Joey Barton: My Pathological Pursuit Of Excellence
This generation, more than any other, has the opportunity to be whatever they want to be. But in this country we are very quick to feel sorry for ourselves.
We blame our upbringing, our education, the lack of opportunities life has presented us. Blaming ourselves isn’t going to get us out of the current social mess we are in.
There are lots of ways out and they’re not what the mainstream media are portraying. I’m talking about short-term-ism (if that’s even a legitimate word, if not I am coining it.)
Short-term-ism is, in my opinion, what has led to the rise of overnight celebs. “Stars” who crash and burn within the year only to be replaced by somebody with even lower self-esteem.
I don’t want to sit here and criticise everything on the current TV schedule, but by God there is some crap out there. The X Factor turns out, in the end, to be a show for really talented people, giving them the chance to rise to stardom from humble beginnings.
But it comes at the expense of making someone else incredibly rich – and the carnage of the contestants’ private lives being dragged on to the public agenda to sell the show.
I find myself cringing at the beginning of the show’s auditioning format – which they’re filming now. You get people who are clearly mentally deficient being openly laughed at by the judges and the viewing public. How long before one of these contestants turns up bearing a grudge, seeking revenge?
And there are countless shows like this. From I’m a Celebrity… (or used to be, anyway) Get Me Out of Here to Britain’s Got (not a lot of) Talent. I am not blaming any one show in particular. I just think they send the wrong message to the youth of today.
While I feel such shows do create opportunities, in my opinion they’re the wrong sort. They
exploit, they feed corporate greed, they churn up and consume human souls on a ridiculous scale, year on year. For every success, countless more suffer heartache, public intrusion into their lives and ridicule. All apparently justifiable in the search for fame and fortune.
Surely we shouldn’t send these messages to the next generation? By sitting in on a Saturday night and watching these shows, we are saying to our youth that this is acceptable.
Controversial maybe, but true. It’s the same as letting them watch films with adult content, it’s the same as using foul and abusive language in front of them. They are like sponges and soak up anything and everything, sometimes subliminally. I feel we need to be aware of condoning this form of achievement.
I think people are aware of this – if you go by the viewing figures, anyway. Most of these shows are struggling to achieve the kind of soaring ratings that made the programme makers (the kingmakers) like Simon Cowell such powerful influencers for the youth of today. I mean credit to him for how long he has got away with it but now the people are talking, saying it’s no longer acceptable, and they are voting with their remote controls.
Surely, what we should be honouring is hard work? Whether that be the local butcher, the local newsagent or the latest sporting superstar. The messages we should be sending should be about the level of commitment, of sacrifice, of self-discipline.
Add into the mix the vital ingredient, the desire to work really hard, to attain the level of success. We shouldn’t put the emphasis on materialistic gain as we so often do. This creates false goals.
I tell you now from experience, that nobody in this world can take away from me that feeling. Forget the money and all the materialistic bullshit that comes with the modern-day footballer. What makes me really proud, what really makes me confident in the man I am today, is my constant, almost pathologial, pursuit of excellence in my chosen field.
My biggest attribute, my main strength was that no matter what happened, whatever came my way, I was, I am and I always will be prepared to do a hard day’s graft.
If my offspring inherit one thing from me, I want it to be that. That will make me a proud old man…
Joey Barton captains Queens Park Rangers FC. If you have any comments please tweet Joey: @joey7barton