“That was a lot of fun.” “Absolutely!” Thus began the conversation between the two young men who had just installed themselves with a couple of pints of ale in the corner of the Horse and Guardsman public house in Whitehall not two minutes down the road from Trafalgar Square where the victory parade of the “Lionesses” in celebration of their famous Euro 2022 footballing success had just had its culmination. As usual Zarathustra (Zara to his friends), the postmodern-day prophet of renown, was doing most of the talking, his friend Ziggy biding his time until the most opportune moment for intervention arrived.
“…and a great day which will be long remembered for the blow which it struck for equality and social justice.” affirmed Zara.
“Well, as far as the justice bit goes, I certainly agree with you that the Germans have been due their come-uppance for some time on the football front.” was the reply.
Such half-hearted endorsement of his proffered views being rather less than what Zara had been looking for, he sought to reinforce the essential principle which was at stake. “I certainly have nothing against a bit of schadenfreude, particularly when the Germans are at the sharp end. But the bigger picture here is surely the blow which was struck for women everywhere in their struggle against the misogyny of the hetero-normative patriarchy.” At this point there was a dramatic pause, providing Ziggy the opportunity to request further elaboration; and himself the time to consider how the additional themes of cultural appropriation and white privilege could be woven into his narrative. “Oh,” intoned his friend disinterestedly.
Taking this as the confirmation of interest he was seeking, Zara continued.
“The Lionesses have significantly advanced the cause of victims of oppression everywhere and we should celebrate that.” Having made this insightful further observation he rewarded himself with a quaff of ale; this was an indiscretion he would shortly come to regret.
“Hmm,” intoned his friend. “I am not sure the Germans would see it that way; nor even the Lionesses or their fans. And isn’t it a bit patronising, patriarchal even, to suggest that they are benefitting from some kind of victim status here? After all, it is them what has roared and been crowned champions of Europe, while the men’s team hasn’t brought back a single bit of silverware in more than fifty years.”
“Ehm, but what I was trying to say was…” At this point, however, Zara suffered an inexplicable memory lapse and found he had somehow forgotten what it was he was trying to say. Happily Ziggy came to his rescue.
“I think what you meant to say was that the Lionesses will through their demonstrated courage and self-belief now be role models for young girls everywhere who are thinking of taking up football. And we should celebrate that.”
This wasn’t quite the line of thought Zara had been developing but his friend had nonetheless made a fair point. “Quite so,” he concurred.
“So, let’s celebrate,” concluded Ziggy. “If you are offering to buy, I’ll have another pint of the same.”
As he made his way to the bar, Zara couldn’t escape the feeling that he had somehow been nutmegged, by a back-heeler….
Disclaimer: references to Zarathustra in the above are an allusion to the eponymous protagonist of Friedrich Nietzche’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” and not to the Iranian religious reformer and prophet, traditionally regarded as the founder of Zoroastrianism.