Posts Tagged asshattery

With a Capital K – updated

Sidhartha Mallya, royal high commander of Royal Challengers Bangalore, is a singular individual. Heir to a brewery fortune, apparently beneficiary of a fine overseas education, he would seem the epitome of upwardly mobile nouveau Indian youth, exuding an air of success and self-confidence every time he steps out onto the RCB balcony for maximum camera time to support his boys.

He maintains a connection with the unwashed masses through, of course, Twitter, where he Tweets as @sidharthamallya, ‘Business Boy’, looking out at the Twitterverse with an off-camera-directed smirk over the collar of, naturally, a business suit. Through this platform he expresses loyal support for his team, praising, cheerleading, and, where necessary, defending, as is his right and responsibility. It doesn’t make for particularly scintillating discourse, but that, of course, is beside the point.

Last night, the news broke that RCB batsman Luke Pomersbach had been involved in an altercation with a couple at his hotel, and was the focus of an investigation after the woman involved accused him of assault. Very few facts were disclosed, which hardly mattered because there were plenty of rumours and speculation to fill that particular void. I’m no PR expert, but I would still assume that, with one of their players facing a charge of assault, even an as-yet-unproven one, RCB would issue a brief statement, reassuring their fans that the matter was being looked into and that any offense committed by one of their players would result in decisive and appropriate consequences for that player. It’s a fairly obvious reaction. You don’t want to commit one way or another because nothing’s been proven yet, but you certainly don’t want to publicly condone assault, especially on a woman. Especially given the horrific global and local figures showing the prevalence of violence towards women, and the absolute necessity for public figures like sportsmen to display their fervent opposition towards such violence. Of course, there have been cases of spurious accusations by women of rape or assault where the accused men have actually been innocent, but those cases are so incredibly few in comparison to the millions of cases of actual terrible assault, where the perpetrators have been allowed to walk free, or even where the women themselves have been blamed for having brought their own assault upon themselves, that surely, surely a statement from a prominent figure in the RCB wouldn’t be an assumption that the Pomersbach case was a spurious allegation? Surely a prominent RCB figurehead would not misogynistically and crudely proclaim, in the early stages of investigation into the incident, that the woman was a whore and a liar? Surely he would not use the ‘oh, and also she was totally hot for me and that’s how I know she’s a lying slut’ line? Surely not?

Let’s throw it to Sidhartha, shall we?

Yeah. In the interests of full disclosure, ol’ Sid then went on to clarify his statement by explaining how ‘everyone wants their 15 minuets [sic]’  (I can only assume he means ‘minutes’ since I can think of very few people with a burning desire to dance an old-school French ballroom dance exactly 15 times) which, of course, he knows all about. He then finished up by plaintively wondering why everyone couldn’t just focus on the cricket instead. Because seriously, when Chris Gayle scores 128 off just 62, who the hell cares if some lady might have been beaten up by a professional sportsman, amirite?

You know, Sidhartha, I have to give it to you. In a world where we are slowly, painfully, struggling to recognize and rectify things that have been swept under the carpet for centuries, like the frequent denigration and systematic oppression of the female gender, you dare to stand alone with views that were good enough for the 18th century so, dammit, they’re good enough now! Where others strive to bring to light the horrible truth that the vast majority of women are routinely exposed to horrific bodily violence, many unable to even tell anyone what they’re going through, many with no recourse for justice because of the established mindset that women must accept and indeed deserve whatever treatment men see fit to give them, many accused of being whores and bringing their pain upon themselves (the men who beat and rape them being, of course, blameless), you staunchly live in a world where the first assumption on hearing a woman accuse a man of assault is that she’s a lying slut who by the way wanted your body too, you stud you! You’re quite something. And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that you’re exactly the touch of class RCB needs in their wheelhouse. Classy with a capital K. That’s you.

UPDATE:

RCB player Dirk Nannes tweeted about how happy he was to see Mallya “coming out in support of his players.” This made me sad, because I like Dirk Nannes, and because what Mallya did wasn’t “coming out in support,” or defense. A defense would have been, “I’m positive the allegations against Luke are untrue and that he is innocent. We believe that the accusers are not being at all truthful.”

Exactly how is it a defense to bring in the woman’s sexuality? How is that relevant at all to her accusations? What Mallya has said is this, ‘The woman said Luke hit her fiance. She’s a whore who was all over me and not acting like a wife-to be.’ Nothing other than that to indicate that the accusation was false. That was the entire explanation. She’s an unwifely whore, so clearly she’s lying. Would Mallya have used similar rhetoric if it was the male friend making the accusation? Would he have said, the guy was coming on to every woman in the room, he’s clearly a liar? No, of course not, because to the Mallyas of the world, it’s only OK to judge and condemn women with the label of promiscuity. Not only that, but it’s the only condemnation necessary! No need to actually address the actual allegations, whether Pomersbach actually did what he was accused of doing. Nothing about Pomersbach at all actually.

For the record, Pomersbach may well be innocent. I believe it’s entirely possible that the allegations against him were completely fabricated. It doesn’t matter, this isn’t about him.

It wasn’t Luke Pomersbach’s actions, innocence or guilt that Mallya was talking about, which would be necessary if he were, in fact, “supporting his player,” Dirk. For Mallya, it was enough to condemn the woman with the oldest, ugliest way possible. Brand her a whore. What other evidence could anyone need?!

That’s misogyny for you, folks, ingrained and ugly and, of course, completely unquestioned.

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Unwanted Associations

February 18, 2o11: The ICC, in their infinite wisdom and ever-mindful of their weighty responsibility to promote and shepherd the growth and development of the beautiful game worldwide, announce the reduction of teams participating at the World Cup from 14 to 10, effective from 2015. The tournament is too bloated, everyone says, so we’re only giving the people what they want. It’s not entertaining to watch the inevitable, interminable, first rounds of heavyweights annihilating the minnows. You know, if they want to play in the ODI World Cup they should just play better! There’s nothing to stop them, certainly nothing like a lack of money and cricketing infrastructure, or a shortage of match experience because they aren’t pencilled into the international calendar anywhere.

But, to show that we care, we’ll let them go to the World T20 tournament. Tests are the purest form of the game, so obviously these young aspiring teams cannot be allowed to play it! They’re young sides, just starting out, who need to develop their cricket, and what better way then by effectively restricting them to no cricket except the dumbest, hollowest, most technique-bereft format of the game?

February  22, 2011: England, holders of the Ashes, narrowly avoid a loss to the Netherlands, securing victory with 8 balls to spare.

March 02, 2011: Ireland, having given Bangladesh a brave fight days earlier, chase down England’s score of 327 in their final over, spurred on by the fastest century in World Cup history, scored off 50 balls by Kevin O’Brien.

Of course the Associates do not belong at the top level. They clearly are incapable of matching the levels of skill and discipline displayed by the top-level sides. Why, an Ireland or a Netherlands could only dream of being able to field like Pakistan, or bowl like England. They certainly cannot produce compelling cricket or close-fought matches. And, of course, their inability to match the big boys is entirely their own fault – it’s certainly nothing to do with a lack of support from the ICC, or from not having the chance to play competitive cricket on a regular basis, or from not playing higher-level teams, ever, except at the World Cup. Obviously. Their stagnation is entirely of their own making, and heaven forbid they continue to besmirch the gloss of the Ultimate Cricket Contest with their presence.

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Waiting on the gentlemen

I’m a fan of bowlers. Spinners especially. In the batsman-dominated and batsman-friendly modern game, I’m usually one of those people that seethes over flat decks and run-glut games and gets disproportionately excited when a spinner notches up some great figures. Good economy rates racked up by slow bowlers make me extremely happy, which is something I’m almost certain I can’t say about most other women I know. I do have a healthy admiration for quality fast and seam bowling – I could watch Shane Bond all day every day if it weren’t for the fact that it would kill him very quickly, and he, Chris Martin and Iain O’Brien were three of the main reasons I became a Kiwi fan – but spin is the ultimate fascination.

I also quite like Graeme Swann. He’s an excellent bowler, he’s refreshingly witty and straight-spoken unlike a lot of his anodyne contemporaries, and he’s usually an amusing Tweeter. Got to love a man who can make you laugh and bowls smart finger-spin.  (Daniel Vettori bowls extremely smart finger spin, and is far foxier than Graeme Swann to boot, but isn’t nearly as funny. Except when he makes unwise choices regarding his hair, but that doesn’t really count. Oh well.)

Earlier today, Graeme Swann, bowler of offspin, became the first Englishman in over 50 years to take a 10-wicket haul in a Test match, and the first to ever do so in the subcontinent. It’s a tremendous achievement, and one that he fully deserves – his talent and performance for England over the past little while leaves no doubt about that. But Swann – so affable, so popular – managed to tarnish his own achievement at the eighth wicket, when he finally got rid of Junaid Siddique to end the staunch rearguard resistance Siddique and Mushfiqur Rahim had mounted for close to 70 overs.

Yeah, he gave him a send-off. Complete with bellowed ‘Fuck off!’ and fist-pumping. Real classy, Graeme.

Let’s review a few things, shall we? First, you’re 31, Junaid is 22. HE’S A CHILD. He also plays for Bangladesh, the team you might remember as the one that always almost makes it but doesn’t quite, except for that one time against Australia that I still think about when my mood is scraping the floor and I need cheering up. Also, it’s not Junaid’s fault that you have an uninspiring and ludicrously overcautious captain, or that you and your fellow bowlers couldn’t get him or the other plucky kid battling to save a Test for his country, Mushfiqur Rahim, out earlier. The whole thing seemed to represent England’s general mood, which was sheer disbelief and something almost like righteous indignation that Bangladesh were proving so hard to dislodge, very much, “Oi! I know WE’RE crap, but you’re supposed to be MORE crap! What the fuck d’you think you’re doing, screwing with the script?!” Sorry, boys, that’s not how it bloody well works.

All these factors aside, Junaid played brilliantly, as did Mushfiqur, and they deserved to be shown some respect. England have been guilty of this several times on this tour, starting off with Paul Collingwood’s dickish crack about wooden golf clubs, and elsewhere today when Stuart Broad, having got Abdur Razzak out lbw, didn’t bother to make anything remotely approximating an appeal, not even turning around to so much as look at the umpire for confirmation. I’ve heard comments defending Swann by stating that his gesture was actually a backhanded compliment to Junaid, showing how important his wicket was, and Broad by calling his move merely overconfident, and those comments aren’t without merit, but what it looked like was disrespectful, juvenile and arrogant, particularly in light of the fact that England’s performance has actually been fairly flat for much of this Test.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating: there seems to be an epidemic of this kind of shitty classlessness infecting international cricket, and God how I hate it. New Zealand v Australia has already given us a massive dose, and the stage seems to be set for more of the same with Michael Clarke’s return for the Tests after his personal problems with his now ex-fiancée. Chris Martin proved once more why I adore him so by stating earlier today that in his opinion, the crowds will run wild with this, but the New Zealand players shouldn’t. They won the ICC Spirit of Cricket award last year, and this is a golden opportunity for them to prove that it’s not just BS, and that it is still possible to play hard and be uncompromising while still being gentlemen by not bringing up a man’s private heartache in an attempt to fuck with his head on the field.

Please, New Zealand, as a fan, I’m asking you nicely: don’t do it. Please. It’s not worth it. To Daniel Vettori: I get the feeling that you overlook Tim Southee’s tendency to be a douche (he certainly was against Bangladesh) because he is a young, spirited and talented player, but you’ve got to impress on him how important this is.  Because it really, really is.

I’ll be watching, and hoping. Please don’t fuck this up, New Zealand.

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OH MY GOD SHUT UP

Oh God, Lalit Modi, you seriously need to shut up.

If you don’t care about all the mean things people have been saying about you and your baby – no, really! Not at all! Look at you so supremely unconcerned! Not caring lalalalalalala-can’t-heeeear-you! – why the hell can’t you stop tweeting about it? And this:

Been told Ricky Ponting pressuring players not to come. Maybe its due to the fact he was dropped from KKR.

Really? Really, Lalit? You’re going to go that route? Is it really possible that you don’t understand what an immature jackass that makes you sound like (for those who weren’t convinced of that already?) The last time that sort of comment was considered a mighty riposte was when I was in bloody kindergarten.

But when you really made me mad was when you broke out this little gem:

If you did not know I work best under stress. So donnt fool yourself. We are proud to be indian and not afraid to show it [sic]

Oh HELL NO. This has absolutely nothing to do with ‘being Indian,’ you avaricious, unmitigated ass. Don’t you dare mask your twisted dealings with the façade of patriotism or nationalism. Don’t you dare.

Ugh. It takes a special kind of awfulness to make people who would otherwise agree with the point you’re making, like Samir and myself, almost not want to admit that because that would mean we actually had something in common with you. Welcome to you, Lalit Modi. You are that special kind of awful.

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Oooh. Burn.

It won’t be easy to find a golf course in Bangladesh; if there is one, they’ll probably have wooden clubs.

Wow, Paul Collingwood. I didn’t know it was even possible to offend golfers, carpenters, and the people of an entire nation in one brief sentence, but the ease and verbal dexterity with which you’ve just accomplished that takes my breath away.

I thought I had reached the apex of disliking you (since you’ve thus far been nice enough, by and large) when you screwed over my beloved Grant Elliott at the Oval back in ’08, but you had other ideas, didn’t you! Who would have thought you’d be so full of such unfortunate surprises?

Edit: Purna has more on why this was such a dick move, including a link to a great post by Nestaquin of 99.94 which additionally proves that Collingwood wasn’t just being a massive prick, he was also being an incredibly ignorant massive prick. It’s all the more bizarre because, as Purna points out, as a cricketer the man is rather admirable, and as I mentioned earlier, hasn’t done or said a whole lot else over the years that’s been particularly hateful.

Seriously though, the more I think about this the angrier it makes me. What really makes it special (read: excruciating) is that he was evidently trying to be funny. “These subcontinentals and their grinding, grinding poverty, am I right? You just can’t get the facilities these days.” Oh, Colly. You’ve got me in convulsions over here.

Wait, no, that’s just nausea. My bad.

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