Those bloody proles just don’t get wokery, do they?
Twice the England team played its warm-up matches in Middlesbrough. Twice the players took the knee before the whistle. Twice they were booed.
That slap in the face of the woking classes caused much ire in the press. Words like “idiots”, “morons”, “stupid”, “louts” were sprinkled liberally all over the match reports – and that’s just in the ‘conservative’ papers.
The FA and its apparatchik employee, England manager Gareth Southgate, were aghast. Those fans just don’t understand the deep meaning of that gesture, they rued. They think it’s political, whereas in fact it’s anything but.
Having thus explained what the genuflection wasn’t, the FA bigwigs were reticent in elucidating what it was. I get it, not political. What then? Aesthetic? Charitable? Socioeconomic?
TV commentators confuse the issue further. This is a gesture of protest against social and economic injustice, explained one. Social injustice, said another on a different occasion, never mind the economic part. Racial injustice, added a third. Somehow gender injustice never got a mention, which left me feeling short-changed.
Let’s backtrack to the origin of the gesture, shall we? A year ago, George Floyd, a recidivist criminal high on drugs was caught in Minneapolis trying to pass a counterfeit banknote. The police arrived, and Floyd put up a fight resisting arrest.
When he was subdued, an overzealous cop pinned him down with a knee on Floyd’s neck, accidentally killing him. No great loss to mankind, one would think, but the subsequent trial found the cop, Derek Chauvin, guilty.
He is facing a long stint in prison, which is likely to be cut short. Policemen guilty of killing black criminals don’t enjoy a high life expectancy in American prisons, especially when their crime has been widely publicised.
Once the news of the incident broke, the radical Marxist organisation Black Lives Matter sprang into action. Riots spread all over the US, with white people attacked, cars set on fire, shops looted, restaurants trashed. As its symbol, BLM adopted the genuflecting pose, thereby expressing symbolic solidarity with Floyd (who once held a gun to the belly of a pregnant black hostage).
BLM thugs would approach white people in the street, demanding they “take the knee”. Those who refused would be assaulted, at best verbally, at worst physically. How anybody could have thought that Chauvin would get a fair trial under the circumstances is beyond me. An acquittal would have set the whole country on fire.
While the attendant thuggery achieved only a limited popularity, the genuflecting gesture got internationally adopted in all the usual quarters. Those residing there see the entire history of the West as an uninterrupted string of crimes against non-white races, and hardly anything else but that.
Or alternatively they can see history as a crime against ‘our planet’. Or against women. Or against workers. Or against… doesn’t matter what it’s against. What matters is that it’s a crime, and only destroying this awful civilisation can secure a restitution.
These rebels in search of a cause always lurk in the shadows, waiting for two things. First, a pretext for the mob to go on the rampage. Second, encouragement that can only come from an osmotic feeling that the woke establishment is on their side.
Floyd provided the former; the ‘liberal’ media around the world, the latter. The actual, rather trivial, incident has since been blown up into some sort of existential conflict, a clash of civilisations, having little to do with the face value of Floyd’s demise.
To reach that stage, the woking classes had to go through several implicit extrapolations, each more asinine and false than the other.
First, what happened to Floyd wasn’t an isolated event but yet another link in the millennia-long chain of injustice. Second, since the black population of US prisons is three times their proportion in the overall population, this can only be a result of systematic discrimination – and if you dare to suggest any other reason, you are a fascist, racist, white supremacist and generally a bad egg. Third, what happens in the rest of the West is a mirror image of the situation in the US.
I suppose it takes an advanced degree from a top university to come up with such bilge. But woke idiocies aren’t supposed to stand up to scrutiny. They are supposed to activate the reflexes of the share-care-be-aware crowd, providing a welcome relief from their daily toil of saving the planet. And in this case they succeeded yet again.
Suddenly, Britons living 4,000 miles from the scene of the incident are certain they are directly affected. It’s as if it was their own air ducts, not just Floyd’s, that got constricted by Chauvin’s knee. And it’s the bloody Tory establishment what done it, runs the ubiquitous, if unspoken, refrain. It’s Jacob Rees-Mogg who is to blame, if only vicariously.
And who better to feel this collective psychosomatic pain than our oppressed footballers desperate to eke out a living on £250,000 a week. It’s they who are ordered to take the knee before every match, expressing their solidarity with recidivist criminals.
Quite apart from anything else, this strikes me as illogical. Why just the ball-kickers? Why not actors and musicians before performances? Why not everybody on entry into a public space? Don’t Catholics genuflect when entering a church? Of course they do. There you go then.
The trouble is that most football fans haven’t got advanced degrees from top universities. Football, once described as working-class ballet, attracts a crowd short on academic credentials but long on common sense.
Some of them, a minority, are out-and-out louts ready to kill anybody wearing an offensive strip. But most are like those working-class Hartlepool voters who refused to vote Labour because they sensed it no longer has anything to do with labourers and everything to do with toffs out of touch.
The woke crowd has a lot to thank Covid for. Until a couple of weeks ago, the lockdown had kept the fans out of stadiums, and the FA could order the footballers to indulge in that obscene rite without any fear of backlash.
The situation has changed, and a few thousand fans are now allowed to attend. Hence they can flip their collective two fingers (or, under the corrupting influence of American movies, one) at the woking classes. Booing is their way to do just that, and it’s not the expression of innate racism the wokers claim it is.
Much has been made of England’s home advantage in the upcoming European Championship – many of its matches will indeed be played in English stadiums. However, if every match starts with a thunderous booing, I wonder how much of an advantage it’ll turn out to be.
Common folk are rather reticent in England, and it takes quite a bit to elicit a violent reaction from them. They aren’t French, you know. But once properly enraged, they can ride roughshod over alien sensibilities.
The woke crowd has made a stylistic error by enforcing woke rituals in a decidedly non-woke environment. Hope they’ll live to regret it.