Wednesday, 26 November 2014

<insert generic outrage here>

Outrage is fashionable. Taking umbrage at something anything is almost a currency to show how much we care.

There have been a few more recent examples of unacceptable behaviour in my beloved spot of football, but I'm picking a slightly older incident from April 2014. To summarise - football player was given abuse during a match and his response? He "leaned behind him and pretended to insert something in his bottom".

That's it. Without lapsing to the "that's how it's always been", there is a fair amount of precedent of football fans going to a football match, chanting abuse to the opposition player and then ... brace yourself, the opposition player responding in kind.

Now, he's clearly not the brightest fellow to let himself be provoked - and I won't condone either his stupidity in response (and choice of response) or a crowd deliberately winding him up, but it was the reaction of the offended individuals in the crowd that piqued my interest.

One gentleman managed to be both "utterly disgusted" and "clearly shocked to see a football player perform a gesture like that on a field of play" and if interviewed further would probably have been "appalled" for how out of the ordinary this must be at a football game. I suspect the grim truth is more likely he took a wrong turn on the way to see Sussex Cricket Club in action, where anything above gentle applause is considered a riot, and ended up at the wrong venue.

It was interesting he didn't feel offended by the crowd chanting "you fat bastard" at the player in question.

The speed of emotional escalation in recent years is impressive. From a gradual greyscale of non-plussed through to pure fury, society is in the midst of removing the lower end markers. No longer is anyone perturbed, frustrated, confused or uncomfortable - it now starts midway through the original spectrum and travels quicker to the upper end.

It may be a sign I'm inured to some of the unpleasant events that now occur on a regular basis in the world, but are any of us so naive to feel these are shocking, upsetting moments? A grown man pretending to insert something in his bum by way of response to a crowd baiting him, is something I feel comfortable saying isn't shocking. Stupid? Most certainly.

Can we bring a little moderation to how annoyed, shocked and upset we are about these things?

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