The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
Top-selling English tabloid and soulless exploiter of human wretchedness News of the World has sunk to an, I can’t say new, but familiar low, a low the shaft down to which is heavily scored by the marks of their repeated descents to it, by sending an, and I’m suppressing the urge to use scare quotes, because that’s what they would do, investigative journalist to buy drugs from Jermaine Pennant’s father, film the buying of drugs from Jermain Pennant’s father, turn over the film of the buying of drugs from Jermaine Pennant’s father to the police, and cover the subsequent arrest and conviction of Jermaine Pennant’s father as if it were some sort of cross between a media exclusive and the Indian summer of Batman.
The morally flea-like individuals whose livelihoods ooze from this necrotic pustule of culture, by which I mean the News of the World, not Batman, will defend and will even boast of their activities on the grounds that Gary Pennant was guilty. So he was, and one would certainly not wish to omit the thanks due to the world’s highest-selling English-language newspaper for bringing the enforcement powers of the Crown to bear on one long-time drug addict who sold cocaine out of his apartment in Nottingham. But the, and again, I will not use scare quotes, argument is exactly the sort of nematode-like escape-wriggle that one would expect from the News of the World, because “he deserved it” is actually a weak and childish evasion of the precept that if you are bringing a camera to film a person’s downfall, you had better not have arranged their downfall yourself beforehand; and if you have arranged it beforehand, it had better not be so that you can profit from the humiliation it will bring to someone who isn’t even part of the story but who appeals as a target because other people happen to know his name.
Mazher Mahmood, the self-described crime-fighter who shepherded this story into being earlier this year with no thought for his safety and maybe just the one thought for his career, was previously best known for dressing up in a sheikh costume and encouraging famous people to reveal the dark side of their natures that they habitually keep hidden from non-sheikhs. Now that his fake sheikh cover has been blown by George Galloway, he’s apparently putting his not considerable ingenuity to work finding other ways to make himself impressive to the world’s thumb-gnawing morons, into the crosshairs of which endeavor Gary Pennant wandered like a deer. I’d link to his work, I would send you to this unstomped puddle of a story rather than merely linking to other stories about it, but it would appear that the internet still has a conscience.
by Brian Phillips · December 13, 2008