Joey Barton’s tweeting
boasts one million followers, I read in a newspaper today. One million!
That makes him something of a cultural hero, not to mention literary
The world is
truly going mad.
For the benefit
of those unfamiliar with the name – that is, those fortunate billions on the
planet who couldn’t care less what his views are – Joey Barton is a
professional footballer. He plays
nowadays for a London
club, Queens Park Rangers, which is in the English Premier League.
Mr. Barton makes
a great deal of money for kicking a football around, but nothing for
tweeting. So why does he tweet?
The answer is
that he revels in his well-deserved notoriety.
He acquired his ‘bad boy’ reputation by playing a ‘robust’, or as some might
prefer, dirty form of the game. He is a
lout. He has been involved in a series
of unsavoury incidents both on the football field, and off it, the latter
including a conviction for assaulting a fellow patron of a fast-food
restaurant. He is the kind of fellow most
Dads would dread their daughters bringing home for tea – actually dread them living
in the same city.
potentially in trouble with prosecutors in the John Terry case. Terry, captain of England and Chelsea FC – himself a
figure of eternal controversy – is about to go before the beak for alleged
racial abuse against a black player during a match against QPR, Barton’s
team. Barton is a potential witness,
whether earmarked by the defence or the prosecution is unclear. Terry has denied the charge.
In his latest
electronic missive, Barton has asserted that Terry should have admitted his
error and taken his punishment on the chin.
An analogy involving pots and kettles comes to mind. Barton tells his worshipful adherents that he
is exercising the right of free speech and would “gladly go to jail for a
month” in its defence. If ‘they’ tried
to put everyone in jail, he claims with impeccable logic, “they’ll (sic) be a
Right on, Joey
my old son, let ‘em have it.
He’s right, of
course, but a revolution in the cause of Joey Barton’s right to express his
opinions would be an insult to history’s revolutionaries. There is some consolation in Joey’s
deployment of his literary skills, I suppose; better he should maul the
language than his opponents.
Barton is no
revolutionary, he’s merely revolting. We
can only hope that the law finds a reason to lock him up – or at least shut him