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The Hoddle of Coffee: Tottenham Hotspur news and links for Friday, February 19



Hey, everyone!

Is anyone having as much fun as Rubin Kazan?

Ramble of the Day

A few footballers have dabbled in the art of sharing short and stylish videos of their life off the field, to varying degrees of success. Moussa Sissoko was one of those footballers, in 2019 sharing a video documenting a vacation in the United States that featured both work and play. At the time, I developed the opinion that it’s a slightly unusual thing to do, but hardly offensive. This colored my opinion significantly; it’s hard to have a strong opinion about something that so firmly occupies an inoffensive and insignificant middle space.

Then I discovered Karim Benzema’s Instagram.

It turns out there is an art to perfect here, and Benzema has achieved it. He and his team very clearly prioritized style, but knew what to do in execution. The end result is a video that perfectly sells the vibe it’s trying to sell: cool, young, rich guy.

This one checks off a few of the boxes: Benzema shows off the field life by hanging out with his children, gives an impression at how rich he is by flashing multiple high end brands, and brings some very high production value to the whole thing. It’s the best representation of the base level of cool top footballers try to project; it may not be cool to everyone, but even for those who don’t find it cool, it’s easy to understand the messaging. It’s not just Benzema’s choices that make the impact — the execution truly sells it.

It lacks genuine substance, but that isn’t the point. It reminds me of an article Kyle Chayka wrote for The New Yorker about a recent trend in television shows, described as ambient television (phrasing borrowed from musician Brian Eno). The hook of the piece is the frequently bashed Netflix show Emily in Paris, but I see some parallels in Chayka’s description of the television phenomenon with Benzema’s Instagram videos:

Ambient denotes something that you don’t have to pay attention to in order to enjoy but which is still seductive enough to be compelling if you choose to do so momentarily. ... Here, there is nothing to figure out; as prestige passes its peak, we’re moving into the ambient era, which succumbs to, rather than competes with, your phone.

It might make for horrible television, but Instagram feels a more forgiving format for this, if not an ideal space for something that’s only about aesthetic. Benzema’s videos feel so focused on that aesthetic, giving purpose to that format of video. It’s hard to nail, it seems, but I feel confident that’s what Sissoko and the others who have tried it were going for.

tl;dr: Karim Benzema has perfected the art of the quick Instagram video centered solely on the aesthetic of a young rich guy, and I didn’t know there was an art to perfect until I saw his videos.

Stay informed, read this: Adela Suliman on ballerina Chloé Lopes Gomes and her experiences of racism in the world of elite dance in Europe for NBC News

Links of the Day

Bayern’s Benjamin Pavard and an Argentina women’s player tested positive for COVID-19.

Twitter permanently suspended a user who racially abused Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah.

The EFL approved Sunderland’s takeover by Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, and he will also become the club’s chairman.

The PFA will no longer to subsidize sports management degrees for members, as Brexit means the Danish university providing the education will now charge UK citizens €10k.

A longer read: Caitlin Murray on another layer of pay disparity at US Soccer, with USWNT general manager Kate Markgraf earning less than her male counterparts for The Guardian