Saturday, January 13, 2007

Adios, D.B. (and V.)

The news that George Dubya Bush was shipping 20,000 American troops to Iraq was rather overshadowed in the press by the more exciting news that Real Madrid were shipping one, a Mr. Beckham, from their sunny shores to the equally sunny shores of Los Angeles (equally sunny when it can break through the murk, that is).

It seems to be something of a quid pro quo between the Old World and the New since Mr. Beckham will be getting much the same sort of remuneration as the 20,000 American soldiers. I am pretty well inured to the obscene amounts of cash earned by professional game players but I will never understand it, when there are so many more deserving professionals, such as ghost writers, for instance, whose talents go unappreciated.

Soccer must have taken a bit of an upturn since I lived in the United States when it was virtually unnoticeable. George Best had a brief flurry there with a team in Ft. Lauderdale, I think, but in general it does not appear to appeal to the American male psyche. Equally, it does not appeal to the television stations. As you know, television there consists of a series of commercials interspersed with occasional bits of programmes, a feature which the originators American football in the 1890’s were prescient enough to spot. Hence they created a game ideally suited to the medium, a game consisting mainly of stoppages interspersed with occasional bits of play. Television and American football were a marriage made in commercial Heaven.

Not so with soccer. One of the first attempts to televise the game led to a fiasco when the station cut away for a commercial and missed the only goal that was scored in the entire match. And soccer doesn’t require the players to dress like action men on steroids, a feature which seems attractive to young Americans.

But viewing Mr. Beckham’s salary, there must be a growing popularity for the game nowadays.

Equally newsworthy is the fact that Mrs. Beckham will be also exported, no doubt much to the delight of the storekeepers in L.A. who can now expect an upturn in their profits. Less explicable is the news that Hugh Hefner, he of former Playboy fame, has offered her a job modelling for his magazine. Clearly, senility is taking its toll, despite having two nubile beauties as live-in companions and a lifetime supply of Viagra, for it is reasonable to say that Mrs. Beckham’s beauty is about on a par with her singing talents, a correspondent in an English newspaper comparing her figure unfavourably with that of an ironing board.

Once the excitement generated by this epoch making double event has died down, we may hear a bit more about the 20,000 American troops, whose lives are marginally in more danger than Mr. and Mrs. Beckham’s in L.A.


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