should have received a similar ban or fine for equally inflammatory words that he admitted to saying. he also did not condemn Rio Ferdinand for using a racial slur agaisnt Ashley Cole. i am all for bashing John Terry when he deserves it, just like anyone else who does. Mr Herbert, apparently, does not. if the "struggle" is equality and not just popular headlines, Mr Herbert and i disagree on what "equality" means.
Mr Herbert was spot on to say that just because the FA found no problem with what was said and no complaints were made officially does not mean that no further investigation should take place in respect of this Roy incident. despite neither the two players directly involved, nor anyone else who heard it in the dressing room, suggesting that it was either intended to cause offence or caused offence by accident, Mr Herbert has not rushed to say that it was an incident "blown out of proportion" and does not need investigating any further, if there's such a thing as common sense left.
racism, sadly, does exist in the world. in football it resides mostly in a certain element of "fans", but i have no doubt that in one or two higher ranks in clubs and associations it exists. i would love nothing more than for Mr Herbert, or Rio, or any of the amazing players of colour that Mr Herbert says should be promoted more as role models (rightly), to be involved in combating it and getting rid of it as far as possible. but to do that you cannot simply pick and choose your battles, you cannot declare something to be 'racist' when it is not and then walk away with any sort of credibility.
with all the fuss mostly gone perhaps i should not have written this. well, i have now. i dare say if someone wanted to make some choice cherry pickings of my words they could paint a vulgar picture of what i have said to say it is offensive. that's up to them, really. i can just only hope one or two see what i am trying to say here.
oh, and Escape From The Planet Of The Apes is ace on blu-ray. get it.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!