Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My aim is...

Belatedly, I find that my defence of negative criticism has an unlikely, posthumous supporter, in the form of the late Spurs legend Danny Blanchflower. Apparently, in 1967 he found work as a commentator for CBS, which was televising the short-lived National Professional Soccer League, and soon caused consternation with his bosses for insisting on telling it how it was (which usually wasn’t much good). Matters came to a head when he criticised a goalkeeper who let in a shot from 35 yards:
“We think you could have said it was a good shot,” they insisted.
“It would not be the truth,” I said.
“We don't want you to tell lies,” they argued. “We think there are two truths: a positive truth and a negative truth. We want you to be positive—to say it was a good play rather than bad.”
I had never met men before who worshiped two truths. Why had such inventive souls stopped at only two, I wondered? Why not four truths? Or 10? The philosophical winds of it swept through my mind. If they had two truths they must have two gods. Honor thy father and thy mother and thy two gods.... Positive and Negative. If their life was a conflict between two gods, had Satan, that fallen angel, been banished from CBS as well as heaven? Or did it imply that CBS was heaven? (It was easy money, and it sure felt like heaven there at times on the 26th floor.) But if there was no bad, how could there be good?

No comments: