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2022 FIFA World Cup


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A most misunderstood song. It is not about arbitrary “Killing an Arab” as many assume, but a song about “The Arab” in 1942 Albert Camus’ novel L’Etranger (The Stranger) set in French Algiers.

The main character “Meursault” befriend his neighbour “Raymond Santes” who used to beat up his mistress. A group of locals, referred to as “The Arabs” confront Meursaut and Raymond and the Broyjer of the Mistress aka “The Arab” stabs Raymond.

Later Meursaut walks back along the beach seeking revenge, hence the first verse

“Standing on a beach
With a gun in my hand
Staring at the sea
Staring at the sand”

The third verse is if more telling, it actually has the title of the novel in it for anyone who cares to pay attention

“I'm alive
I'm dead
I'm the stranger
Killing an arab”


But rather than see the song for what is is, a musical interpretation of a classic novel, it is much easier to judge it as a racist song. After all how could a Goth from a comprehensive school understand the classics, tat was the preserve of graduates of Oxbridge 

The Stranger

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Not sure about Aus, in the USA it didn’t originally come with a warning when released in 1970 but he “Singles Compilation” released in 1986 later had a sticker after a student DJ gave an anti Arab speech before playing the track on college radio.

Wasn't required in the UK because, back then, the UK did not have offensive a DJ’s except for Jimmy Saville.

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In the temple of suspect slogans and sweetened holy water 

Joe Bennett, Nov 30 2022


OPINION: Religious festivals are as old as our species. And right now there’s a fine one taking place in the Middle East, next door to where Islam, Christianity and Judaism began. It’s called the Fifa World Cup.

It’s made the desert bloom. Half a dozen startling temples have risen from the sand, with rich green grass and cool conditioned air. The Latin for temple is fanum. One who worships at a temple is a fanatic. And how the fanatics have flocked.

Islam, as host religion, flexed its moral muscles at the last minute. It clamped down on gays and beer. There would be no beer in stadiums and no gay armbands on the pitch. Fifa knew it was over a barrel. It took its spanking like a man.

The Germans got round the armband ban by wearing gay boots. Then they lost to Japan. And Catholic Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia. It was hard not to conclude that Allah had queered the pitch.

But Islam prevails in countries too hot for good football, and Judaism is too scattered to get a team together, so the dominant on-field faith is Christianity. Players cross themselves as they run onto the pitch. If they are blessed with a goal they run to their teammates for some ever-so hetero hugging and kissing, but once the orgy's over they turn eyes to the sky and flick God a “thank you”. Which is nice of them and modest. Yet if they miss a penalty, they take the blame themselves. They never lay it on God.

The fanatics do something similar. At vital moments they pray. But if the prayer goes unanswered, they don't shake their fists at the sky. They just boo the ref. It seems that God can do no wrong. Nice work if you can get it.

The loudest religious expression, however, is found neither in the stands nor on the pitch. It's on the advertising hoardings that lie between the congregation and the altar. Here the big boy corporations wage a battle for belief in themselves. Their words are religious and absolute. 

VISA, the credit card company, describes itself in just one word: 'Everywhere.' Like you know who. Adidas uses three: “Impossible is nothing.” Like the son of you know who, only he didn’t need sneakers to do miracles. And McDonald's, the global purveyor of loaves and fishes, boasts that “We deliver”. From evil, presumably. 

But the biggest boy in absolutist advertising, the champion of commercial theology, is Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola has nothing to do with football. Indeed, Coke has nothing to do with anything but itself. But through decades of marketing it has assumed near-divinity.

Coke is everywhere like VISA, and it is also limitless. However much is drunk there is always more. It is Coke without end. And its recipe is a secret. None but the highest clergy may know how Coke came into being. And though everybody knows Coke, it defies definition, except in its own terms. Coke is it, runs the old slogan. Why is Coke it? Because it is Coke. 

It’s the classic circular argument of theology. God is good. Why is God good? Because he is God. It’s an argument that begs the question. It leaves no toehold for dispute.

Coke has a new slogan for the World Cup: “Believing is Magic”. It's the usual bunkum - linking two abstract ideas with each other and with Coke to enhance the stuff’s vague religious aura. But it’s also bang-on. Belief that sweetened fizzy water is somehow more than sweetened fizzy water has turned Coke into a billion-dollar business. That’s magic. And it fits right in to any religious festival.



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Bennett, Joe (1957 – ) is a columnist and travel writer. Born in Eastbourne, England, Bennett was educated at the University of Cambridge and worked for many years teaching English. He has been a full-time freelance writer since 1998 and his columns are syndicated in newspapers throughout New Zealand. Bennett has lived in New Zealand since 1987. He has also been Qantas Media Awards Columnist of the Year three times.........



he is also the author of the phrase - "I've been known to crawl over broken bottles, to get to full ones..."





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So he couldn’t hack it in the UK and tried his luck down under then. Approx 80% of all  Kiwis have British ancestry so not really surprised.

What I was taught was Templum - Temple and Fanum = Shrine, one may argue that they are the same thing but I consider a Temple a Wat and a Shrine a Spirit House.

Again only the Latin I was taught many moons ago and my interpretation on definitions.

Sematics asides, still a pretty poor attempt at satire. Bennet was probably sacked in the UK for offering work like this for publication and relocated to New Zealand where the readership is far easily amused.






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