This is the first of a series of posts questioning the assumptions that underpin this piece, which I wrote last season, venerating the alternative credentials of the ‘Blog-scene’, credentials in which I, in truth, no longer really believe.
This is a Wordle. Wordle is a tool which allows researchers to quantify qualitative research. They input responses in their entirety and the fluff (apart from culturally rather than grammatically ubiquitous fluff, like the word ‘like’) gets shaved off, leaving you with the good stuff. The largest words are, as you might imagine, the most commonly used and therefore offer an insight into the priorities of the respondant or respondents.
This is, specifically, a Wordle built from every piece that I have ever posted on Good Feet for a Big Man.
To it, we can apply our own filter and get rid of words like football – appropriately, if uninterestingly the largest and therefore most frequently occurring word – and my own name, which appears automatically in every single one of my posts whether I want it there or not (I do).
What we are left with is, an idiosyncratic and disproportionately high number of Orwell references aside, actually pretty bland.
The only team names to appear are those of Arsenal, the Manchesters (or Mans) United and City (with the former more prevalent), Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Barcelona and Real Madrid: in other words England’s top 6 and Spain’s top 2.
The only players present are Rooney, Cole, Cesc and Fabregas (and the last two are, even though one scores all the time for Barcelona and the other was injured all the time for Arsenal, apparently, the same player).
The only leagues mentioned are ‘Premier’ and ‘Champions’.
All of which (excepting my atypical preference for Scotland or Scottish-ness over England and England and England-ness) goes to show that I am profoundly un-‘alternative’.
My interests are, in fact, as mainstream as those of Sky – whose scheduling priorities they seem to represent and whose name even appears more frequently than the word Twitter, which suggests that I publicise them even more frequently than I do myself.
I am not disappointed by this, nor even surprised. In fact, it’s entirely expected. Football’s interests in this country have become so tightly entwined with those of Sky that the two are now inseparable. Football has become an essential part of what the Frankfurt Scholars Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer (whose names are admittedly unlikely to appear on a Soccer AM Wordle) called the Culture Industry, of which they wrote, in their famous essay ‘Enlightenment as Mass Deception’, that:
Every detail is so firmly marked with sameness that nothing can appear which is not marked at birth.
Sky’s mark is, literally (see above), all over my work, because it’s all over football.
I’m not going to change, if Adorno and Horkheimer are to be believed I couldn’t even if I wanted to – but I am going to use the word actually less (actually, if I’m honest I probably won’t).
There will be more of this in the coming weeks. In the meantime follow @calumcm and @gdfeetforabigman on Twitter, and check back during the week for something from Graham and to find out how David got on in the first round of the Scottish Cup.