“The ability to make judgments, to discriminate between good and bad, great and good, good and half good, is surely a primary object of all liberal education, and one’s appreciation of poetry is incomplete unless it includes discrimination” ~ Laurence Perrine
The quote, shown above, comes from a book, called Sound & Sense, that wishes to teach readers how to comment discernibly on poetry and evaluate whether it is good or not. Perrine tells his readers the key evaluation technique is in answering these three questions: what is the central purpose, the accomplishment of the purpose and how important is this purpose. It shows the importance of opinions in general that such a book could be created in which it details how best critique of a piece of work.
However, one particular group of people have a heightened sense of importance attached to their opinion. Sport journalists views are published and circulated on a wider scale so in essence do hold more weight than the layman simply due to volume of eyes seeing what they think but they have managed to associate this with the fact that theirs is better. Not just the journos, the personalities/pundits and the media as a whole has this particular penchant that is utterly infuriating at the best of times and just downright ghastly at the worst.
The etymology of ultracrepidarianism derives from the term ‘Ne ultra crepidam judicaret’, said by Greek painter Apelles, often translated to ‘the shoemaker not judge beyond his own soles’. The story comes from a shoemaker remarking that the sandals on one of Apelles’ paintings had one too many loops, which the painter duly corrected, then going on to criticise how the leg looks to which Apelles replied the aforementioned quote. Essentially, do not wade outside your expertise when offering opinions.
This can be subject to much debate as it is often the non-experts who dictate the popularity of things. Where Apelles’ quote holds much truth is when footballing journalists lauded their position as writer as some sort of bastion of football compared to the common fan. When in truth, the only significant difference between the two is the ability to construct arguments well and the platform. Truly, the columnists of the back pages are just football fans of Fleet Street and yet many seem to have a condescending view of fans as if they are stretching beyond themselves.
This in a time when footballing media, particularly in England, still continue to offer their opinion even when there is a stunning lack of knowledge to support it. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but not a misinformed one yet it still permeates the airwaves. The most recent example could be the clearest in Ray Wilkins’ astonishing statement that Victor Lindelof had done nothing in comparison to Michael Keane. The U-21 European Championship and 3 times Primeira Liga, 2 times Taca de Portugal and Taca de Liga winner had done nothing in comparison to a SkyBet Championship and FA Youth Cup winner. Not to mention the fact that the Swedish centre back had represented his country at the 2016 Euros and was included in the UEFA Champions League 2016 breakthrough team of the year. Still, he had done nothing because Wilkins had seen Keane perform in front of his own eyes week in and week out whereas Lindelof is just another pesky foreigner. The xenophobic undertones permitting, towards players and foreign fans, the much commonly used adage of those going to stadium knowing more about football than those that do not or cannot, commenting on something you have little to no knowledge of, going down the wrong and strong route is such a prevalence within the culture.
The idea of absolutism is prevalent in many topics like philosophy and theology but in political science, it relates to authoritarianism, controlling all the power in a country. As time has gone on, this has become something incredibly hard to do considering globalisation and the amount of information we can get from different streams just by researching on the internet. Newspaper circulation is not only down because of the internet, the power of the words have been mitigate too. A narrative will always be stronger in isolation rather than one amongst a multitude.
The thinking of wrong and strong harkens back to the idea mentioned earlier that associates the media’s ability to reach a wider audience with credence, when in reality the correlation is insignificant. My favourite journalist, Samuel Luckhurst, mentioned in my piece of black players’ treatment by the media in England, is a shining beacon of this. Think he has gone over the top with his criticism of Anthony Martial? You just like him because he promotes your favourite game, FIFA. Think the idea of James Rodriguez suiting up in the red of Man Utd would be a good idea? FIFA merchant. Believe Ander Herrera cannot perform the role of Michael Carrick despite playing in it last season? (If you think they performed in any way similarly, style particularly, when they were the deepest midfielder, you have something chronically wrong with you) FIFA MERCHANT! How dare you question someone who writes for publication?
At least some have the decency and intelligence to put forward their argument and admit to being proven wrong and it comes from those many consider the preeminent voice in football punditry, Gary Neville. The Mancunian is insightful and meticulous but he can be and has been wrong. Look at what he said about Mauricio Pochettino after he watched what he tried to implement into the Southampton team in 2012/13. He explained how the aggressive press that he wanted might turn out to be the bane of the Saints’ assault on survival. After this tactic worked remarkably in their favour when they beat Manchester City 3-1, culminating in them staying up and building on this to finish 8th the season after, Neville came out to say that he was wrong to say such a thing, an admirable trait not often seen in the business. Danny Higginbotham has on many occasions engaged in debates with fans on social media platforms without coming across as an arrogant oaf. Could teach some others how he does it
The undisputed members of the English Renaissance poetry canon include Edmund Spenser, John Donne, Sir Philip Sidney, Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlow and William Shakespeare. People have questioned if they should have this spot on literary prowess but their cultural importance has rebuffed any such claim to his. Despite this, by the end of the 20th century, literary critics were challenging for change to the established canon.
The old boys club predicated in the media, on TV and in the media, is something many fans have complained about for years and it stinks of holding onto the days when ex-players could not have their opinion challenged by anyone else cause they had played the game and others had not. The quotes in my article about different development of managers at the beginning explains the climate perfectly and thankfully, it has changed grossly. That is not to say that a space does not exist for ex-players or journalists. The anecdotal evidence and explanations retired professionals provide will always give a great sense of insight into how the football world ticks, although Tony Adams’ recent serial goes against this grain a fair bit. Journalistic skills are not rooted solely in your ability to provide erudite views on the game; they play a small part in fact. Sourcing good stories and asking inquisitive questions that best reveal what the managers, owners, players etc. in the game are what football journalists will always be able give to the world more than anyone else could.
The globalisation of football has grown exponentially and the money that has flooded into the game has overall made the sport improve at a rate close to the exponential. The media coverage has grown with it but the quality is still lagging behind in that respect. BT had even found something that the fans were engrossed in with the European Football Show but cancelled it without so much of an explanation. Journalists’ well-informed opinions about football across Europe was not deemed good enough to protect by the higher uppers in BT Sport and that unfortunately is extremely sad. It is not just confined to football. The Nike advert ‘Debate This’ hitting back at those who had constantly criticised Kevin Durant throughout his career details much of what I talk about within just 60 seconds. Fans are depicted too but what it does show is that their liking to going over the top and doubling down can leave you silent and red-faced. It happens all too often and it is what Perrine tried to limit by detailing the discernibility of quality in poetry. We could all learn from it, not least the media in football.