Oh yes, most good:
The shocking preponderance of Blondes in key decision-making positions at half back and centre should leave an impartial observer in no doubt as to the fascist nature of team selection process. In a shocking echo of Philip Toynbee\’s observation, Mere dark-haired men of potentially un-aryan extraction are left to do the donkey-work in the tight five, leaving blonde-haired, blue-eyed men to garner the glory in key half-back and central positions. Indeed it is noticable they rarely pass the ball to the back 3 (two thirds BoEM) who are used as tackle fodder in defence. This is a shocking and unacceptable echo of the atrocities of the Third Reich, which used gypsies and Jews and other dark haired people as slave labour to further racially exclusive goals.
People say it’s a class matter; for historical reasons there is something essentially middle class and respectable about rugby, about the players and about the fans. There’s an odd contradiction about the way the more violent game can produce the less violent supporters and vice versa.
It lies in the old distinction (for those bright people, economists, at least it is old) between complements and substitutes. Does watching a violent game (for rugby is indeed that) incite you to further violence, or does it satisfy that savage beast, replace the desire for violence by assuaging the appetite?
With sport it\’s not all that important a distinction (for it may inded be just that the middle classes don\’t want to get blood on their Barbours) but in other areas of life it is indeed an extremely important one. For example, think of the upcoming plans to ban "violent" pornography. Is such a complement? Does viewing it make people more likely to go and commit violent sexual crimes? That\’s the argument used in favour of the banning, certainly. But what if the opposite is true? That it is in fact a substitute? That viewing such material replaces the desire to physically act out the fantasies?
Then a ban might actually lead to an increase in the violent sexual crimes: that\’s, of course, the very thing we\’re trying to avoid. We don\’t actually care what people do in a darkened room in front of a flickering screen. But we do care very much when they take such dark thoughts to the streets and to others.
That distinction is highly important and unfortunately, on the pornography front, it looks like it is in fact a substitute, not a complement. Thus banning it will lead to more crime, not less.
More than 200 Soweto Rugby Club members, their friends and other fans gathered to watch the match in a stadium in the South African township. The game was shown projected onto a sheet draped over a fence, two South African flags propped up on either side.
Gorgeous that the Afrikaner game of rugby has reached Soweto, a nation being created, sad, well, you guess.
I, er, think not.
Jonny Wilkinson is on course to be voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year and receive a knighthood for his World Cup heroics, bookmakers predicted last night.
There\’s still, rightly or wrongly, a certain class based assumption behind such awards. Brain Ashton might get a KBE if they win but not a player. As Wilkinson is already an OBE he might, might, get upgraded to a CBE but the K before his retirement? I think not.
I agree, obviously, that all of creation should celebrate this, that plants should spurt with growth, that the very heavens should reflect that God is indeed there and that all is right with his creation.
Might I ask a small favour though? (And I do not believe that I am the only one who will be doing so this morning….)
Could we just change the volume and pitch controls on that very creation?
The sun is that tad too bright and the birdsong just a little too loud this morning. Yes, yes, Hosannas are all very well, justified, but can they not be sung quietly?
THE simple fact is the Wallabies are a better rugby team than England…..
In the space of a few short weeks, England has gone from swaggering to staggering and now, with its last roll of the dice, the best it can come up with to defeat Australia is to pick a pack of bully boys and an endearingly earnest five-eighth who doesn\’t kick heads but goals instead…..
That\’s how it is shaping again tonight, although one senses a historic adjustment in the Wallabies\’ methods. Where in the past they were obliged to use hit-and-run tactics, tonight, boasting a scrum that even rival flanker Lewis Moody concedes may be the strongest Australia has assembled, they will engage England head-on. …..
That\’s not to say that\’s all they will do. There is considerably more to this Australian side than muscle. But the belief within the camp is that beyond the bully boys and Wilkinson, England doesn\’t have much at all…..
Hence, the quickest and most effective way of defeating England is to confront its two great strengths and nullify them.
Sounds simple. And if the Wallabies are anywhere near to achieving their often-stated aim of having the best pack in world rugby, they could indeed do the business tonight with considerable audacity and some alacrity……
Australia 10 England 12
Now that wasn\’t expected to happen now, was it?
In fact, if Australia could produce a brace of international props, it wouldn\’t have.
Still well done lads, France or New Zealand next.
An oldie but a goodie:
Playing against Australia, [Zimbabwean Eddo] Brandes was being sledged by Glenn McGrath, who yelled, "why are you so fat?"
"Because," he replied calmly, "every time I shag your wife, she gives me a biscuit."
Although John has obviously been at the disco biscuits again:
But I\’d like whichever it is to go on and win the cup and, for some bizarre reason (totally against the form), I fancy England have the better chance of that.
England Australia: Oz to win I think?
Scotland Argentina. The Pumas.
France New Zealand: the Kiwis.
Fiji South Africa: the Boks.
Unless England do something remarkable (or Chris Patterson dials in a direct line from God) then it\’s going to be all Southern Hemisphere semis. Might not be what we want but it probably does reflect the relative strengths, don\’t you think?