Friday, September 07, 2007

Federer: psychic projection or "some other weird thing"?

From Pete Bodo’s immensely entertaining TennisWorld blog, a site I spend an increasing amount of time on (as much for the informed comment discussions as for the posts), a provocative question: “Does Roger Federer really exist?”
What if this "Federer" didn't really exist, except as some Jungian figment of the imagination of all those aesthetes who ever had to sit through a Luis Horna vs. Mariano Zabaleta match on clay... maybe he started out as an idea in the mind of some Sega Genesis game designer, but the algorithms just got out of hand and he leaped across the Great Divide like some character out of a Philip K. Dick novel. Or maybe he's just a good old-fashioned hologram, like on your credit card.
Q. From the time you were down Love-40 in the first game of the third set, you did not lose a point of your serve until that mishit.
"Federer": That's awesome. What, that last game or what?

Okay, how could "Federer" not know? I submit to you that only a creature or fabrication without emotion or the power of abstraction (yet cleverly programmed to mimic a young human by frequently saying, "awesome!") could be so oblivious to what he/it had just accomplished.
The whole thing here. I know this doesn't fit my theory about Roger and Rafa, but what the heck - maybe they're both androids.

P.S. For fellow Nadal fans, as disappointed as I am about his exit from the US Open, here’s the latest version of his blog.

P.P.S. An earlier post on how to stop Federer here.


  1. Hi Jai,
    Regularly read your might be interested in this article last year on NYT, "Roger Federer as religious experience.

    I enjoyed it : )

  2. Thanks. Yes, have read the Wallace piece - in fact I linked to it in that earlier post about how to stop Federer.

  3. this is completely unrelated to your post but your blog is strangely addictive - i just spent the better part of my day reading all your posts. just out of curiosity, how the hell do you find the time to write so much (and write well, at that) ? i gather from your posts that you are a full time (?) literary/ film critic cum journalist?

    again, perhaps this is me just being a judgmental *&^!$%, but aren't most journalists in this country busy stuffing our heads with 24/7 'news'- whatever that is.

    ps- sorry for going off on a tangent, but the media is my particular bug bear these days. i cant not cringe every time i surf news channels/ or open a newsmagazine and read yet another a. plug . b shameless arse-licking of some powerful corporate house c. complete abandon of any journalistic propriety in a rush to MANUFACTURE news.

    pps- sorry again. nothing i wrote had anything to do with you or your blog.

  4. Anon: thanks. This is better suited to an email discussion, but I enjoy taking potshots at media myself, and prefer to avoid designating myself as a journalist. Have to disagree with the ideal of "journalistic propriety" though - it's as muck-ridden as any other profession.

  5. There was also an article, a few months ago, in The Australian (or was it The Age?) that went on how Federer was so successful because the stars align well for him. Some psychic shop (is that what they are called?) had it put it on their glass window. A fun read, and really quite in line with all the other explanations for The Phenomenon. (we can call it The Phenomenon, right?)

    Regarding journalists, anon should watch Chicago. Everybody should watch Chicago, a lot of many interesting points being made there.

  6. Neha: I can think of many very good reasons to watch Chicago, but "to discover how evil journalists are" would come way down the list. Why not simply read any newspaper or watch a TV channel?

    Think I know which Federer article you mean, but can't find a link to it now.

  7. Oh no, it is not find how evil journalist are - it is find how prevalent bullshit is. And in case it is not obvious, 'bullshit' is not swearing, it is a technical jargon for what is shown in Chicago - the razzle dazzle song. There is an excellent book on the topic, but the title and author slip my mind at the moment. How we start out to fool someone by covering up the honest truth; and end up fooling ourselves. When we are no longer able to tell between when we are pretending and when we are not.

    Also, this bull shitting is not limited to us and now. It always was, and in all probability always will be the popular --- (something). As long as we have a few that shine, as long as we really try to stay out of the bullshit, I think, there is hope.

    (Sorry for the preaching but I did not want to end on the doomsday scenario) And is there is review for Chicago on your blog? (I haven't searched.) Lets get the reasons for watching Chicago, Jai!

    I will hopefully get to watch Days of Heaven sometimes soon and then I can read your review of the movie.

    I wonder if there is a Federer article you haven't read. :D

  8. i suppose you're right. but the muck in journalism has rather more of a bearing on the lives of ordinary citizens than other professions, me thinks.

  9. I've been addicted to TennisWorld for more than a year now. At first I felt guilty, but now I am at peace with my captivity, and I'm sure you will be too.

  10. To anon,

    you might find this interesting.