Angus Take House

Worst Take of the Week: Boogie Woogie PM vs Juventus Launch Ronaldo Defence

Two stunningly bad hot takes to bring the week to a close.

by Angus Harrison
05 October 2018, 1:21pm

Photo: Marco Canoniero / Alamy Stock Photo

Welcome to Angus Take House – a weekly column in which I will be pitting two of the wildest takes the world's great thinkers have rustled up against each other. This is your one-stop shop for the meatiest verdicts and saltiest angles on the world's happenings. Go and grab a napkin – these juicy hot takes are fresh from the griddle.

TAKE #1:

What's the story? Theresa May danced her way onto stage for her big Tory conference speech, to the heavenly tones of "Dancing Queen".
Reasonable Take: She dances like a clothes horse you can’t work out how to collapse, so you keep folding it up and down trying to release the hinges.
Suet Pie and Onion Gravy: Gadzooks! Our funky, hunky, cheeky monkey of a PM is SMASHING IT!

Okay then, let's watch it quickly.

I'm reluctant to talk about the dancing, because the whole point of the dancing is to talk about the dancing, but yes, it's obviously problematic in a number of ways. The reluctant shoulders, the fossilised limbs, those Oscar-winning waves to the nosebleeds: dreadful stuff. It's like watching an over-confident heron being shooed away from a garden pond with a priceless koi in its beak. Fortunately, you can’t ruin "Dancing Queen". ABBA are indestructible in that way. You can’t make them uncool because they are post-cool. They survived Pierce Brosnan, they'll survive this. Sadly, though, that energy doesn’t go both ways. Nobody – and I mean nobody – watched that video and thought: 'I feel good about Theresa May. This is feelgood.'

That is, except for Quentin Letts, who took to the Daily Mail to celebrate the "va va voom" of our "Boogie Woogie PM". Comparing her to Miranda Hart, he took her "arm-piston, disco-diva steps" to be a sign that she was no longer hobbled by her stiffness. I get the basic premise, that May was having a laugh at her own expense and in doing so proving she's got a sense of humour, but sadly that's a diagnosis totally at odds with reality. If this is likeable, then why does it hurt so much? To be honest, though, the real joy here is the prose. I mean, is Quentin Letts the best writer working today? Please read his description of Devon MP Geoffrey Cox that comes later in the piece:

"Groovy" is not a word you would use for Geoffrey. He is a bespoke, full-bottomed, clotted-cream squireen who evokes the days of cigar-scented first-class British Rail compartments with sliding doors and carpety seats. A voice like Guinness cake. A gusseted grandee in hoist-to-the-navel bags. Avowed Leaver Cox was magnificent: Jacob Rees-Moggian but twice as wide and a full octave lower. Jacques Cousteau seldom went so deep.

Clotted. Cream. Squireen. I have goosebumps. A voice like Guinness cake. David Runciman couldn't even! A gusseted grandee in hoist-to-the-navel bags. Honestly, I don't know what he's talking about but I never want it to stop.

Thing is, though, Quentin, we've been here before. As we cross the 12-month mark of this column, it's worth noting that this time last year, following an admittedly much worse conference speech, Letts wrote basically the same column, claiming that May's coughing fit proved she had the gumption to tackle Brexit. Which is the sort of consistency I find comforting, to be honest with you. Whatever happens, whatever Theresa May does, Mr Letts will be on hand to write a column describing her as a game old bird. See you next year!

TAKE 2:

What's the story? Las Vegas police have reopened an investigation from 2009 at the request of a woman who has alleged that she was raped by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Reasonable Take: Let's wait and see what conclusion that investigation comes to, shall we.
Peri Peri Salt: Ronaldo is a very, very, very good footballer therefore this simply can’t be true.

It's taken a while for people to acknowledge the fact that the biggest footballer in the world was accused of rape a decade ago. It seems to have finally hit home this week, however, following the original accuser Kathryn Mayorga's request to reopen the investigation into the 2009 incident. In 2010, she reportedly reached an out-of-court settlement with the footballer involving a payment of £288,000 for agreeing never to go public with the allegations.

Since her #MeToo inspired revelation, the story has been steadily spreading from sidebars to newspaper headlines, as the media have (with shameful reluctance) slowly accepted that yes, even though it's inconvenient, we're probably supposed to write about this, aren't we? Yesterday, Nike, which has a $1 billion lifetime endorsement deal with Ronaldo, released a statement claiming they are deeply concerned by the allegations and will "continue to closely monitor the situation".

Predictably, many people have decided to leap straight to the defence of CR7, including Ronaldo himself, who posted a since-deleted video describing the allegations as "fake news" (because riffing off famed feminist and sexual assault truther Donald J Trump is Good Optics). However, no one has risen to the challenge of "making this all go away" with such aplomb as Juventus FC, the club that bought him for €100 million this summer.

The club decided that the best way to deal with this incredibly complex situation was to tweet a defence of Ronaldo based entirely on him being absolutely banging at football. Specifically, they referenced their admiration for his professionalism and dedication, going on to state that, "The events allegedly dating back to almost 10 years ago do not change this opinion, which is shared by anyone who has come into contact with this great champion." That’s right, allegations of rape do not change our opinion of this very good, very expensive footballer. I'm sorry, they just don't. Say what you like about him, nobody else can score free kicks and do a veiny-legged power stance in celebration like our man Ron. Nobody!

Given the context of this situation, Juventus FC's words feel particularly irresponsible. Let's be honest: there are going to be a lot of people – largely young, largely male – who want to believe Ronaldo is innocent. He’s arguably the greatest footballer in the world, the biggest name in the modern game. It's going to take a lot to bring those people round to the idea that regardless of his prowess on the pitch, his actions elsewhere can’t be ignored or tolerated. Yet those people have just been told, through the official channels of one of the biggest football teams in Europe, that it's OK to feel that way. She's probably lying and Ronaldo's a champ. This was an opportunity to set an example in the most high-stakes male-dominated sphere imaginable, and it's an opportunity that's been wasted on self-interest.

PRIME CUT: Put Allardyce in charge of Juventus FC's social media until the end of the season. Won't be pretty, but they'll stay afloat.

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