Monday, June 16, 2003

Dear God, not another Beckham piece

We're afraid so. P O'Neill was incommunicado in the African highlands for the last while and it appears that our belief that we had beaten back the tide of unsophisticated Beckham/Man Utd articles was mistaken. The rudderless New York Times is now editorialising about the man, his 3rd appearance in a week. What is there to say about all this other than a general analysis: Beckham's stardom is a product of Anglophone media penetration, except in the US. And in the US, the easiest way to do "foreign coverage" is to read English newspapers*, which from Man Utd's perspective creates a nice synergy with their tour of the US this summer. Result: an avalanche of mostly unanalytical articles about Becks and Man Utd, in many publications which should know better. For one thing, little analysis of this very strange conditional deal that Man Utd did to send Becks to Barcelona. We won't bore you with the details, but it looks to us like the world's biggest football club is having rings run around it by the supposed provincials in Madrid, who, by the way, seem headed for their 29th domestic league title. One consolation for Becks with all this hype swirling around him: like Spinal Tap, he's big in Japan.

*UPDATE: So an American journalist could do a "foreign" story by just reading newspapers on the web. But at the Washington Post, they send reporters to London to do exactly the same thing.

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