My favourite interpretation of the riots in Egypt and Tunisia – over which ignorance still restrains me from prognosticating – has come from Spike Milligan’s rotund Yankee spawn Glenn Beck. Communists! Islamists! And, er – Acorn! Around the world he flits, desperately trying to wedge pet hates into a narrative of Muslimo-Marxist suppression. None of it makes a lick of sense.
I know this tactic as Coincidence?!: the invocation of disparate factoids and semblances that might carry dark implications but are never pieced together into a coherent narrative that sceptics might interrogate. As portentous claim after ominous assertions hits one’s consciousness human patternicity overwhelms reason. This is very useful for tarring one’s opponents. For example, say I’ve got a deep, ingrained hatred of football. Well, I hear that football fans are a significant influence on the riots in Egypt. And what’s about the only demographic to have benefited from the Iraq war? Yes, footballers. Hrm – interesting. Now, is it coincidence that the Palestinian football team chose this of all occasions to tour Pakistan? Well, possibly. But is it just coincidence that the Saudis have had to do away with the president of their football federation? Hrm.
Then it hits you. Ah, yes, then it hits you. Ever wondered why Qatar triumphed in their world cup bid? Yes, it’s undeniable: the forces of football have been stamping their authority across the Middle East. They’re erecting a footballiphate. A socialist bootopia.