Racism has never been higher on the football agenda with with Luis Suarez and John Terry both hitting the headlines this year, along with the well publicised problems with the nations hosting the European Championships.
I do not condone racism or discrimination of any kind, and I think that the more TV discussion shows of this sort that bring these issues into the open the better. Hopefully, these shows and the subsiquent ground swell of opinion against racist chanting and behaviour will give 'normal' fans the moral courage to confront the undesirable elements at football matches and show them up as the small-minded bigots that they are.
As interesting and thought provoking as I thought this show was, I do feel that racism is not entirely football's problem, it is primarily societies problem, and this facet of the racism issue was not really explored at any length. I thought interviewing John Barnes at the 'International Slavery Museum' was an interesting and slightly unnecessary location choice, although this was followed by a segment speaking to the comedian Ava Vidal where there was some discussion of the wider problem of an 'unconscious racism in society' and that 'football reflects society', but no investigation as to where the root of societies racism comes from.
The christian church condoned slavery, and indeed set about it's missionary work in Africa with barbaric zeal in its efforts to forcibly convert slaves to christianity before setting sail for the New World. It is therefore something of a mystery to me why so many American black activists who are campaigning for equality and against the wrongs of the past, such as slavery, do so while also being extremely religious and supportive of the very organisation which directly caused the misery and suffering of the past.
But I digress. As somebody who grew up in a part of the country with very little ethnic diversity the first black player I really took an interest in was Mark Walters at Glasgow Rangers.
Mark was unusual in Scottish football at the time, and I have to say today, many years on, for the most part football fans are now generally colour-blind when supporting their teams, and that has to be a healthier situation.
But as Clarke Carlisle points out in the documentary, we are not there yet, and you have to ask why there are not more black football managers and more British-Asian football players in our game. Highlighting this issue will hopefully lead to change and perhaps as the UK becomes more secular and atheist there will be less religious based discrimination and we will see a more level playing field for black, Asian, homosexual and female footballers.
Tuesday, 17 July 2012
Tuesday, 10 July 2012
At first glance it would appear that there is no contest between Football and Religion as regards the use of marketing to further their cause.
Football is quite obviously big business with marketing being displayed on the team strips, round the pitch, in the actual names of football stadiums and even in the names of the football competitions. Away from the game football stars themselves are used to market everything from hair-gel to video games.
However, this high profile and multi-million pound football marketing bonanza, is probably a fraction of what the combined religious organisations bring in through their seemingly less high profile marketing operations.
However, all may not be as it seems, religion has been the master of marketing for over 2,000 years.
The Art of Religious Marketing
1. Create a Product.
As you can see from many businesses operating today, and indeed from many of the tasks undertaken in the TV show 'The Apprentice', all you need to start your business is a product. It doesn't have to be a good product, in fact it can be complete crap, but if your selling it to the uninitiated and stupid, any old rubbish will do.
And lets not fool ourselves, religion is simply a business, and a business that has forgotten any moral or ethical foundations that it may once have had.
Is it there to help the poor, well as many religions are tax avoiding hoarders of wealth and land it would appear not. Is it there to bring people together, they can't even agree amongst themselves and nothing has so divided people as religion.
So to the product........
If we're going to start with some market share already, why not take a bit of this and a bit of that and 'Hey Presto', we have created the Frankenstein religion of Christianity, nothing original but cobble bits of other religions together into a mega-bundle of superstition and nonsense.
2. Eliminate Competition
Question: So why is most of the Western/English speaking world Christian ?
Answer: Emperor Constantine decided it would be more efficient and expedient to rule an mono-theist rather than a poly-theist empire, and as his mother had converted to Christianity (there were other mono-theist religions available) that was his choice.
So now that Christianity had a foothold through authority, it set about eliminating the competition of other religions in a fairly literal and lethal manner.
3. Consolidate Market Share
Not only would Christians kill those who believed in other gods, but also those who believed in no gods, and the church has managed to put a cultural stigma on the word 'atheist' which still exists today. American's hate atheists, but accept those who have no religion ..... what can I say, thery are Americans - but it is an example of how the church has poisoned our culture and language.
There were still people being put to death for heresy as late as the 18th century in Europe, and this behaviour is still very much alive and accepted in the Islamic world today.
The Church propped up the Monarchy, and vice-versa. The Church controlled much of the legal process and barbaric practices such as 'trial by fire', trial by water', burning women at the stake, general nastiness and brutality that ensured that the Churches were full on a Sunday and that people were contributing to their coffers. In fact it was at one time a crime to to go to church. So frightening those who don't beliebve in to pretending they do believe is a pretty effective way to consolodate your market share.
At the heart of this 'product' is a book, a not very well written book - but that's OK because
believers hardly ever actually read the book. They just accept the sanitised versions of the good bits from their preachers.
But as King James knew, ever book needs a re-write.
So we should really ask ourselves why so many people blindly believe this book considering its checkered editorial past.
5. Target The Young
From a marketing perspective this is where the religions clean up.
The ARGUMENT from AUTHORITY. If you tell a baby that they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and then tie their life to religious festivals and customs, it takes a brake and inquiring mind to ask the real questions while still a child and come to the obvious conclusion.
When Islam is still so backward as to condone 'honour killings' for their own children as a consequence of their religion and Christianity can still persecute openly gays any normal person has to ask themselves how this can ne permitted to continue in the name of superstition.
Hopefully, religion, will as with all other marketing fads - cabbage patch dolls, rah-rah skirts, filofaxes, Tamagotchi, Sony Walkmans etc. will run its course and die out.
It is difficult to imagine why people will believe in the bible a book so full of errors that in any other publication it would be sent back for a re-write.
Why if the bible is the word of god it doesn't know the world is round or that the sun is the center of the universe. It mentions unicorns, but not kangeroos if god did create the earth would he not have known this.
Why is the bible full of unethical and immoral behaviour. Why would a righteous unbeliver be damned to hell, but a child molesting priest be welcomed in to heaven once he has repented his sin.
Why is there no practical wisdom on technological advances, medical advice or simple sanitation.
Why do miracles 'proving' god's existence consist of crying statues or 'visions', if somebody came back from a miracle vision with the cure for cancer I might take them seriously. Some people do claim to hear the word of god, but they are as likely to be serial killers as productive members of society, and there is yet to be an 'miracle' witnessed by an atheist.
So religion is simply a triumph of marketing. It is smoke and mirrors, empty rhetoric and run by people who are putting their own comfort and well being above those they should be helping. It is big business, and like all big business it stinks.