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A sign of the times

March 27th, 2018

Is the ball-tampering crisis:

(a) A sign of our national obsessions with sport, trivia and scandals at the expense of more important issues;
(b) A symbol of the socially corrosive and corrupting effects of neoliberalism;
(c) The End of Western Civilization As We Know It

Vote below

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  1. Darragh
    March 27th, 2018 at 08:57 | #1

    Definitely A.

  2. Martin Miles
    March 27th, 2018 at 08:59 | #2

    B, possibly leading to C.

  3. Xevram
    March 27th, 2018 at 09:01 | #3

    A and B.

  4. John Chapman
    March 27th, 2018 at 09:03 | #4

    (d) An inevitable result of the obsession with spin-meistering.

  5. Smith
    March 27th, 2018 at 09:08 | #5

    None of the above. It’s a crisis of faith.

    Cricketers wear white.
    White is the colour of virginity, purity and innocence.
    The Australian test captain is the nation’s virgin-in-chief.
    When the virgin-in-chief is shown to be a fallen sinner, everything we believe, as a matter of faith, turns to ashes (Ashes).

  6. Newtownian
    March 27th, 2018 at 09:17 | #6

    I hate these single choice vote options when its obvious that all three are correct.

    This reminds of a certain University’s recent research integrity quiz along the same lines. Half of the answers were similarly wrong/incomplete/multi option true and illustrated how the consultants who constructed ‘the course’ had probably never done research in their lives beyond an MBA conceptual class exercise.

    The secret to passing the test was not to have actually followed the tedious course youtube videos, to understand research integrity or even answer the final tic a box options honestly – but to simply provide the answers that the quiz demanded, by:
    a. having the initial trial questions with their incorrect answers available (half were recycled including the incorrect answers which you still had to answer incorrectly to pass else you would be threatened with a comfy chair, soft cushion and nice cup of tea I believe)
    b. having access to Google and downloaded PDF to check on some parrot responses which demanded not that one understood the spirit of integrity but was able to memorize the text as in the Latin classes of old
    c. cynically channelling what you expected the consultants (aka Plague Rats – ref Weaselwords) wanted to hear even if the whole process stuck in your craw – (if you need to do one yourself ever – hint – look for the answer with the most indigestable weasel words)
    d. not wasting hours and hours listenning to pretentious Poms prattling on about their philosophy of integrity. This would befuddle your thinking processes and make test failure more likely….which as Dolores Umbridge explained is what learning is all about.

    ps – And it worked a treat as only Tic-a-Box surveys can so as to Tick the box of various line manager KPIs. Aint the Universe(ity) grand? Sometimes cynicism is dead on.

  7. Geoff Edwards
    March 27th, 2018 at 09:33 | #7

    Option b can be deemed valid, but only if one stretches the definition of neoliberalism rather invalidly to include general economistic behaviour, the gradual erosion of public interest and public morality by materialism.I don’t think it is valid to describe creeping materialism as neoliberalism which is a particular sub-discipline of materialistic economics.

    Option c is expressed too bluntly but it is a significant incident. Civilisations fail because of a series of significant incidents or decisions by their leaders. The Australian cricket team is a leader.

    I rather like Smith’s interpretation above. The incident is another step down a slide away from those honourable cultural values that have animated our society for a long time.

  8. Ronald
    March 27th, 2018 at 09:47 | #8

    Everything is and forever will be the end of western civilization as we know it, so C.

  9. Paul
    March 27th, 2018 at 10:21 | #9

    I’m not sure why it can’t be all three, just over different timescales.

  10. Stephen Norris
    March 27th, 2018 at 10:30 | #10

    @John Chapman

    I see what you did there.

  11. Smith
    March 27th, 2018 at 10:30 | #11

    Option B is a classic fallacy of sloppy thinkers – take two things you don’t like and say one is the cause of the other, ergo, get rid of one and you get rid of both.

  12. David Allen
    March 27th, 2018 at 10:34 | #12

    Watching a country tear their own national team apart in an orgy of hysterical madness is the real story here.

  13. Sriram
    March 27th, 2018 at 10:36 | #13

    = B (75%) + A(25%)

  14. Oliver Townshend
    March 27th, 2018 at 11:43 | #14

    What exactly did people blame before neo-liberalism?

  15. March 27th, 2018 at 12:06 | #15

    A and C kind of go together, don’t they? (*cough* climate change, if I have to spell it out)

  16. may
    March 27th, 2018 at 12:21 | #16

    it’s not a crisis.

    it’s just the inevitable ****** that happens when cheating liars get caught.

    i’m rather pleased that the incidence is as rare (hopefully) as it seems to be.

  17. Robert Morison
    March 27th, 2018 at 12:47 | #17

    None of the above. It’s just Barney Google with the goo goo goo-galy eyes.


  18. Shane From Melbourne
    March 27th, 2018 at 12:57 | #18

    None of the above. It is just a game. It has no significance whatsoever apart from what people purport to it…….

  19. Svante
    March 27th, 2018 at 12:59 | #19

    Crisis? What crisis?

  20. Peter Chapman
    March 27th, 2018 at 13:10 | #20

    Probably all of the above, plus a few more options that could be thrown into the mix. But some would argue that “the end of cricket as we know it” began a long time ago; and probably with the underarm bowling incident, for which Australia was also responsible. History shows that in earlier periods, cricket was subject to many forms of cheating, and was riddled with scandal, betting rorts and corruption. Historians of the game have pondered, and pontificated on “cricket’s imperial crisis” (or was it “Imperialism’s cricket crisis”?) (apropos the bodyline crisis), without reaching definitive conclusions. What perhaps we could say is that (like the underarm incident) this particular example shows how a commercial, perhaps capitalist ethos has pervaded the game. Decisions by the “leadership group” are made to maximise the chance of success (albeit at great risk). Those who lament the decline of “traditional values” in the game are blind to the extent that those values have always been contingent on a degree of commercial success, and have in effect long been subordinate to other priorities (“values” may be a misnomer) including personal financial gain, corporate (team) success, return-on-investment to sponsors and advertisers, etc. What we can also say is that cricket is like a metaphor for life in general and the exposure of cricket’s dark side merely reminds us that life, and what we value in it, also has a dark side.

  21. Ken Lovell
    March 27th, 2018 at 13:12 | #21

    It’s shocking that you treat the matter with such levity. Next you will be sneering at the Rt Hon John Howard’s opinion that Sir Donald Bradman was the greatest living Australian. When he was living, I mean, obviously. Bradman, not Howard. I think Howard’s still alive, just, and no doubt his soul is in torment watching what is happening to the game he loves.

  22. Ken Lovell
    March 27th, 2018 at 13:13 | #22

    @Peter Chapman
    Peter the rot set in when the players were allowed to use the same change rooms as the gentlemen.

  23. suburbanite
    March 27th, 2018 at 13:26 | #23

    Isn’t this a generational thing?

  24. Ikonoclast
    March 27th, 2018 at 13:32 | #24

    Howzat – Sherbet.

  25. Peter Chapman
    March 27th, 2018 at 13:51 | #25

    We may console ourselves that the future of cricket (if not of civilisation, and life in general, and we won’t go to bat for imperialism in this context) is now safe in the hands of women. As in other sports, the strong development of women’s leagues is a welcome change (and has nothing to do with women being permitted to use the gentlemen’s change rooms). We may console ourselves with this thought, but the strong development I refer to is in part because of sponsor recognition, so in due course we may also expect the same commercial pressures to (insert here one of: infect, subvert, distort, enhance, corrupt, deliver, etc.) the women’s game. And we may live in hope.

  26. poselequestion
    March 27th, 2018 at 13:59 | #26

    A is the opium of B so therefore the root cause is B. C is day to day existence.

  27. may
    March 27th, 2018 at 14:00 | #27

    @Peter Chapman

    the chappel chapter(heh)?

    “the death-of-English-cricket” gave us the Ashes before the start of the 20th C.

    and don’t forget “bodyline bowling.


  28. Higgins
    March 27th, 2018 at 14:41 | #28


    It gives the Murdoch rags some nonsense to put on their front pages to divert the attention of the proles from the fact that they are being screwed. Sadly the proles just keep buying this shite, just like the battered and culturally homebound woman in the burka who clutches the Quran to her chest and dreams of Sharia (which in my tortured analogy stands for neo-liberalism). False consciousness is real.

  29. hc
    March 27th, 2018 at 17:03 | #29

    None of the above which are each a crude and inappropriate characterization. Cricket is an important sport to many Australians. The test cricketers are now known to be cheats. It hurts.

  30. rog
    March 27th, 2018 at 18:06 | #30

    @Ken Lovell Hence the current phrase “ball tampering”.

  31. rog
    March 27th, 2018 at 18:12 | #31

    @hc No arguing on the relevance of sport, and cricket, to many people.

    But why are people so shocked when sportspersons are found to be bending the rules, when politicians and other VIPs seem to get away with the most blatant of breaches, for whatever reason (some use “in the national interest” others use “for the common good”)

  32. Fran Barlow
    March 27th, 2018 at 19:07 | #32

    a) and b) though I’d not use the word ‘symbol’ but rather ‘instantiation’. It’s in substantial part driven by the commodification of mass entertainment and its intersection (in sport) with notions of ‘national identity’ and ‘ethos’ — which in turn are at the disposal of the boss class, its mass media and its spruikers.

  33. JKUU
  34. Cameron Pidgeon
    March 28th, 2018 at 14:12 | #34

    First impression: All of the above. Upon further reflection, who gives a Peter Dutton? Irrelevant posts like this really give me the Morrisons. Its just an excuse to have a good Christopher…..and make up some (non)rhyming slang. See if you can pick the odd one out.

  35. Moz of Yarramulla
    March 28th, 2018 at 15:59 | #35

    A. And what rog said. Who would ever have thought the world sledging champions might not be nice people?

  36. Greg Pius
    March 29th, 2018 at 06:20 | #36

    I have commented on this already. Here I will only say that cricket is just a game. More important things are happening in the world today. Lets focus our collective anger on real things like nuclear weapons, political corruption and environmental damage. A lot there to get angry about in our herd mentality rages. .

  37. Ikonoclast
    March 29th, 2018 at 09:33 | #37

    To put it into perspective, the dishonesty of the “tampering three” is nothing like the dishonesty we see every day from politicians, employers and banks. Plenty has come out recently about those forms of dishonesty. Just look at the Australian inquiry into banking and all the scandals of unpaid and underpaid wages. Our society is sinking into a morass of dishonesty because everything is about money and “free markets”. There is no space left for any other value.

    We are kept in line by bread and circuses. Over-fed, brain-washed people glued to the internet and television are very docile: empty calories and empty entertainments.

    But changes are coming because this system is environmentally unsustainable.

  38. Smith
    March 29th, 2018 at 09:55 | #38


    It was quite funny seeing the Commonwealth Bank, who sponsor the national cricket team, sternly giving them a lecture about ethics. When you’ve sunk so low that even the CBA is your moral superior, there is nowhere further to fall.

  39. may
    March 29th, 2018 at 12:09 | #39


    sorry JQ, I forgot!

    the world is just not ready for Oz colloquialisms.

    poor delicate flowers.

  40. hc
    March 29th, 2018 at 16:43 | #40

    It may be bad but…what about X who does even worse? Some really silly comments above.

  41. Peter Chapman
    March 30th, 2018 at 10:14 | #41

    Gratuitous swipe at former PM who claims to be a cricket aficionado: remember, it was John Howard who gave us the first tampa incident.

  42. Ikonoclast
    March 30th, 2018 at 10:15 | #42

    It’s not silly to point out that the biggest cheaters get off scot-free in our late stage capitalist system. In fact, they run the system. What is silly is to allow the circus of punishment of lesser cheaters to distract you.

  43. Ikonoclast
    March 30th, 2018 at 10:37 | #43

    I’d also like to point out that “whataboutry” can be valid. During a storm I spotted a little water coming under the front door onto the tiled entry. I went looking for a towel to soak up this harmless puddle. My wife said “What about the stream of water coming through the light fitting in your study? The light is still on by the way. So is your PC.”

    That’s an example of valid whataboutry. Valid whataboutry calls on us to give attention and action to the relatively more serious problems first.

  44. Luke Elford
    March 30th, 2018 at 11:26 | #44

    It’s an insight into how vicious and unrelenting the media will be when they know that public opinion is on their side and they will not face accusations of political bias or legal problems.

    It’s also an insight into the unhealthily high levels of self-worth some people have obviously attached to the integrity and performance of sportspeople they like watching.

    It’s reasonable to wonder why they do not make the same demands of people they barrack for in other spheres of public life which are of much greater consequence.

  45. Nick
    March 30th, 2018 at 17:29 | #45

    Imagine an ordinary club game played anywhere around Australia. You have one umpire and members of the *batting team* rotating as square leg umpire. You have a large field, no cameras, no instant replay, no audio and heat analysis for ‘snicks’. More so than most other team sports, if players act dishonestly, the whole thing falls apart. Hence, kids are taught from a young age that honesty in cricket is vital.

    And presumably SA players also get performance bonuses as part of their salaries? If Australia had won through cheating, they would have been literally stealing that money from the opposing team and their families. That’s pretty gross.

  46. Ikonoclast
    April 1st, 2018 at 09:37 | #46

    Professional sport is entirely unhealthy (physically, mentally, socially and economically) for participants and spectators. It is also completely corrupted by money. The pathologies in and surrounding professional sport reflect and highlight the pathological state of our entire culture and economic system. Everything in this system is about money, private wealth and selfish endeavours.

    Politicians, bankers, CEOs, plutocrats and oligarchs do far worse things every day than these cricketers did and yet they self-present, and are generally accepted, as pillars of our community and economy. Such is the state of false-consciousness in our capitalist media-saturated society. People are brainwashed by the system.

    The current events, three cricketers of the “leadership group” being punished and humiliated, are a cover-up for the sake of more money-making. It is almost certain that more actors in these events knew what was happening. Bowlers for a start know the state of the ball. Bowlers see, hear and feel what is happening and being done to the ball. If illegal “work” is being put into the ball bowlers have to know what that work is in order to use the worked ball correctly. A ball being worked for reverse swing has to be held and bowled in a certain way. The three being punished are scapegoats so that the greater money-making carnival can go on. To admit the extent of the conspiracy to cheat would be to threaten the money-making processes. Yet more may come out about this that is very damaging. Cover-ups are usually exposed.

    I would hope that the lesson people draw from this is to boycott all professional sport. Don’t attend it. Don’t watch it on TV. Don’t give a single dollar to it. Go for a walk or bike ride instead. It will do you much more good.

  47. Paul Norton
    April 3rd, 2018 at 11:53 | #47

    I blame Shakespeare. Hecate was clearly declaring her intention to tamper with a cricket ball for the purpose of inducing reverse swing when she said:

    I’ll catch it ere it come to ground
    And that distilled by magic sleights
    Shall raise such artificial sprites
    As by the strength of their illusion
    Shall draw him on to his confusion.

  48. paul walter
    April 3rd, 2018 at 19:40 | #48

    b) applies to the cricket. As 4 Corners indicated, the neoliberal money and win at all costs mentality is ruining the sport. We a feel a bit sad now, but the way cricket operates in the tabloid era has meant that worrying signs of zombie behaviour have been suppressed rather than corrected because part of the new culture and structure of professional cricket refuses introspection lest the money flows be interfered with and the human commodification aspect exposed.

  49. paul walter
    April 3rd, 2018 at 19:44 | #49

    I did note above the comment re Commonwealth Bank..in general sport operates to obscure real issues by presenting a simulacrum that involves public participation and care.

    It has me in mind in mind of 1984.

  50. paul walter
    April 3rd, 2018 at 20:19 | #50

    Peculiar coincidence. I am just watching 730, and the overreach of police in dealing, USA-style (militarisation?) with people at incident scenes- the brutality is appalling.

    Has the internal culture with the police (or military?) relate to the cricket or footy subcultures?

    Will this isolation and inculcation of an us-them mentality within (masculine?) organisations eventually lead to a US Militia type situation that curtails actual civil liberties and democracy through a form of repression?

    To what extent are consultancies and think tanks now involved in a conscious fostering of anti-social behaviours?

  51. paul walter
    April 3rd, 2018 at 20:20 | #51

    Sorry typo- does not has, 2cnd para

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