The Immortality Project – or – Death and Denial – Guest Post by Humble Pie
Death has a tendency to put everything else into perspective.
My family recently suffered a bereavement. It wasn’t a sudden death but it was still far too quick and far too soon for any of us to get our heads around. As our loved one’s illness progressed, each of us, in our own way, began to prepare for the inevitable. In the end, whilst it was not unexpected, it was nevertheless very traumatic, for everyone concerned.
Grief is a strange and often debilitating set of emotions. Even now, a few months on, when the intense sadness and tears have given way (mostly) to disbelief, we still find it hard to fully comprehend what has happened. We might never completely ‘come to terms’ with that fact, however, we do accept that it DID happen, much as we all wish that it hadn’t.
Many of you will be familiar with the Kubler-Ross model of the five stages of grief; Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Well, I am aware of having experienced each of these stages over the last year, as well as a couple of others which I wasn’t prepared for (a lot of personal reflection, a little guilt and a not insignificant amount of pain).
It seems to me that the Rangers supporters have been purposefully ensnared in an interminable cycle of the first two stages of KR; alternating between the denial of the death of Rangers and anger at what they feel has been done to their beloved club then back again to denial. This, as any first year psychology student will tell you, is a very unhealthy state of mind which, if not addressed, can quickly lead to physiological and behavioural problems.
At its lowest level, for example, people throughout the ages have continued to set places at the dinner table for their long-dead loved ones. They know in their hearts that the person has died but are comforted by the familiarity of doing the same things that they have always done. However, in extreme cases people have even kept and maintained the actual cadavers of the deceased, dressed them, talked to them and watched TV with them, in a state of absolute denial.
In archaeology, accepting and recognising the inevitability of death through conducting ceremonial burial services is considered to be one of the very first signs of a civilised people. You see, grief is a uniquely human and cathartic process i.e. it can produce ‘a feeling of being cleansed emotionally, spiritually, or psychologically as a result of an intense emotional experience’.
In short, grief is ultimately a good thing which leads you through a series of natural psychological steps towards acknowledgement of an unalterable situation, allowing you to take stock, re-evaluate and start to move on with your own life in a positive way.
That is what should have happened with the fans of the old Rangers.
Instead, this ‘never-ending cycle of the undead’ was positively encouraged by those many unscrupulous individuals who saw a way of making a fast buck from maintaining the ‘Then, Now and Forever’ illusion. Worse still, this resurrection fantasy is being facilitated by the very people whom we have entrusted to stop this kind of thing from happening in the first place. If only the SFA or the MSM had told them the truth, they might have had a chance to actually face up to the situation.
Unfortunately, these two bodies were so complicit in Rangers demise, so right up to their necks in the brown smelly stuff, that they were too afraid to face the inevitable anger which would have rightly come their way. So, they made up grim fairy tales to feed to the bereaved souls about non-existent ‘holding companies’, the ethereal ‘club’ which transcends death and by suggesting that it is ‘all a matter of opinion’.
Ernest Becker, in his 1973 Pulitzer Prize winning book ‘The Denial of Death’, posits that “human civilization is no more than an elaborate, symbolic defence mechanism against the knowledge of our own mortality”. This fear of death acts as an emotional and intellectual response to our basic survival instincts.
‘By embarking on what Becker refers to as an ‘immortality project’, in which a person creates or becomes part of something which they feel will last forever, the person feels they too have become part of something eternal; something that will never die, compared to their physical body that will die one day’. When this ‘immortality project’ is threatened it leads inevitably to fear, depression, loss of identity and sense of purpose.
In that case, the initial reaction of the fans to the imminent demise of Rangers was entirely predictable and understandable. “No way, this can’t happen to us, we are the people”. However, as soon as the full realisation of their club’s inexorable slide into liquidation began to sink in, came the expected anger. But towards whom should their righteous wrath be directed?
“Who did this to us, who are these people?” they cried. “Not I”, said Sir Murray of the Mint, “for I was duped”, “Nor I”, said President Ogilvie, “for it was never my role”. “Nor I”, said Mr Smith, “for I never knew nothing or nothing”. “Not us”, squealed the media monkeys in unison, “for that’s what we were told”, “Nor us”, said the SPL “it was nothing to do with us”.
“Who then?, we demand to know who these people are”, howled the horrified hordes. “T’was the Whyte knight”, they all concurred, “he alone caused this calamity”. “And the bampots”, sneered the slimy slug. “And the taxman”, puffed the pundits. “And the unseen hand of Mr Lawwell”, whispered the bilious bears from the safety of their den.
There were even those who tried to warn them, not least Hugh Adam, Phil Mac and RTC but they didn’t want to know. Even when their very own Messrs Green and Traynor spelt out, in no uncertain terms, that liquidation meant the death of their club, still they chose wilful ignorance. The MSM, with access to the same information, encouraged them to keep their heads firmly ensconced, ostrich stylee, on the banks of that ironically blue and white river in Egypt. Which just goes to show ‘you can lead a lamb to knowledge but you can’t make it think’
The point though is that the Rangers fans have heard the truth and once you have heard something you cannot unhear it. Even if you reject it, even if you deny it, it gnaws away at the back of your mind, infecting your subconscious.
Almost a year ago, I posted the following on TSFM. http://theinternetbampot.wordpress.com/2012/09/ in which I postulated that the SFA were too frightened to say anything which might imply that The Rangers were a new club.
Looking back at that post, I am amazed at how little the landscape has changed.
A year on and it has become apparent that the corporate cancer that destroyed Rangers has continued to metastasize in its new host. Charlotte’s revelations may have shown us that the rabbit hole goes much deeper than we first suspected. However, in my humble opinion, the information provided has only succeeded in ‘poisoning the well’ and deflecting attention from the main culprits in this disaster. Layer upon layer of complexity has been added to an already opaque story and the majority of her utterances appear designed to engage the more enquiring minds on this forum and consume their excess mental energy.
I know that some people are bored with this ‘debate’ but, to my mind, the single most important step for the redemption of Scottish football is the fan’s acceptance that The Rangers, who currently ply their trade in the SPFL First Division, are a new club. Once they have accepted that then everything else that they perceive has happened to them will begin to make sense. They will see that rather than everyone having a fly kick at them when they were down, most were actually trying to help them. It will also dawn on them that the very people who have been telling them that there is an anti-Rangers conspiracy against them are actually the same ones who are screwing them over.
Rangers were not relegated to div 3, The Rangers applied as a new club and were granted entry into the bottom tier of Scottish football. They are not banned from European competition, merely ineligible as a new club without the requisite financial ‘history’. Any reference to ‘rulings’ from ECA, ASA, the BBC Trust and any internal or so-called ‘independent’ enquiries are completely irrelevant, as none of these bodies are the final arbiter in this case. Scots Law is clear that there is no distinction between club and company after incorporation, when the company dies the club dies with it. That is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of fact.
Sooner or later The Rangers fans are going to realise this fact and when they do, there will be hell to pay. Until they do, their new club can never become truly cleansed. Only then can they move on and only then can they join together with fans of other clubs to root out the real cancer at the heart of Scottish football. That’s why the MSM and the SFA are still petrified to say anything. In the meantime the real creators of this disaster are sneakily positioning themselves further and further away from the scene of the crime.
I am sure the majority of us would happily accept a new Rangers, cleansed of its financial, emotional and supremacist baggage. A club that all decent Rangers fans could support without feeling any guilt about Rangers downfall or that they were being taken for mugs. The prospect of a new dawn in Scottish football, where sporting integrity took primacy and clubs lived within their means was very real. However, as usual the SFA couldn’t miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
The truth is that Scottish football is in the state it is in, not because Rangers died but because those with the power and mandate to effect the prognosis sat back and did nothing. I am sure that they believe that ‘time heals all wounds’ and that the longer this injustice is allowed to stand the more likely it will be accepted by the man in the street. No doubt the authorities feel it is in the national interest to ‘let sleeping dogs lie’. However I cannot accept this. I believe that it is vital that we are able to face up to reality so we can move on for the benefit of all football supporters.
Scottish football is at a crossroads right now, I think we all feel it. Rampant corruption has become so mainstream that many of our fellow supporters have began to accept this as the norm. However, it just doesn’t sit right with me and I suspect that many regular contributors and readers of this blog feel likewise.
We have quite lost our way and we live in a society which spends vast amounts of money paying people like Jack Irvine to ensure that we stay lost. The mainstream media treat us like little imbeciles and demand that we conform to their assumed ‘professional superiority’. The PR machine plays up to our stereotypes and feeds our fantasies while the poorest people pay to swallow their poisonous propaganda and relentless trivia.
So what can we do ? Clearly, battering out a few blog posts and strongly worded letters to the various authorities involved has been rewarded by the square root of FA.
How can we make this an opportunity for growth rather than contributing to the destruction of Scottish football ? It is not good enough to tear down a system unless we have a better system to replace it. However, I believe that it is not the system itself which is broken. It is that those charged with administering the system are hopelessly corrupted, hugely conflicted and unable to apply their rules without fear or favour.
By their incapacity and inaction (wilful or otherwise) the SFA have facilitated a motley crew of various spivs, chancers and con-artists to glean the last few meagre pickings from the bones of the emaciated loyal supporters of this new club purporting to be the once mighty Rangers. They have permitted these ne’er-do-wells to collectively appropriate many tens of millions of pounds from the Rangers fans, the creditors and the public purse. They have already allowed this corporate malignancy to spread to a new host, ‘The Rangers’, and the absence of ‘moral hazard’ makes it more likely that the disease will continue to spread.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “‘Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Someone else once said, “The wages of sin are death, but by the time taxes are taken out, it’s just sort of a tired feeling.”
I sense that we are all beginning to get tired of this. It is time to stand together, all football fans, face the facts and direct our anger against the officers of the SFA who have allowed this sham to develop into a catastrophe.
I have no doubt that my humble opinions expressed here will raise the ire of many deluded souls. However, I am comfortable in the knowledge that the only people who get mad at you for speaking the truth are those that are living a lie.
RIP Big Man.
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