Thursday, July 12, 2012

The John Terry trial and the infantilization of the UK

I can think of nothing more ridiculous than the present trial of John Terry. It reminds me of the trial of a student demonstrator -  at huge expense to taxpayers. The student was on trial for calling out an insulting remark to a mounted policeman. The student hurled at him  the accusation that he had sex with his horse, or some similar juvenile jeer, and the mounted policeman sued the student for hurt feelings. He wasn’t a two year old baby, for God’s sake, whose whole development was endangered by some nasty insult but a mounted policeman. People are losing their jobs, their homes because of the financial crisis, and this is what the country has money for?

As for John Terry and Anton Ferdinand. If John Terry had tripped Anton Ferdinand and Ferdinand had tripped and broken his foot, and Ferdinand would have been unable to play for six months or more, Terry would have got no worse punishment than a red card, and it oqwuld have been the end of the whole business. But left unhurt, this strong and tough grown man, an athlete, is not ashamed to testify in open Court that he is plunging the administration of justices into a needless expense of tens of thousands of pounds, not to mention the wastet on his own lawyers which must amount to about a hundred thousand. Football is becoming ever more brutal, players get away with more and more infractions of the rules. It would be better for the game, the skill of the players – and for the manners of football-mad hoodies - if the rules of the game were rigorously enforced instead of worrying about the players’ hurt feelings.

I date legal support to enshrine infantile sensitivity in grownup people to the time when Muslim organizations have been pressing for a new law making derisory remarks about anyone’s religion a criminal offence. Much of the argument for a new criminal offense was that religious people’s feelings would be hurt. The House of Lords Committee invited submissions on the issue. In my submission I quoted the rhyme that every child used to learn in school:

Sticks and stones
will break your bones
but words will never hurt you.

This was the drift of the majority of submissions and The House of Lords Committee advised against criminalizing the criticism and insults to believers. No legislation was ever passed, but greedy lawyers managed to create a new offense, bleeding the state, as well as their clients. Now people are convinced that it is their human right not to have their feelings hurt. No wonder we are in all sorts of trouble.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Why Andy Murray lost

I believe that Andy Murray didn't win Wimbledon because he doesn't seem to have been trained in the technique of breathing while playing. He has a magnificent spirit, skill, strength and great determination which justifies all the enthusiasm and admiration he inspires. But tennis players need the right breathing technique just as much as opera singers. I remember the great Italian baritone Titto Gobbi teaching a young singer in a Masterclass how to breathe while singing, telling him that the technique has to be so perfect that he can do it without thinking of it, just like normal breathing. You certainly have never noticed Tito Gobbi breathing. You didn't notice Roger Federer breathing either while he played, while Andy Murray kept grasping for air. Once he learns the technique of breathing during a match, he will be able to beat everybody. I also think that putting all a player's strength into his serves can be overdone. There is no advantage in wasting so much energy hitting the ball (half the time into the net)and then lose easy shots because the player is tired.