“This isn’t the article I want to write” could be a quote appended to probably half the articles that I have written over the last three years. Because much like Sisyphus, it seems, we Arsenal writers are constantly pushing the various rocks about Arsenal up the hill in a never ending dialog over points that are largely meaningless.
In case you didn’t notice there are the following types of Arsenal articles that every Arsenal writer must pen at least 15 times in a season:
- FINANCES FINANCES FINANCES
- Ticket Prices
- The new kits are ugly
- Did you hear what that person/player/racist said on Twitter?
- Suarez/Rooney/someone from the Premier League who I want at Arsenal
- Does Arsenal need more players?
- Who is to blame for not buying players?
- Does Arsenal need a keeper/defender/DM/striker?
- Who is the keeper/defender/DM/striker Arsenal should buy?
- Why Arsenal will never buy a “big name player”?
- Why Arsenal can’t afford x player if Arsenal drop out of the Champions League spots
- Why the Subhumans “Animal” is one of Tim’s favorite songs of all time.
- Arsenal are/aren’t going to finish fourth
- Why Arsenal can’t defend from set plays
- Why Arsenal can’t score when teams park the bus
- Long balls
- Tactical fouling
- Egregious physical play
- Why the press suck
- Tiki-taka (pro-con)
- Counter attacking
- etc etc etc
And of course, the granddaddy of them all “Arsenal need to win this game”.
Continuing from the theme of two days ago, as you can see above, writing about Arsenal has become absurd. Not just in the harsh sense that some will take it, but in the way that I suspect Camus would identify absurdity: a deeply meaningless action, just like the rest of life. We ascribe Arsenal meaning, but in the Absurdist sense, that’s just a form of intellectual suicide. If we think about it, look a little bit bigger than just the 10 mile radius around us, we all know how meaningless this is. And once we discover that meaninglessness we are presented with three choices: death (physical or intellectual), religiosity, or perseverance.
In the Arsenal sense, death is giving up. Just quitting on your team. You know, “Fuck it. I just can’t do this shit any more.” Though, unlike real death, I suppose you could try to come back. I’m not sure anything would be the same. If I stopped blogging for a year, I might return but it would be very different.
Religiosity in the Arsenal sense is another form of intellectual suicide as it’s the abdication of the self over to a higher power. Stats can become a form of worship, Arsene is worshiped (and hated, which is not the negation of worship but rather another form of worship), concepts such as history, and historical figures become gods, on and on, its the raising of someone or something else to a higher power in order to explain what is fundamentally an unexplainable world.
And then there’s Camus’ perfect being, the Absurdist hero, Sisyphus – he who knowingly perseveres in the face of the contemplation of the absurd. “Groundhog Day” is another way to describe the Sisyphean task, though interestingly, the myth of Groundhog Day had an out, once Phil perfected himself he was allowed to escape. Sisyphus is offered no such out and I imagine him down there in Hades, shoulder to the stone, loincloth rippling from the heat of hell, smiling up at us* as I write this.
But importantly, Sisyphus defies the gods, rejects them outright and does what he wants (until he’s captured and forced into a life of toil). But Sisyphus also escapes death. He wants to live the absurd life to its fullest. Which is what I’m doing here with my columns on this blog. You certainly can’t look at my entire history of writing for four years on what is essentially one rather meaningless topic and say anything other than “well, this is absurd”.
This revelation of fundamental meaninglessness will give some of you pause. As if Sisyphus himself took a small break and said to you “you know it’s all kind of pointless.” You will now say, “wait… why am I doing this?”
I’m doing this because I have to. It’s not really any deeper than that. I enjoy it most days. I love reading other people’s informed opinions. I love when someone like Arseblog makes me laugh. I love when commentators call me a “Yank who knows nothing about the history of the club”. I love when my readers give me something new to think about. And I love Arsenal when they win and when they lose.
And today against Wigan, is a “must win” but I do not despair because tomorrow I will be here, doing what I always do. In fact I feel no nerves about the game. None. I feel like the result is never in doubt. And I mean that no matter what the result.
It was never in doubt.
P.S. Before the match, you should read Arsenal Letters’ very intelligent analysis of Wigan’s tactics and his conclusions about Wigan’s vulnerabilities down the flanks, how they will pack the center, the importance of Theo Walcott, and where they will try to pull Arsenal apart with Kone-Maloney. Cracking great stuff!
Also, look for Chary’s Man at the Match report after the game. It will be his last one until fall. CONTEMPLATE THAT.