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Gooners no longer think Arshavin is a superman
In the real world of fantasy, supermen do not suck. They always save the world; they always win. This is important because in the real world our supermen suck…always. They suck because we have a warped view of what a superman is.
In the fairy world of our imagination, we accomplish amazing things—we speak seven languages, we get the beautiful girl or the handsome guy; we dazzle our potential employer with our brilliant performance at the interview for our dream job. We rush headlong to the subway track to snatch the helpless victim away from certain death just in the nick of time.
We finally get the chance to appear on Britain’s Got Talent or American Idol, and what’s more, we win the entire thing. We hit a jackpot and donate the proceeds to charity to feed the poor souls in drought-ravaged Sudan, the whole world is astounded and we receive universal acclaim, etc.
The fairy land of our imagination is an unending fantasy that constantly plays in our minds. The hero is always us. Only problem is reality makes mockery of our fantasies. So we get others to act out our fantasies for us—celebrities, sportsmen and women.
We project ourselves to our chosen alter egos—our favorite actors, our favorite sports team, etc.
Like in the incessant fantasy in our minds, we want our alter ego to always win. “Boom, boom, boom,” goes the action movie to our delight. Rambo kills all the villains, manages to dodge all the bullets and grenades. Our crush remains young and beautiful or strong. Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, always win.
Only that, like in our personal reality, doesn’t happen. Arsenal lose too many times. What’s more, they can suddenly decide to go on an injury spree (didn’t they ever know that supermen doesn’t get injured?) or on a losing streak.
Having lived long enough in the real world to know life is different from the reel of fantasy in our heads, we don’t mind the minor or odd setback in our alter egos.
We accept that there’s that crack in time when we are shocked to see that our crush is not that beautiful (handsome), as a matter of fact, we find them rather repulsive in that fleeting moment. We are okay with this because this happens only in the odd moment.
So Manchester City beat us? We can accept that; it’s that odd wrinkle in time. Heck, it even feels weirdly good to meet FC Barcelona from time to time and get beat.
It give us the psychological fix that comes from being the underdog, the one trampled upon by the mighty, but who one day shall rise surely to strike the mighty Goliath. So what happens when we beat Barcelona in London?
There you have it.
Now here’s the odd thing: we call Arsenal, “we.” That’s the problem. We don’t lose in our fantasy land, barring the odd wrinkle in time.
The “we” does not go on a losing streak. The “we” always makes the right substitution. The “we” always scores and does not shoot directly at the ‘keeper like Theo Walcott. The “we” never makes defensive errors…come to think of it, the “we” in our dream never concedes any goals.
That’s not totally true. “We” deliberately concede to make for the climatic ending.
Fact is, life sucks. Life limits. Life reminds us too rudely of our impotence.
Our sport teams empower us. They are the rabbit hole through which we gain access to the wonderland of our dreams. Our teams release the supermen and superwomen in us. It is the reason why it’s expedient that our teams do not suck.
When they do, they become useless to us, too mundane, too real life.
Ask any Arsenal fan right now, he or she would say that Arsenal are too much like real life. The superman is really a latex-padded runt.
The real object of the fans' anger isn’t Arsene Wenger per se. If Wenger can somehow revive their superman, make him a true Übermensch again, the boos would dry up to be replaced by the clichéd chorus, “In Wenger we Trust.”
Yes, the fans were right to boo the man they perceive (note the word) as the obstacle between them and the alter ego they know, the one who fulfills their fantasy. They want to be like other nations so who can blame them for voicing this desire in the strongest of terms?
Boos were right.