03 June 2015

Fi Fa Fo Fum

For those who do not get the gist of the title of this post you might remember the children’s story of Jack and the Beanstalk where the Giant said:

"Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman;
Be he alive, or be he dead,
I'll grind his bones to make my bread!" 

In this case however the Giant is the game of Football (or in other words, Fútbol, Soccer, or Balompié) and the Giant smells a rat that symbolizes the executive body of The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), whose goal, as enshrined in its statutes, is the constant improvement of football. I heard one newscaster say that Fútbol is a religion. On the contrary, amigo, Fútbol is not a religion. It is a team sport, and large predatory organizations like FIFA are a symbol of the attempt to supplant religion with their own lust for money and power.

I feel a bit like the Madman in Friedrich Nietzsche's, "The Parable of the Madman" except that I proclaim that God is very much alive and even FIFA cannot kill religion and make everyone worship at the FIFA altar. From religion we get morals as in the Ten Commandments of Moses and the Golden Rule of Jesus Christ to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. These morals are the basis for religions the world over for people who are decent and God fearing. The leadership of FIFA adheres to nothing but the rules of their highly vaulted Ethics Committee of whom all FIFA officials are supposedly subscribers.

Without a belief in the Supreme Being, the Uncaused Cause, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, we are left with nothing more than a tattered and war warn set of rules (or treaties) called ethics that is the cumulative effort of kings, emperors, corporations and other despots including the filthy rich and their legions of lawyers in seeking the greatest advantage in the “Texas Hold ‘em” material game of life. These so-called ethics don’t really serve for much beyond the platitudes bandied about in the hot breath atmosphere of political speeches and debates and do not separate virtue from vice as was the original intention.

In a letter to Pope Pius II entitled “Cribratio Alkorani” in the year 1460 the renowned philosopher, mathematician, and scholar Nicolas of Cusa defined Virtue as moving in a direction toward the Good which is God Himself. He said we recognize that in ourselves there is a certain appetite or “Spirit” which moves us towards the good and indeed we find the majority of people in the world so inclined. However, there are those who have either been led astray by others or have been deliberately chosen the path in the opposite direction from the good and are attracted to the bad. The Good we associate with “Virtue” (notice the resemblance of “Good” and “God”) and the bad we associate with the father of all lies and we call it “Vice”.

One of my favorite poems comes from a work called “The Fable of the Bees” by Bernard Mandeville, an Anglo-Dutch philosopher, political economist and satirist who was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in 1670 but who lived most of his life in England. One stanza goes:

"And Virtue, who from Politics
Has learned a thousand cunning tricks,
Was by their happy influence,
Made friends with Vice,
And ever since, the worst of all the multitude
Did something for the common good."

He is talking about how willing virtuous people are to look the other way when the activities of those who wallow in vice also produce a benefit to those who fancy themselves as “good”.

The so called virtuous who benefit indirectly from vice are quick to say, “Well, after all, it really isn’t all that bad and look at the benefits to society that it brings”.  This is a classic case of what George Orwell referred to as “doublethink”.  The term doublethink means to know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancel out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while at the same time laying claim to it. We sometimes call this “turning a blind eye” or “willful ignorance”. Blaise Pascal called it “the fault of voluntary illusion” and Fyodor Dostoyevsky called it “compromise with conscience”. Here in México people say “Hacen de la vista gorda” which means literally, “They give it the fat look” or in other words the "virtuous" look the other way. However, no matter what you call it, the truth is that it is nothing more than a convoluted form of lying

In the case of corrupt FIFA officials they drip-feed aid to small developing countries and youth organizations and then ballyhoo the effort as justification for millions and millions of dollars that slip through their fingers and into their own pockets. After all, isn’t it all too often the real purpose of non-profit organizations in general? Too many of them exist to feather the nests of a selected few insiders in the name (only) of “Virtue”. And so, when Vice and Virtue get cozy together in the name of the public good they always shake hands, pat each other on the back, and smile for the cameras. It is a shame…a crying shame.

The FIFA scandal can be compared to Mexican "Lucha Libre" wrestling. You have the "técnicos", the good guys, versus the "rudos", the bad guys. "Técnico" (TEK-nee-koh) means technician. These are the wrestlers that use their technique and ability to win. "Rudo" (ROO-doh) literally means ruffian or villain. The "rudos" are the wrestlers who cheat in order to win. You have to choose your lot in life by being a técnico or a "rudo". In the FIFA scandal, the corrupt officials at FIFA are the Rudos and the youth and lovers of the game of Fútbol the world over are the Técnicos. The call for justice is always the same, "¡Arriba los técnicos y bajo los rudos!"..."Up with the good guys and down with the bad guys”, and one more thing…¡Viva Fútbol!

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.