70's pseudo-soap, Soap, provided warped twists to reality while also treating the downright improbable as a standard daily occurrence.
In its own way, Soap was a postmodern entity in that the show paraded the interaction between two dysfunctional extended American families as a series of images precessing through the phases to a total simulation of a family's Real purpose, if any such purpose exists.
Marital infidelity has never been so enjoyable.
The media output, news, stories, economies of truth, propaganda and disinformation of the last week in the world of Premiership football brought Soap back to mind, for that is what the beautiful game has become.
Firstly, Premiership football morphed into something that looked a little bit like football but somehow wasn't. Then Premiership football spent its time hiding the fact that it was, in fact, not really much to do with 23 men on a pitch with a ball at all anymore. Now Premiership football is entering the territory of the Hyperreal - Total Simulation.
Check out the crescendo of hype being decibelled up as we approach the solution to this year's version of the Crime.
A focus on the critical importance of maintaining an hysterical level of interest to the termination of this Crime is shared in a range of boardrooms - Sky, Setanta, the Premier League, the press, advertisers, the bookmakers and the clubs themselves (financially, at least).
Because we are also conditioned to spectacular climaxes, our whole lives having become just one long series of super-spectacles of dubious Reality, we too demand that the climax is orgasmic. The sense of deflation that would result if a Premiership premature ejaculation was the final scene would stop some viewers switching back on for the next series of the soap - Season 2008/2009.
To the plot so far...
"This is a story about two oligarchs, Roman Abramovich and Thaksin Shinawatra. This is Chelsea. And this is Manchester City, and this is SOAP.
"Chelsea are run by an oligarch, Roman, with close links to both Gazprom and the Kremlin.
"Arsenal are being slowly taken over by an oligarch, Alisher, who also has close links to both Gazprom and the Kremlin. Alisher has allegedly made money from the drug trade and is close to people who think that boiling babies is a bit of a hoot.
"Roman has upset Boris, another oligarch, who does not get on with Gazprom or the Kremlin at all but who gets on very well indeed with Alisher. Boris says Roman used 'threats and intimidation' to get his financial wont.
"Nikolai is a friend of Boris who was in jail in Russia. But Roman could get him out of jail. Boris now wants £2 billion off Roman. Meanwhile, an editor at Alisher's newspaper 'falls' to his death from a hotel window in Moscow.
"Roman's empire is managed by holocaust survivor, Avram, who is married to an Israeli tv presenter and who is very very upset with the press. In a bizarre press conference he told the journalists: 'You can write whatever you want and I can answer what I want'. Of course, the press absolutely do write whatever they want.
"'Chelsea cheat. That is how they win. Arsenal prefer integrity. That is why they lose'. These are not sentiments that might find a place in the mainstream media.
"Arsenal are managed by Arsène. He is angry with the Premier League, the referees and the media. After his team had suffered an outrageous, and highly predictable run of corruption against their interests, Arsène complained: 'This team has been punished in the last seven weeks more so than any team I have seen'.
"Arsenal are not helped by the fact that Jens hates Manuel - 'I know he hates me' - and Nicklas hates one of the Emmanuel's' too. Fans have now stopped going to watch Arsenal as the modern day fan demands spectacular prizes as a reward for spectacular corruption. Arsenal are thinking of suing the Premier League for corruption against their interests and the financial losses accruing thereof.
"Chelsea are fighting against Manchester United for the Crime's Big Prize. Or, rather, Chelsea Reserves are fighting Man Utd Reserves for the 2nd Biggest Prize. Manchester have already won but the scammers require our mock climax. Following Chelsea's failure to beat Wigan in an allegedly fixed match, it was necessary to prevent Manchester winning in Lancashire. No problem. Rob earned some more decking and garden furniture courtesy of Roman after denying the Reds two obvious penalties.
"The BBC remains the prime media for Premiership football - propaganda for the elite, as ever. Lawro works for the Premier League. Lawro reckoned that the two incorrect penalty decisions 'didn't spoil the game', presumably meaning that is suitably spoiled already. Ian and Lee work for bookmakers. Ian has left the BBC complaining that he is only allowed to tell jokes containing an innuendo about lines of coke when really he has been sacked. Meanwhile, Lee just keeps on lying but always looks guilty when he is doing it.
"The only competition that is real (in the Illusory sense) is the Champions League which, this year, sees one national champion out of the last four teams. Roman will surely attempt to buy a place in the Final in Moscow having already bought Russia a place in the Euro 2008 Finals which follow. Opponents, Liverpool, are allegedly in crisis with Tom not talking to George or Rafa, Rafa not too happy with Rick but moderately keen on George while David's moustache gets more luxuriant.
"Rafa is consulting his lawyers after Neil, from a crystal palace, suggested: 'Integrity, doing what is right for the game, comes way down Rafa's list of priorities'. Rafa continues to cultivate the inappropriate goatie.
"Birmingham, Newcastle and Portsmouth are currently under investigation by the City of London police for financial shenanigans like false accounting and money laundering. The Birmingham owners were questioned by police last week and had 'happily done so' while the Portsmouth manager, 'Arry, has launched a counterclaim against the police after he originally judged that the police had to arrest you in order to ask you questions in the first place. 'Arry remains on bail while Birmingham are being bought by a billionaire gambling tycoon who was but a barber as recently as 10 years ago.
"This background of financial impropriety has not stopped Portsmouth reaching the FA Cup Final with the considerable aid of the referees. Portsmouth are effectively owned by an arms dealer with outstanding arrest warrants in France for illegal traffiking. Portsmouth are also closely linked to bookmakers in Moscow.
"This year's FA Cup Final will be refereed by randomiser-in-chief, Mike Dean - just a couple of years after he was banned from officiating for two months for being closely linked to an online tipster service, Arbitros Racing. Thoroughly deserved then...
"Another Roman runs Hearts and Roman of Hearts reckons that Scottish football is a fix which, of course, it is and always has been. Witness Rangers, also under City of London police investigation, and their assisted passage to the Cup Final against a Queen from the South (who will the 'Gers fans support?) and their presentation with the League title by the whistles of officialdom.
"The Premiership referees made 19 incorrect major calls between them over this last window of 10 games. 4 match outcomes were affected. Martin refereed two of these 10 games (at Everton on Thursday and Fulham on Saturday) before being the 4th official at Aston Villa on Sunday. On the internal PGMOB website, a FIFA accredited match official moaned: 'Why, oh why, has Martin got 3 games in 4 days when there are 10 or 11 other officials who would have been more suitable?'. We wonder why...
"Oligarchical Roman employs Frank. Frank employs 50 scouts globally searching for grassroots talent or enacting a modern day version of the slave trade, depending upon your point of view. Frank got Roman to employ Henk to undermine Avram, just as he had previously successfully poloniumated the atmosphere between Roman and José, a Special One. Frank's slaves assembled at a cost of over £6 million reached the Final of the Youth Cup but were beaten by a team largely comprising of inner city Mancunian youth which only went to show that those fifty scouts had been looking in the wrong locations all along.
"Manchester City, the winners of this Youth Reality, are owned by Thaksin. Thaksin doesn't like anyone very much although he is rather partial to the offshore baht and power. Policeman - prime minister - oligarch - robber - murderer - thief - political 'refugee' - black marketeer - football club owner. An unusual CV. Thaksin also believes himself to be the Last King of Thailand and refers to himself as 'His Excellency'. His excellency also hates human rights in a trigger happy sort of way. Thaksin doesn't like Sven either because Sven has failed in his task of special adviser to the king. The Reality of Manchester City Youth is one of the last of its type. Thaksin is busy importing substandard Thai youngsters, for political currency, and seeking highly marketable but overpriced prima donnas whose best days are surely behind them. The new players WILL, however, look rather Thai-chic descending down the airplane steps accompanying his excellency back into his empire.
"Thaksin is inappropriately close to Richard who runs the Hyperreality of Premiership football as a personal fiefdom on behalf of the bookmakers and Rupert's hyper-organisation. Thaksin helps Richard get what Richard wants and Richard helps Thaksin get what Thaksin wants. Rupert is omnipresent but not yet omnipotent".
"Will the Premiership title and relegation races go down to the wire? Does anyone really care? Will Pompey criminalise the FA Cup Final? Will 'Arry go to jail or will the police go to jail? Will the gambler buyout the pornographer and his moll at Birmingham? Will Dubai buy the Texas Reds? Is Thaksin going to jail or will he get his hands on the illicit treasure? Will Thaksin leave Richard? Will the French police catch Arkadi? Will he be linked to the killing of Savimbi by Mossad? Will the Kremlin get Arsenal? Are more babies to be boiled? Will the Kremlin get Euro 2008? Does the Kremlin intend increasing its portfolio of London soccer franchises further? Will we ever get used to autocratic power winning everything?"
"Confused? You soon will be. But all will be revealed in the next exciting episode of SOAP".
BBC: "A real pivotal week for you after so much work this season".
Wenger: "Yes, but I cannot blame the players because in both games [against Liverpool and United] we turned up, we played at our level but every single thing has turned against us since March. We have got a clear, clear message as well on many decisions which went against us. We understand it. We are not stupid".
BBC: "What do you mean by that?"
Wenger: "Nothing" [awkward silence for 10 seconds].
BBC: "Indeed. Well, let other people read into that comment shall we?"
Wenger: "You do what you want".
© Football Is Fixed/Dietrological