If you’ve not yet seen the incident let me set the scene. QPR, staring down the barrel of relegation, are holding Man City (who essentially need victory to win their first title in 44 years) to a 1-1 draw. There are 35minutes to go in the match when Pantomime-Villainy’s Joey Barton, appears to elbow Carlos Tevez in the face off the ball. After a a long consultation with his linesman, referee Mike Dean says “Dean you later,” and sends Barton off. Then this happens:
A-History-of-Assault-and-Battery’s Joey Barton then explained his actions on Twitter, stating that “The head was never gone at any stage, once I’d been sent off, one of our players suggested I should try to take 1 of theirs with me…” maybe it’s just my love of controversy but I thought this was a reasonable, maybe even noble explanation for his latest sojourn into violence. But it is the reaction to Barton on Twitter that has inspired this post. Barton’s tweeting has been well publicised, particularly his quoting of Nietzsche. No sooner had he kneed Sergio Aguero in the arse than people were throwing Nietzsche quotes back in his face. Which got me wondering; what would Nietzsche have made of the actions of Her-Majesty’s-Prison’s Joey Barton?
I suspect that not many of those people who were mocking Barton have studied Nietzsche. Luckily I have a philosophy degree, my office is down the hall from some of the greatest philosophical minds in… Wellington, and I have easy access to some of the greatest philosophical works of our time (and Wikipedia). So after an entire morning of research let me enlighten you.
Nietzsche is a moral anti-realist. That is to say he believed objective moral facts do not exist. Or, put more simply, maybe too simply, there is no morally right course of action. So, according to Nietzsche all of those people who have been castigating Shoreditch’s Joey Barton, on some sort of moral grounds need to do one.
Nietzsche also believed that people could be split into higher and lower types. What makes a person fall into the category of a higher type? Apparently “the concept of greatness, entails being noble, wanting to be by oneself, being able to be different, standing alone and having to live independently,” maybe this sounds a bit too ambiguous to be describing Showing-His-Arse-To-Away-Supporters’ Joey Barton. Nietzsche elaborates further on the higher man by stating that he “knows how to make enemies everywhere,…[He] constantly contradicts the great majority not through words but through deeds.” That’s more like it.
So for all of those taking to the Twittersphere to have a go Running-Around-a-Football-Pitch-Telling-Other-Players-How-Much-Money-He-Earns’ Joey Barton and his gall being a footballer and mentioning Nietzsche, bare in mind that it seems like the man himself at worst wouldn’t have been too fussed with the morality of Barton’s actions, and at best would have held him up as an example of the higher man. Either that or just call him a knob and be done with it.