Friday, 3 February 2012

The farce that launched a thousand quips

Grim times for "JT, the man"©. His latest loss of the England captaincy has resulted in a sackful of traditionally crafted wooden jokes being emptied over the Internut. Most of them turn out to be the same painful and somewhat irrelevant take on Lady Bracknell: "To lose the England captaincy once may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose it twice looks like carelessness".

The remainder include a few heroic attempts to yoke the player (who looks like he was born to wear a stocking over his head - something about his physiognomy, not his criminal predilections) together with the de-knighted Fred Goodwin (who looks so tight-lipped you couldn't imagine him eating except through a straw). This post is one of them.

I suppose it is possible to see Terry as careless, but that seems to me to be merely a symptom of his enormous sense of entitlement. He does and says things that he thinks he will get away with, because in his mind he deserves to get away with them.

He is careless in the way that courtiers at Versailles in the reign of Louis XIV would apparently dump in stairwells and the less visited corridors due to the lack of toilets (a slight exaggeration, but based on a truth - I love the way the comment re "the smell" comes in the section straight after 'The politics of display').

Media reports regularly claim that he is admired by his peers across all clubs, however when non-Chelsea players talk about him the overriding sense one gets is one of discretion. Not dissing a fellow pro is not the same as admiring, let alone liking, him. The willingness of Rio Ferdinand and Emmanuel Frimpong to break cover this week shows that this "massive respect" was only courtesy.

Despite it being the less popular sarky remark, the parallel of the Chelsea captain with the former CEO of RBS strikes me as the more significant.

A sense of entitlement breeds contempt for the opinion of others and over-confidence in your own judgement. While both undoubtedly had talent, and worked ferociously to get themselves into a position to fully exploit it, they were also the recipients of great luck: being in the right place at the right time, vis-a-vis Abramovich/Mourinho and the banking boom. Ultimately, both were found wanting (ABN Amro and South Africa).

The news that both of them sought super-injunctions over alleged affairs rather adds to the sense that what they have in common is a massive ego. A super-injunction has come to be an admission of guilt in combination with a demand that this guilt not be broadcast.

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