Saturday, 17 September 2011
The Daily Record: Why Feed the Hand that Bites You?
So what happened to Neil Lennon last season, not to mention over the past 10 years or so, is all just a big joke apparently. Merely banter to liven up an otherwise mundane rivalry between Celtic and Rangers. Hatred and bigotry is a just a bit of fun according to the Daily Record. Isn't it hilarious that Neil Lennon's family home has a panic button and 24 hour security because he lives 24/7 with the threat that someone will attempt to maim or murder him?
The message seems to be, we can't beat it, in fact we're not even remotely interested in trying, so we'll just revel in it and make it all a big laugh.
And we wonder why we've got problems with bigotry and hatred in this country?
It's all just banter and a great laugh, that is until Neil Lennon has the temerity to suggest a referee might have made a mistake by awarding a penalty for an "offence" that video evidence proves did not take place and was anatomically impossible for the referee to have seen. No, commenting on a refereeing mistake - note: commenting, not "blasting", "raging" or "ranting" as headline writers in Scotland are prone to cynically misrepresent as a matter of custom - is totally unacceptable conduct which directly imperils the lives of Scottish referees and should bring the harshest possible sanction upon the culprit. There is no room for humour or inneundo when it comes to defending the integrity of referees who's honest mistakes always favour Rangers.
The hypocrisy of the Scottish media, and their pandering to the bigoted sensibilities of their priority demographic - "Ra Peepul" - is so stark and obvious it's practically Python-esque.
Then we have the "none so blind as those who will not see" neutrals, who's impotent parrott response is "bad-as-each-other..bad-as-each-other..bad-each-other" to each new media slur, death threat, riot or physical attack on Neil Lennon. They cannot be shifted from this "bad as each other" dogmatic myopia, such that as evidence builds, "offences" committed on the Celtic side are inflated to fit their bizarre world view that bigotry and sectarianism in Scotland is subject to some unnatural law which keeps the distribution of such "offences" and attitudes at a perfect 50-50 ying-yang distribution on either side on pain of the universe collapsing in on itself and ceasing to exist if the truth were to be revealed; i.e. that Scotland's problem with "sectarianism" is nothing more than a symptom of the familiar nativist hostility to an immigrant ethnic group that is repeated many times across the globe.
In fact, with each new appalling example of anti-Irish/Catholic hatred, fans of other Scottish teams seem to expend far more energy scrambling around trying to offer up evidence that Celtic/Irish/Catholics are equals in the venom and frequency of such behaviours, as they do actually condemning the perpetrators of the actual events that just took place.
If there were unconditional condemnation of these acts from neutrals without the "buts" and the "What-aboutery" maybe Scotland would get somewhere with this issue.
Sadly, the customary reaction to such events in 2011 is to inflate the Celtic/Neil Lennon charge-sheet, therefore commenting fairly and honestly in calm and measured language becomes Neil Lennon "bringing this on himself" by "waging a one man war against referees"; penalties correctly awarded to Celtic are held up as "balancing out" glaring refereeing errors and laws designed to address religious sectarianism have to be amended to encompass political expression to make the evidence fit the pre-conceived "bad-as-each-other" conclusion.
By the way, for every quote you can show me of Neil Lennon being critical of a referee, I can show you three of the manager with nosurname doing the same, and in a manner which falls a long way short of the personification of dignity persona the Scottish media have built for him.
Call it my very own "for every fiver" quote.
In contrast it seems to be an editorial law in Scotland that each and every photo of Neil Lennon in a newspaper has to strengthen this snarling, madman persona they've cerated, no matter how mundane his actual comments in whatever story it is they are reporting, a-la the graphic below:
And how about this, just so we know where the Daily Record stands over last season's "shame game" - if a game where three of the four individuals responsible for said "shame" were admonished, leaving only one to carry a sanction for little more than raising his voice and pointing - can be considered a "shame" game:
With this latest effort pushing it's nadir down yet further than it's already snake shite base, the Daily Record is seen clearly inhabiting the same cesspit as the knuckle-draggers it seeks to ingratiate itself with. The article accompanying the "Who do we hate the most guys?" headline makes effective use of the old Neil Lennon angrily pointing the finger at Ally McCoist photo which it must've published only about the 500 times by now. Any old excuse to bring out their favourite photo to keep up the character assassination of the manager of Celtic FC.
Speaking of which, here is a choice quote from the article crayoned by the Rangers PR legend that is Keith Jackson.. "There is a part of this man which seems to thrive on chaos. At times it is almost as if he feeds on it. Well, tomorrow he'll have the chance to gorge himself senseless..." Is Jackson seriously trying to suggest that Neil Lennon greedily laps up viable explosive devices being sent to his family home, physical attack and vile abuse? It appears so. This is classic "he brings it on himself so just carry on boys" stuff.
Other choice headline words on the back page include "grudge" and " Rangers backlash". I'm sure the Daily Record will be suitably outraged and full of moral indignation if any violent behaviour should occur either on or off the park tomorrow.
I'm not actually sure that "journalists" like Keith Jackson, Darrell King, Leckie etc. are capable of actually comprehending the wider view and how their pathetic apologist and whataboutery articles appear to an objective onlooker. They are now so embedded in a pro-Rangers PR machine bubble that relies on verbatim Rangers press statements and spin for their copy, or risk ejection from the bubble that sustains them that they are incapable of conceiving a train of thought that is rooted in anything other than a Rangers point of view, i.e. the bias is systemic as well as personal.
I haven't bought the Daily Record since the 'THUGS AND THIEVES' headline in 2002 and even then I was a sparing consumer of the rag. I basically don't buy any newspapers now, they're full of BS propaganda and spin whatever the subject, designed to turn the public against whatever demographic the Establishment deem the target on any particular day e.g. public sector workers, immigrants, the unemployed etc etc, basically anything to keep the working and middle classes fighting with each other rather than the bosses and owners. Funnily enough though, I still manage to keep more than adequately up to date with anything that's actually newsworthy from online sources. Much more so than the average Daily Ranger or Sun reader I can assure you.
But unfortunately there are still Celtic fans who buy this particular rag. Make no mistake, the Daily Record is nothing other than an anti-working class Rangers fanzine.
But the sad thing is... as reprehensible as the Daily Record is, the bottom line is they're only pandering to what they've identified as the major target demographic in Scotland. Tabloid newspapers are notorious for merely reflecting the prejudices of society rather than trying to shape them positively. The Daily Record obviously has data to inform their marketing to tell them this sort of bigot-pandering stuff goes down well with readers and sell papers. Doesn't reflect very well on Scotland does it? However, when stating this in the hope of some honest introspection from fellow Scots who follow neither Celtic or Rangers, the response is invariably to shoot the messenger and begin the whataboutery "..bad as each other.. bad as each other... bad as each other...brings it on himself..should tone it down..sqwuak".
Back in July, I wrote a piece for inclusion in Paul Larkin's "Dougie, Dougie: Rants from the Front of the Bus". I include the closing paragraphs here as a summary of my attitude to the Scottish mainstream media's attitude to Celtic:
"But in reality, not only are they apologists for extremist bigots, the Scottish media fanned the flames of hatred towards our manager by following an editorial policy of demonising Neil Lennon to protect the interests of the Establishment club. They did this by ensuring every photo of Neil Lennon appearing in print was one of a snarling contorted face. They did this by labelling perfectly rational comments as “outbursts”, “blasts” and wild accusations of cheating and conspiracy where none were made. The only manager who used the word “conspiracy” last season was Peter Houston in the same game where Neil Lennon was lied to by a referee and then accused of being out of control. The only manager who accused the SFA of deliberately scheduling appeal hearings to ensure a player would remain suspended for an UsVThem game was Walter Smith.
Neil Lennon is by no means a saint but the media built up a grotesque straw man caricature to insane levels, simultaneously feeding the bigots and feeding off their bigot 35p or whatever the Record costs these days. Demographics in Scotland dictate that the Establishment club have to be pandered to at any price, even if that price means dicing with the life of a Celtic manager.
I started blogging about Celtic’s treatment at the hands of the media in 2002. I can’t remember a specific date but I haven’t bought a Daily Record since their legendary “Thugs and Thieves” slur in December of that year. The Sun was binned in 2004 after Bill “It’s great to have such a big Rangers man in the studio” Leckie’s poisonous diatribe against Martin O’Neill for having the temerity to wave to his own fans from the pitch at Mordor. The Evening Times has been persona-non-grata for a similar length of time. I gave up radio phone-ins shortly after reaching puberty.
So what have I been missing all these years?
To employ the words of the CQN legend that is Bournesouprecipe – unmitigated Hunguffery.
I’ve missed out on being told which superstars the Gers are going to sign and how Celtic’s star players are perpetually unsettled and on the brink of leaving the club.
I’ve missed Celtic players being wrongfully accused of thuggery and sexual infidelity and about “Old Firm” stars being accused of indecent assault.
I’ve missed reading about how each successive Celtic manager is even more “paranoid” and “stubborn” than his predecessor whilst those who perform the role at Mordor are the personification of dignity even as they complain about everything from refereeing appointments to fixture scheduling.
I’ve missed reading about how lucky Celtic have been to progress to the 2nd round of the Champions League twice on the back of favours from other teams and the glorious European triumphs of Glasgow Rangers, the 0-0 win over Barcelona and the stumble to Manchester.
I’ve missed reading about Celtic cheating their fans by failing to prise open the biscuit tin whilst Rangers refuse to be held to ransom by greedy unscrupulous provincial SPL clubs.
Name every kind of hunguffery you can imagine and I’ve missed it.
Boy is my life better for it.
Do I find out when Celtic sign a new player at the same time as everyone else? Yes
Do I find out when Celtic appoint a new manager at the same time as everyone else? Yep
Do I find out the Celtic results at the same time as everyone else? Sure
Do I find out when Rangers sign Ronaldo at the same time as everyone else? Yes I just look for the pig in the sky
I get all this but I don’t get all the hunguffery in between. I’d thoroughly recommend it to every Celtic fan. Celtic Quick News, Celtic Underground, Celtic Minded, Kerrydale Street, Celtic News Now and a plethora of contacts on Twitter, Facebook and across the Internet are more than sufficient to keep me abreast with real Celtic news, not Hun propaganda.
You wouldn’t pay money to read the Rangers News so why pay for it under another guise? Why feed the hand that bites you?
This is why books such as these and those written by Paul, the Lost Bhoys, myself and others are so important – we can’t let history be written by those who wish to bite us
Let’s support guys like Paul Larkin, Paul Brennan, Chris McGuigan and Eddie Pearson.
Let’s support ourselves. Let’s support the Celtic family.
Bin the rags and blank the hundits."