The World According To Damien
in a World gone mad – one sane voice emerges…

Damien on… Eric Cantona

This too is hardly topical – in fact the events I wish to consider happened almost twenty years ago.

But after my Zen brother Corny recently wrote a piece on racism – – I was reminded of said event.

If you are over thirty, you probably recall it too. Eric got into a ruck with another player and was sent off. But as he passed through the tunnel, a “fan” shouted racist abuse at him – at which point Eric leapt into the crowd and launched a “kung fu” style attack on him.

The upshot of this attack was that Eric was heavily penalised by the FA and received a two-week prison sentence – reduced on appeal to community service – from the courts, for his actions.

Fair enough – after all, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words/names can never hurt me.”

And whilst the “fan” may have acted both foully and aggressively, he did not launch a PHYSICAL attack on Cantona. Thus Cantona’s actions could not have been countenanced in law.

However, while Eric was rightly ashamed of his part in the drama, it is a fact that the British public were DELIGHTED by his actions.

Indeed, said actions were at least in part responsible for RAISING his career profile – including in the eyes of people who had no interest in football whatsoever and who thus would never have heard of him, had it not been for the “kung fu” incident.

All of which goes to highlight what I see as a FAILING in the British character: next to pædophilia, nothing is guaranteed to inflame its passions more than racism.

Which is fine, provided one does not lose sight of everything else.

Granted that “fan” was an excrescence – but Eric’s actions were NOT justified.

Two wrongs do not make a right. Racism is an evil – but then so is the violence it often leads to. And the one does not justify the other.

Of course today, in Britain, the Cantana incident would be unlikely to recur. If a “fan” behaved like the one did on that day – the CROWD would give him a kicking…


2 Responses to “Damien on… Eric Cantona”

  1. Two familiar phrases come to mind.

    “I hope you’re right.” (About the crowd’s reaction today.)

    Two ‘wrongs’ often DO make a ‘right’ and, in fact, “MAKE IT right”. The only good racist (if we are talking REAL racism not legit crit of a socially destructive belief) is a reformed racist (e.g. that Mayor in AL) or a dead one (Hitler).

    Actually, with the psychological effect issue, bullying words from low IQ, low-life-trash DO hurt MANY intelligent and sensitive boys and girls FOR LIFE. (Tall people often fail to see this. Lucky them.)

  2. You make a good point: I have always been TALL – and am a white Anglo-Norman atheist. And you don’t often see signs saying “If you are OVER this height…” or “Anglo-Normans must use the rear entrance” – so I have had little experience of being on the wrong end of prejudice.

    But before people make snap-judgements on people’s WORDS – they need to examine the INTENT behind those words. Words alone have little power – it is the CONTEXT and INTENTION to wound that is harmful.

    And that can be difficult to judge – particularly if the person offended is unaware that a remark was not intended to offend. BANTER is a good example.

    Banter only works between people who know each other – and accept the TRUE meaning of such. It does not work in PRINT. And others hearing it might not understand the relationship between the people involved.

    However overall, the time has now come for everyone to take a step BACK – to stop getting hysterical every time they hear a WORD that MIGHT be racist and consider what the INTENT was behind it.

    REAL racism is DANGEROUS and OBSCENE. And it is easy to be side-tracked by climbing onto the PC bandwaggon and jumping on anyone who says something ill-considered – while ignoring the much DARKER issue of that real racism.

    Check out the earlier piece on this subject (see the URL, in the main piece) for more…

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