Wednesday, July 05, 2006

bye bye beckham

of all the reports, articles and posts i have read regarding the resignation of england football captain david beckham in the wake of england's elimination from the world cup, this is the one i appreciated the most:

"For a footballer to wear a sarong and pink nail varnish took courage
Notebook by Matthew Parris (The Times Online)

IT IS TOO early for the obituaries, but here’s a modest three cheers from a columnist with no interest in football. I have never met David Beckham and don’t expect to, but I admire him. Beyond his footballing, I think he has shown real moral courage as a role model. Anyone who had suggested ten years ago that there would be a natural place in our sporting pantheon for a fellow who wore a sarong, experimented with pink nail varnish and funny hairstyles, sported male jewellery and agreed to an interview with the gay lifestyle magazine, Attitude, would have been laughed to scorn. That Beckham is plainly completely heterosexual made it seem all the more eccentric to risk the inevitable sneers about being a wuss. He went on to bring his family and babies into the picture, and to be portrayed as a loving father, a New Man and a gentle man. Yet here is someone whose primary audience is football supporters; whose primary stage is that most brutally laddish of institutions, the English football match; and whose intermediaries with the wider world are a hard-bitten and unsentimental cadre: Fleet Street sports reporters.

I’m not suggesting that Beckham sees himself as a one-man mission to civilise sporting culture: he and his wife had self-interested reasons to establish a distinctive brand. But the brand he chose says something to the world — to his world in particular — about his own tolerant instincts and his openness to difference, to experiment, to beauty and to style. It took guts to present this version of himself to his natural supporters. Plenty were ready to say: “We told you so.”

But it succeeded. This tells us something about the changing face of British popular culture which Beckham has done more than reflect: he has helped to symbolise and lead."

mr. parris does not refer to the 'footballer's wives'-like scenes from beckham's personal life, when holding becks up as a role model. but then i happen to think that even famous people deserve to have their private life stay private. ok ok i do read 'people' magazine sometimes, and have a link to entertainment news on my yahoo. i am, however, naive enough to assume that most of those stories are published with the assent of those who feature in them.

meanwhile, a lot of lads have had beckham's positive example before them, and i'd love to think it will make a difference!

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