Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Madrid: Voltaire on Rafole Postmodernism

Just once, I'd like to sit thru a Rafole/Fedal match without the merits of either rivalry being foisted on me. Just once.

What started out as a “Postmodern” counterculture to the fanaticism surrounding the Fedal rivalry and the mainstream adulation it gave rise to, has quickly evolved into something just as toxic as the “mainstream” it purported to differentiate itself from.


This is familiar territory, but I think it bears repetition in light of the near-hysterical attempts during the final of the pro-Rafole lobby to “persuade” everyone of the inherent virtues of their sacred cow.

I wouldn’t object so much if there wasn’t such an obvious subtext: that “my particular rivalry exists on a higher plane, gives rise to fans of a higher moral fibre than yours”. The smug, self-satisfaction is really quite astonishing.  If you insist deary. It probably makes you feel better about yourself, so I guess it must be true.

More often than not, it’s not even cloaked in spiritual terms like these. And I almost prefer that. However “mainstream”.

Let me explain: if you want to be a fanboy or a fangirl, I may disagree with your choice of player, but (within certain limits) I’ll fully support your right to behave like an obnoxious kad. I’m certain Voltaire himself would have no problem with his words being butchered in this way.


The reason is simple: the kads’s position, however obnoxious, remains unequivocal. I know what (or whom) they unabashedly stand for. I know what they unashamedly don’t stand for. Even their startling double standards in favour of their player will, however disagreeable, come as little surprise. For the most part, it’s tongue-in-cheek, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But if you’re going to position yourself as a “radical”, someone taking the “moral high ground” over the “establishment” and its underlings, supposedly above all that rank populism and fanaticism that surrounds the mainstream, and then proceed to insidiously impress the merits of your favourite rivalry upon me (in a way that is clearly meant to denigrate fans of that other “mainstream” rivalry), then you’re far worse than any number of fanboys and fangirls who, whatever else might be said of them, do at least wear their heart on their sleeve. They aren’t pretending to be anything else, and that alone makes them more credible.


Bottom line is, nobody much cares. Everyone should be free to like the Rafole rivalry, or the Fedal rivalry, or both, or NONE.

Up until this week I had thought I preferred Rafole. That’s mostly to do with Madrid 2009. But the Fedal semi reminded me of at least some of the things that had caused me to salivate many years ago and which, frankly, don’t exist in any other rivalry. The same can be said of Rafole. Apples and Oranges.

If we were to be completely honest about it, we’d have to admit that neither rivalry has come anywhere near, recently, to reproducing anything like its respective benchmark – which remains the Madrid SF of 09 and the Wimby Final of 08.

You really don’t have to chose, but if you do – please don’t make like you’re taking the “high road”. I think you’ll find you’re barely taking a road.

Right at this very moment, there’s probably someone out there gushing over the Donald Young, Wayne Odesnik “rivalry”. And that’s ok too.

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