Thursday, July 06, 2006

Match of the Day Philosophy Special


The news that Big Brother contestants have been asked to discuss the Meaning of Life has seen other popular shows jump on the philosophical bandwagon. Personal Development Through Philosophy is proud to have secured the script and exclusive rights to one such venture - tonight's Philosophy Special Match of the Day....

Gary Lineker: After the World Cup debacle against Portugal, perhaps we all need to learn how to take life more philosophically. Tonight our usual panel of experts is joined by two very special guests, the new England manager Steve McClaren and the ancient Roman Stoic philosopher, Lucius Seneca. Alan Hansen, if I may turn to you first, which philosopher do you think England can learn most from?

Alan: The boy Aristotle's got it all - after two and a half thousands years or so he might be slowing down a bit, but his maturity and common sense more than compensate. Sheer class.

Gary: And how could Aristotle help?

Alan: Basically his advice adds up to 3 secrets of success. Practice, practice and more practice. Who was the only Englishman to score a penalty? The one who plays in Germany, that's who. We've got to practice penalty-taking, and we've got to get into the habit of taking good penalties. If we took penalties to decide every drawn Premiership game, you'd soon notice the difference.

Gary: Aristotle said all that, did he?

Alan: Aye, words to that effect. And he also said that you could'na win anything with kids.

Gary: Let's go over to the stadium now and join John Motson and Mark Lawrenson. Mark, any words of wisdom?

Mark Lawrenson: (deadpan) The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.

Gary: Is that one of yours, Mark?

Mark: I wish it was, Gary, I wish it was. No, that's from Arthur Schopenhauer - the second most miserable person ever. Pain and boredom - that just about sums up England's World Cup for me.

Gary: Hmm. I wonder if Schopenhauer was influenced by the formative years he spent in Wimbledon. Moving on quickly - John, anything to add?

Motty: (chirpy as ever) You know, I think some people are being a bit too harsh on the England lads. I lip-read some banter between Manchester United team-mates Rooney and Ronaldo the other night, and you might not believe this, but they were actually talking about two philosophers, Foucault and Kant.

Gary: (smirking) Thanks for that, John. Now for a Welsh point of view, over to Mark Hughes.

Marcuse: The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, their flat-panel TV.

Motty: Ho, Ho. I think that someone's confused Marcuse, the Frankfurt school philosopher, and Mark Hughes, the ex Man Utd forward. It reminds me of the time back in 1982 when Top of the Pops mixed up soul icon Jackie Wilson with darts player Jocky Wilson. You've got to laugh ...

Gary: Ian Wright - you look like you’re bursting to say something ...

Ian: Aristotle, Schopenhauer, Marcuse - listen, man, we don’t need any of these fancy foreigners, know what I mean? How about someone English for a change? John Stuart Mill is the man for me. The greatest happiness of the greatest number, that's the answer. Steve - put a smile back on everyone's face and pick some fast wingers, youngsters who can go past players.

Steve McClaren: One of them wouldn’t go by the name of Sean would he?

Ian: Well, you'd be making at least one person very happy.

Gary: Lucius Seneca, you were tutor to Nero, you've seen it all before. Any sage advice for the English?

Seneca: Forget 4-5-1, drop Beckham, play Lennon and Cole as out-and-out wingers, put Rooney and Defoe up front together - oh, and make John Terry captain.

Gary: And any philosophical tips?

Seneca: We Stoics think that people need to have realistic expectations. England always lose in penalty shoot outs and have never won a major football tournament away from home. Expect things to go badly, and you won't be disappointed. And remember, football's only a game.

Gary: Steve McClaren, the new England manager, you're being very quiet. Not impersonating Sven by any chance, are you? Steve, what's the way forward for England?

Steve McClaren: It's all Greek to me

Gary: Seneca, don’t go just yet. It looks like we might need to remember your advice in the next few years. Well I hope all this philosophy has helped -now it's over to Big Brother to find out the meaning of life....

3 comments:

  1. When England lost to Portugal on penalties, I won £300. I had wagered £30 on this very outcome at odds of 10-1 on the morning of the match. Several of my friends called me a traitor. I told them I was the one dealing with the problem, while they were crying into their pints. To calculate the stake, I had asked myself this question: what sum would I need to win in order to nullify the misery of going out on penalties yet again? I decided at least £300 would be required. I was, in effect, insuring myself against a psychological loss. Given that the FTSE is known to lose 1% or even 2% of its value the day after England take penalties, it occurs to me that my pragmatic approach could be extended nationwide. Under such a campaign, England supporters would place small bets against their own side repeatedly in the knock-out stages of major tournaments. Ideally, they would do so via betting shops domiciled in the opponent's country. This way, our loss of pride would be offset by proportionate economic gains.

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  2. What would our panel of philosophers have to say about my strategy?

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  3. Mon Dieu! I love it! I must try it myself next time France are in a World Cup final. And I wonder if the idea could have any applications in the philosophy of religion? Let me think ....

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