July 28, 2008

Silly Gestures Out in the Open

28-year-old Northern Ireland striker David Healy mimicked a Protestant Orange marcher during a friendly for Fulham FC in front of visiting fans from Celtic Glasgow, a team whose supporters are predominantly catholic. Healy is coming off of a good year; he was recently awarded The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. It’s a title apparently bestowed on those who don’t know how to pick a scuffle, because Celtic Glasgow have around nine million fans worldwide. During his apology, Healy said, “I made a silly gesture, which I regret.”

Silly gestures have a way of causing unintended flare-ups. In Franz Grillparzer’s 1823 tragedy in five acts, König Ottokars Glück und Ende, Rudolf and Ottokar are constantly at it. Rudy is the king of Austria, an upstart Hapsburg who keeps on winning, while Otto is the king of nearby Bohemia, a wise pilsener drinker who keeps on losing wars to Rudy. Finally, they agree to a fragile peace accord (see “Tenuously linked allusions to Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement 1998”). Otto has to fulfill one tiny condition, a silly gesture in the privacy and seclusion of the imperial tent, where he will kneel before Rudy and receive a ton of fiefs in return.

As he kneels, Zawisch, an unfaithful servant (who’s sleeping with Otto’s young wife), opens the tent ever so slightly to publicly expose King Otto’s silly gesture. Unable to bear this humiliation Otto goes apeshit and, surprise!, surprise!, renewed aggression between the armies ensues.

I give Healy the benefit of the doubt. He was probably trying to be funny or light-hearted, and soccer professionals aren’t known for being bright. But the English Premiership and the Irish Football Association don't see humor in it – they are investigating Healy for bigotry and sectarianism.

4 comments:

Marie said...

Love the lego photo.

Mark said...

I believe they're actually Playmobil...

marie said...

I thought they looked oddly smooth... I guess that explains it.

Mama V said...

Just read your profile link in the right columnm. I'm calling you out on the claim that you were a dumb kid, Mr. Perfect SAT Score. Did you forget that your school would have had you skip a grade if you mom and dad hadn't held you back?

Dummy.