This latest Warnie muppet stuff is just brilliant.
It is totally and completely 2013 in so many different ways, and yet it’s not. It’s about professional sport, mass entertainment, popular culture, mass media, celebrity, social media and the rotation policy.
I haven’t seen the Tweets but it’s being reported (and in popular culture that matters) that Shane Keith Warne (whom some blokes would like to have been, be, and always be) has called Pat Howard (who is the head of team performance at Cricket Australia) a muppet and, I assume, Cricket Australia has, by inference, become a house of muppets. So that would suggest that James Sutherland has muppet tendencies as well.
Muppet is a very Melbourne word. It’s part of the language of Warnie’s tribe. It is the preferred word of talkback callers to Melbourne sports radio station SEN1116 and is trotted out like a right hook in a pub. Rather than dissembling the argument of those who happen to have a different view, callers will label their antagonists a ‘Muppet’, which in Melbourne seems to mean they have no idea what they’re talking about and they should de-sock and piss off. Interestingly, this seems to work in some cases.
Shane Warne is not a ‘muppet’ in the eyes of talkback callers. He is an ‘anti-muppet’. Indeed he is the anti-muppet. He has taken a squillion wickets and almost made a Test century, licked melted Kraft singles from the hollow between the shoulder blades of thousands of women, dobbed goals from the pocket in celebrity footy matches, played golf on the great tracks of the world, driven fast cars around Carlisle and places even more attractive (and has done his bit for motorists who are bullied by cyclists) and played poker hands for more money than I’ll earn in a life-time.
Warnie is an international playboy. James Sutherland is a cricket administrator. This is a meeting of the shiny-faced and the shiny-arsed.
When Warnie chose Twitter to launch his attack on Cricket Australia he was acting as that international playboy. He wasn’t thinking about Brand Warne and Strategy and Policy and Process. Warnie is a see-ball-get-ball sort of bloke. He was pissed off with the rotation policy and, given the state of mind he has been in since the vinegar strokes of the BBL, he just let fly.
He can. He’s Warnie. He is big. Big. Big. His opinions carry a lot of authority. James Sutherland trots his out next to a KFC banner, Warnie trots his out next to Liz Hurley.
He couldn’t accept James Sutherland’s invitation to have a private chat because he was busy with his poker commitments.
Warnie is his own man. He wouldn’t be moved to tears by the approval of some bullying celebrity chef who said his Marmite mullet with pelican-poop jus was OK. He wouldn’t need to ask.
Warnie is also big, big, big in terms of reach. He has a million Twitter-followers and his tweets, as we are seeing, are considered newsworthy.
Warnie is definitely not a ‘Muppet’ in the traditional sense of the SEN word either. When it comes to cricket he is as intuitive as the first Greek who put two and two together from a bath-tub. He knows the game. He understands the game. He is connected to the game.
And surely, in Warnie’s mind, this is ultimately what this issue is about: cricket.
Warnie will find a lot of support for his argument against the rotation policy. It already exists in the community – there are some thinkers out here as well. Whatever happened to winning your spot, fighting for your spot, establishing your spot, and leading. D.K. Lillee was great mates with Thommo but don’t tell me he didn’t go to bed thinking that he was Atlas to Thommo’s Dionysus.
The rotation policy stinks. And Warnie told us so, in his own way.
To suggest that Warnie has gone over the top, that he is ahead of himself, that he’s so big internationally that he’s living in his own reality is an intriguing part of this. But it’s not the main part in this case. He may have done all of that.
He may be living in his own reality. But that puts him one up on me: I live in my own illusion.