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Football as war: bizarre Chinese TV commercial for Euro 2012

May 21st, 2012

Glad to see our Chinese friends are getting such a balanced view of Europe. This three and half minute commercial for the UEFA Euro 2012 official Chinese broadcaster Now TV has it all: images of the Blitz; Stalingrad; Warsaw; the siege of Berlin, an earthquake in the middle of the pitch. And for good measure the backing track’s the The Russian Revolution sung by the Red Army Choir, with a bit of Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu thrown in towards the end…

This has got me wondering. Is this really how the Chinese see the Europeans? (But then given all the recent infighting over the future of the euro, maybe the analogy of football as war isn’t too wide of the mark).

Here’s what Irish website joe.ie has to say about the Now TV advert:-

…certainly beats all other Euro 012 ads we have seen so far in terms of effort.

But the first sign we should be worried was the sign of the Eiffel Tower, The Coliseum and Big Ben all in flames. After that it calms down and we have lots of cartoon football, expertly rendered.

But soon we have planes dropping bombs on the field and soldiers firing guns at players. In the end the footballers survive and the war is ended.

Is the ad about the triumph of sport over war? Are they referencing George Orwell’s old maxim that ‘serious sport is war, minus the shooting’? Did they just look at Europe and think World War II?

We have no idea but we are both intrigued and appalled by this ad.

The quote comes from an essay, “The Sporting Spirit“, that George Orwell (aka Eric Arthur Blair) wrote for Tribune in December 1945. The full quote is as follows:

“Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting.”

The essay also includes the lines:-

“There are quite enough real causes of  trouble already, and we need not add to them by encouraging young men to kick each other on the shins amid the roars of infuriated spectators.”

“I am always amazed when I hear people saying that sport creates goodwill between the nations”

Short URL: https://www.ianfraser.org/?p=7000

Posted by on May 21 2012. Filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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