The apocalypse

Arsenal have a big big game today. With just ten games left Arsenal face a 7 point gap between themselves and fourth place Manchester City. Even further up the table are the dreaded Tottenham Hotspurs. Arsenal have finished above Tottenham every season for 21 years but now with Tottenham holding an 11 point lead and challenging for the League title whilst Arsenal have taken just four points from their last seven matches it’s looking like even if Tottenham falter it would take a miracle of biblical proportions for Arsenal to top them. It would be a true St. Totteringham’s Day.

At the very least, Arsenal have to win all their remaining fixtures if they want to finish in the top four. We can’t expect that others will drop points. We have to play the kind of urgent football that, until now, Arsenal haven’t been able to muster. Judging by the fact that Xhaka was traipsing back to cover for the defense when Kun Aguero scored the second for City this weekend, it would have to be a 180 degree turnaround in the attitude and application of these players and in the team preparation by the manager.

If not, then Arsenal face the Apocalypse. Losing out on Champions League means not only reduced revenue but a built-in excuse for Alexis to leave (“he wants to win the Champions League”), for Arsenal to claim poverty in the transfer market, and for big name players to refuse to sign for Arsenal (see Alexis). Arsenal would probably keep Özil, though.  Or if Özil showed some ambition and left Arsenal would have a built-in reason to start Jack Wilshere, fresh from his highly successful loan period with Bournemouth. And Ramsey could be made co-captain, along with Ox.

I guess, what I’m saying is that I’ve been thinking about end times. Not because I’m suicidal or because I believe in some biblical eschatology but because I read the actual newspaper and pay attention to the world around me and what I see happening in the world are systems collapsing. In Syria, in Ukraine, in Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria, and yes, I see the systems collapsing around me here in the USA.

I’m not just being reactionary about the USA. When the news media are ignored because they are fake news, when fake news is consumed because it’s comforting, when our free and fair elections are questioned by the winner, when we have alternative facts, and a government which not only refuses to govern but which actively seeks to destroy the very system itself, then we have system collapse.

We tend to think of end times as a sudden event. We like to look at one moment and see that as the turning point: when I was a child we thought there would be nuclear war, we were taught that Rome burned while Nero fiddled, and in my own evangelical tradition that one day Angels will rain down from heaven, trumpets blaring, and the righteous will rise up to heaven in a glorious rapture.

Even our movies are filled with this sudden change theory of end times. In the original Night of the Living Dead an unexplained space phenomena brings the dead back to life and people are suddenly thrust into a fight for survival.

But Dawn of the Dead provides an oddly familiar but alternative story line to the collapse of the world. In Dawn of the Dead, the new system is in place and zombies roam the cities. A group of survivors hole up in a shopping mall where they have all the food, clothing, shelter, warmth, and even guns and ammo that they could possibly need. And with doors barricaded and the wealth of the masses horded all to themselves they live like kings, for a while.

Soon, though, the system that they created to insulate themselves from the horrors of the world collapses. Other survivors want what they got and they will take it from them or burn it to the ground. The system that the mall dwellers had set up provided them with temporary security and fleeting wealth.

The history of humanity is one of collapsing systems, no matter how beautiful and secure we build our mall on the hill, no matter how tall the walls around it, and no matter how abundant the resources within, all walls collapse. And they don’t collapse suddenly. They take centuries in the case of the Roman empire, or a decade in the case of The Arsenal.

Qq

16 Comments on The apocalypse

  1. Hey Tim,

    When Chelsea and United finished out of the top 4 (even top 6), they still retained most (if not all) of their top talent, and managed to sign some big name international players. It wasn’t apocalyptic for them. But for Arsenal it does feel like it might be. Does this feeling stem from the fact that Arsenal simply don’t pay the big salaries and transfer fees like Chelsea and United? Or that they are “better destinations” or perceived as a more legendary place to play? Gotta be the former, right? Players were hardly clamoring to play for the new managers they hired…

    • Yes, it’s basically down to the salary that we pay, plus perks and bonuses. Like I’ve said many times before RvP took less “salary” when he moved to MU but earned more money due to endorsements.

      I would also say that Chelsea has a reputation for getting back into the title race even if they do drop out of the top. They hire new managers, buy players, make smart moves to get back to the top and then actually win titles. Arsenal do a lot of the same things but consistently don’t deliver. I would go so far as to speculate that some players are attracted to Arsenal because there is less competition and yet guaranteed salary. We are in a sort of “stagflation”.

  2. I think arsenal were/are after coins but when every other club now have TV bumper pay the whole system collapse s
    The love of money says the scripture is the root of all evil
    Devil knows
    Kronke knows
    Wenger knows
    The club is after coins
    The fans after glory

  3. It’s the 2nd law of thermodynamics (entropy); any isolated system trends towards it’s lowest energy state, which is ultimately over time disintegration. The more complex the system the more energy it needs to hold it together and fight off entropy. Our pluralist globalist society is extremely complex and it takes a lot of societal energy to hold it together. I’m sure you and I would have disagreements on where that energy is being drained off but it’s draining nonetheless. I blame general Western affluenza and complacency.

    Which would bring me to Arsenal; there’s been a complacency from the owner, through the board and down to the manager and now by osmosis the players. The energy has been drained and now we’re seeing disintegration.

    There’s a medical term called “decompensation”… ordinarily a person (or animal) can make up for physiological shortfalls so that you don’t notice any real impairment, but then there’s a tipping point where the body can’t compensate any longer and then it seems from the outside like its a cascade of problems and a quick spiral downward… decompensation. It’s not that these are all new ailments – they were there all along but masked.

    We’re seeing the start of decompensation with Arsenal. I believe Wenger will stay for another 2 years. I also believe we will be down in 7-8th place for those next 2 years, there’s no way for the system to compensate any longer and no energy to repair it.

    • “I blame general Western affluenza and complacency.”

      I don’t disagree. In fact, this is what the imagery of my post conjures up: people holed up in a mall, wearing Benneton shirts, and dining on the last fineries of the world while chaos spreads all around them. They just build that wall. Build it taller. Keep the “bad hombres” out.

  4. Thankfully, the crowd refused to give in to the fear of the Apokolips today despite Darkeseid’s minion running (or ruining) the game. 3 clear penalties not given and lots of other non fouls. It must be fun to be at the top of your profession despite being terrible at it. It must be even more fun when such systemic ineptitude is a great mask for any corruption.

    But Ozil playing in midfield, and having a really influential and energetic performance. Xhaka looked really good too, and Elneny at the least brought some discipline along with his energy.

    I thought we looked defensively secure. Much more than recently, and though we weren’t the most efficient in attack, we seemed to be almost non stop at it and creating chances/causing chaos.

    Of course, this was ‘only’ West Ham (plus Atkinson) but I enjoyed that Arsenal performance. 4 points behind City with a game in hand, and 6 behind Liverpool with 2 games in hand. Hopefully groundwork laid for a revival in form and fortune.

    • Shocking refereeing from Atkinson.
      Too bad Untold Arsenal took on a perfectly worthy cause of PL refereeing anti- Arsenal bias/incompetence and ruined it with their own slightly lesser pro Arsenal one.

      • Untold Arsenal was always pro-Arsenal. I haven’t been there for some time so no idea what it’s like now. But they were the first to talk about referee biases/corruption and evolved mechanisms to study it impartially. That they then wrote sensationalist headlines and articles occasionally to be heard among the din, I don’t hold against them.

        When they started, the idea of referees deciding games or championships was seen as outlandish, and idea of bias brushed aside because every fan thinks their team is disadvantaged. But it is now generally accepted that Arsenal get it in the neck from referees. Our own failings notwithstanding. For that, I think they deserve some credit. Whether they go overboard or not.

  5. There were a lot of standout performances today that included the goal scorers and the usual big name suspects. I did want to highlight a very composed and efficient game from Gabriel as Koscienly’s replacement. Well done.

    There was on the other hand one stand out atrocious performer on the day and that was Martin Atkinson who would not have given his mother a penalty if she were in red and white and had been drawn and quartered in the penalty box.

    • The foul against Monreal in stoppage time was the most egregious penalty not called that I can remember. And it’s not like Atkinson was unsighted. The overwhelming impression in that moment was that he didn’t want to give a penalty because it was clear to everyone we were already winning comfortably and he saw no reason to help us rub salt in their wounds.

      If so (and it’s hard to believe his eyesight is so bad that it was an honest mistake) then it’s SHOCKING unprofessionalism. Is this another one of Mike Riley’s unwritten rules–don’t let a team run up the score in stoppage time–just like the one about not letting a perfectly legitimate goal stand if the ball ricocheted off an attacker’s arm before finding the net? If Arsenal lose out on the top four on goal difference by a single goal, we ought to sue that muppet.

  6. Come on now, I’m tempted to believe she his whole blog is aimed as a hyperbolic tongue in cheek statement towards the idiots who sponsor plane flyovers and start fights after matches. You don’t seriously believe this stuff, nor should anyone else.

    It’s just fookin football mate! And it shouldn’t mix with politics, or the Bible, ever.

    • I’m always a mixture of hyperbole and strongly held beliefs. For example, I do think that America is becoming a sort of garden state. That we are like the folks in the mall in DotD: well appointed, well armed, aware of our surroundings, but just dining out on the the end days. But my main point is that rust, not bust, is the main state of collapse. As someone points out below, entropy is the norm. Anyway, take it how you want. I’m just here shouting into the void.

  7. One could argue that this is not The End but a New Beginning – the definitive Kroenke ownership era with now fully Arsenal following the Kroenke ownership model:

    Fantastically lucrative teams playing very mediocre seasons. Year after year. Then when Emirates Stadium gets old (it’s already been 11 years now) maybe Las Vegas will get a Premier League team. This could be the real start of Kroenke purgatory.

    Or not. Good stuff from us yesterday though and great to see. We are not quite yet The Walking Dead.

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