Big John's weekly view
15:19, 07 Jul 2012
It’s been a momentous week for science, the universe and FIFA. Scientists are 99.999 percent certain that they know where the Higgs boson particle is. It’s just that they can’t really find it. And it does kind of remind you of the episode of the Simpsons when Homer was desperate for cash, wiped out three different symbols on a losing scratch card and reacted thus: “Doh... I mean woo-hoo!” It was slightly misleading to read that the Higgs boson was captured. There’s enough strange transfer rumours about certain players being captured but, in fairness, Steve Kean is substantiating most of them.
It’s always funny when people take something monumentally important or take an incredibly complex concept or theory and reduce it to within the limits of their own comprehension. We were once in a conversation with a scientist-type who was explaining how the internet is transferred across the Atlantic through a series of cables. The dialogue somehow turned to the fact that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light when someone in the group said: “The speed of light? You should try catching a newborn calf first thing in the morning.”
The real genius behind the whole Cern thing may have been the scientists’ ability to convince people to spend money on all of this. It seems they knew it existed because it has to, otherwise we’d all be flying around at the speed of light. So, they went looking for it to prove its existence even though they knew it had to exist and then they announced that they had kind of discovered it. Except they haven’t. But it was a here a moment ago.
It has to be no coincidence that FIFA made the decision to introduce goal-line technology around the same time that the boson was/wasn’t discovered and at the same time that Uefa admitted lying to all of us. There are those pseudo-psychology types fond of saying pompously that they don’t believe in reality but, for the rest of us, reality is really all we have to go on. And by eventually relenting in the whole debate (and going against the wishes of Michele Platini, who is fast becoming the real enemy of football. If this seems harsh then recall his suggestion for how future European Championships should be run and consider what hosting the championships meant to Poland. Not so much Ukraine), FIFA have altered our own reality in retrospect. How different might England’s future have been had Frank Lampard’s goal been allowed? Actually, probably not that much but we always feel sorry for Pedro Mendes any time we see him.
Uefa are beginning to seriously take the piss and must think we need help to “get” the emotion of football. The scientist Carl Sagan once said: “We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.” This is very important when considering the implications of leading us to believe a German fan was crying after Mario Balotelli’s second goal against her side. The technology required to do this is a relatively recent development in the context of how long organised football has been around. Imagine what they’ll try next if they think a tournament needs sprucing up a bit.
Arguably worse were Uefa’s frankly preposterous attempts to, for reasons best known to themselves, portray Joachim Loew as some kind of goofy uncle-type who never really grew up. Given, he doesn’t help himself with that haircut, but we all know the type: the one who ruffles your hair a bit too roughly and has that semi-sadistic urge to punch a football out your hands as he struggles to deal with the gloomy fog of middle age descending upon him in the face of the endless possibilities of youth. This may have been more damaging to Loew’s reputation than sacrificing the system that was working so well in order to bulk up his central midfield by playing Toni Kroos against Italy.
But everything’s moving so fast. This article was started around the time of the announcement that the Higgs boson particle wasn’t found but by the fourth paragraph there had been so many jokes about it on Twitter it felt as if we were not just arriving at the stables after the horse had bolted but getting there to hear people telling stories about the horse and reminiscing about the time it had bolted.
This generation, the YouTube/Facebook/Twitter one, is apparently the first not to protest much against anything. And it’s true because most of the time we choose to do our protesting or arguing online. Ironically, at a time when one football body caught up with the future and eventually decided to do what they should have done a long time ago, another one was using the past to trick us in the present. It’s just a pity that the more discoveries the human race makes, the less we know about what’s really going on.
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