The word “fiction” comes from the Latin root “fictio” which in turn came from the word “fingere” which originally meant something shaped or made out of clay. We tend to think of fiction as a novel written mostly out of the imagination but the original meaning, as you can see, is much subtler; creating the same cup out of clay over and over again, with just small manipulations, is more in line with the root of the word. Small manipulations, then, are closer to the original definition of “fiction” that are the grandiose creations we tend to think of when the word is invoked.
In the average Arsenal press conference, everyone has a role. The press, you, me, Arsene Wenger all play our part in this exchange: I’m the wheel, Wenger’s the clay, you’re the consumer, and the press are the fingers which shape the clay. Importantly, the consumer’s feedback is crucial to how the press mold the clay. If you all don’t like the story, you tell them to make it different and they oblige. But, and this is critical, the press only really know how to make a few things. Oh sure, they can make you a cup but it’s only ever variations on a theme. The themes with Arsene Wenger and Arsenal are: Arsene Whinger’s plate, the Foreign Legion bowl, a Kiddie Cup, the Beautiful Football vase, and a Chipped Title Hopes pencil holder.
So, to produce an Arsene Whinger’s plate, they simply take a press conference where Wenger is highly complimentary of the opposition, decontextualize a quote like “Arsenal dominated” and form that into a nice plate. If you all buy it, they will then make another design and call it a Limited Edition Arsene Whinger’s plate and see if you’ll buy that as well. Last I heard they sold out of the Martin O’Neill Limited Edition, but never fear they have a Michael Ballack edition ready to hit, an Ancelotti Edition and they might even re-fire the old Sir Alex Ferguson Edition. That’s always a big seller.
The Foreign Legion bowl is a big seller around international breaks. The Kiddie Cup is an old stand by and is trotted out whenever Arsenal disrespect either the Carling or FA Cups by playing a full team plus some young players. The Beautiful Football vase is exquisite to look at but it breaks easily, so why exactly you all keep buying that I don’t know. And the Chipped Title Hopes pencil holder has been so successful, it is now on it’s second run with rumors that they might re-run the limited edition Arsenal Drop Out of The Top Four placard which completes the desk set.
This year, they have come out with a special matching set of all of the above items and have even thrown in a few new pieces such as the Arsenal Have No Money To Spend On Transfers Alisher Usmanov bust, the Why Didn’t Arsene Buy Anyone When Arsenal Clearly Needed a (this is a 5 piece set with Striker, Left-Back, Center-Half, Goal Keeper, and Imposing Hard Man all needed to complete the set) coffee mug, and if you act now there’s a bonus gift which is a tee-shirt that says I Bought the Press Hype Dinner Set and all I Got Was This Lousy Tee-Shirt.
Amazingly, it seems that this set is a huge seller and they might even sell completely out with nearly every Arsenal fan wringing their hands over whether they will get one before production stops.
I’m happy with my This is One Hell of an Arsenal Team Who are Competing for Two Leagues so Fuck the Press pajama set that I made for myself. Sure, it’s not all shiny and new, it’s worn around the edges, and it’s almost 6 years old, but it’s comfortable and keeps me warm at night. And I used the money I saved to secure seats to the Arsenal v. Porto match, which is something that will last a whole lot longer than some crappy Telegraph Chipped Title Hopes pencil holder.