• Monday, 16 April 2012

    The banality of brilliance

    Despotic regimes the world over have displayed how evil can be utterly banal. Terry Gilliam's 1985 film Brazil describes that beautifully. A dystopian, authoritarian regime drowns it's subjects in bureauracy, the hoops to jump through and sheer misery of getting anything done grinds the populace down. The only escape is dreams. That desire for escape is seen through the eyes of Jonathan Pryce's Sam Lowry and (spoiler alert) ends with him humming the film's theme song while in a catatonic stupor.

    Last Wednesaday; Barcelona 4-0 Getafe. Lionel Messi bagged one - it was sublime, as ever - Alexis Sanchez got a couple, one set up by Messi. Pedro wrapped it up with a fourth. It was Barcelona. It was an outstanding performance, but it's not going to be reported as such. Instead, words like 'routine' will be used because this is routine for Barcelona and that's sad. Such sustained brilliance has become standard, banal, borderline boring.

    Life in the age of Guardiola's brilliant Barcelona hasn't quite been the dystopian nightmare imagined by Gilliam, but instead of having our collective spirit as football fans crushed by the weight of the bureaucratic machinations of state, we are instead assailed daily by ream after ream of eulogising copy from the fourth estate. It becomes harder and harder to bash out a piece on how good they've been because they do it so often. Pundits repeat themselves endlessly and flounder as they try to come up with another superlative to describe Messi's dancing feet, broad smile and another delicate chip to set or extend yet another record.

    It's not Barcelona's fault. This is the culmination of a plan long in the making and the ingredients are all there to keep this up for some time yet. It's not the fault of the press as they have a duty to write something, even when it feels like it's all been said before. It's not even the fault of every other football team out there as there are myriad ways of playing the game, none of which are more correct than any other for so long as the game remains a contest about which side can get the round bally thing into the back of the netty thing the most times. It's not evil, but it is a plan for world domination only without the hollowed-out volcano lair and the white cat on the lap. And it has become normal, staid, routine, run-of-the-mill and, yes, banal.

    And there we sit, glued to the TV, gently humming our own end credits to ourselves as we watch Barcelona eviscerate some hapless lamb thrown to the slaughter, slowly descending into a catatonic stupor.

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