So what's the beef? Turning a blind eye ingrained in our DNA
Tipping Point:As someone who for a short while eked out a meagre living by flipping burgers, let me tell you the question of whether or not you’re eating a Gowran Park also-ran shouldn’t be top of your gourmand concern-list. That’s all I’ll say, except for this tip: never, ever, and I mean, ever, pee-off the person preparing your heart-attack-in-a-bag. Things have been done to patties that no stewards’ inquiry could ever adjudicate on.
Still, there’s no doubt, once in a while, there’s nothing quite like getting your laughing gear around a slab of ethnically diverse off-cut. You don’t have to be baked either. You just want to feel that comforting cross-Border cholesterol heading for the heart.
Even us ex-burger jockeys who’ve been in the sweaty after-hours trenches, stoutly repelling pissed-up comedians with their Ustinovian epigrams – “bu’guh’ n’ chips ye c*** ye” – are tempted by such a snack and square it in our heads by the simple method of looking away.
It doesn’t matter where. Anyplace bar where greasy, resentful, under-paid fingers are mauling your meal.
You don’t have to be Brian Cox to twig where this is going, right?
Looking away is the justifiable method through which wars have been fought and famines ignored. As a species there are few things we do better than ignoring qualms in favour of maintaining our illusions. And since lots of us cherish sporting illusions, presumably we have chosen to ignore a lot over the years.
It’s getting harder though. Just in the last week there’s been Fuentes in Madrid, then the former president of Real Sociedad announcing the club bought its players illegal substances for years.
Depths of cheating
Then the Aussies come out and declare we’d be disgusted if we knew the depths of cheating going on in the land of the fair-go.
And if it hasn’t been doping, it’s been fixing; Europe’s Plod dramatically painting a picture of football as being bent as an ‘S’ hook, with fortunes made and lost gambling on the score, or the time of the first corner-kick or when Cristiano Ronaldo plucks the last of his chest-hairs before running out on to the pitch.
It’s a depressing litany. Even if for those of us even faintly acquainted with the day-to-day realities of betting, it’s hard to square the fanciful notion of millions being made in rigged football matches with the more mundane reality of the teller at your local bookies ringing head office to see if they can accept a bet that barely involves three-figures and doesn’t carry the profit-generating aroma of mug punter.
You see a bet only works if someone is prepared to lay it. And the idea of bookmaker chains that can digitally track even the tiniest trend not being picking up on a flood of activity on a 3-2 result in Slovenia is ridiculous. But it is all “Far-East stuff” we’re told, like oriental bookies aren’t glorified accountants in the manner of the rest of the world.