When it came to writing this, and examining Joey B’s Twitter-based discrepancies, I couldn’t help but be struck between the similarity to him and an earlier entry, Joe Budden. The continued failures, the embarrassment, the leaping into any beef without a moment’s consideration. But is Joe Budden Rap Game Joey Barton, or is Joey Barton ‘Baller Game Joe Budden?
When Barton first joined Twitter, he did so under a cloud of Nietzsche quotes, Smiths lyrics,and contemplative Tweets, promoting a “Hey. I may have done some things in the past, but we’ve all got feelings” schtick. He was roundly declared an intelligent footballer, a smart guy, someone unique, someone different, a national treasure, and all manner of other bullshit by football journalists.
In hindsight it’s incredible to think they were suckered to easily, but it’s not hard to see why. In the old days, footballers and journalists used to co-exist peacefully, largely being very similar people, and largely having the same hobbies (alcoholism.) But for every Bryan Robson, who could down 20 pints, get a couple of hours sleep and then run the midfield the next afternoon, there were five people who couldn’t cope and a hundred who on some level didn’t perform anywhere near as much as they could’ve. That culture soon died out of football.
And then you started having players come through at English clubs like Emmanuel Frimpong. Now, Frimpong is an obvious moron, although we wouldn’t quite go so far as Joey did (who called him Frim-Mong, barely a week after the exact same Ricky Gervais shitstorm), but he doesn’t really make sense to your average football journalist. He doesn’t make sense to a lot of people, but most of us aren’t football journalists, and therefore not knowing why a guy keeps saying #DEEEEEEEEEEENNNNCHHH is OK, we can live without it. It’s not got the vague notion of threatening our careers.
So when Joey appeared he might be vaguely interesting, he came from a background that was easy to understand: he liked Morrissey. Weeks of “Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel” op-eds followed, along with him getting offered a column in Vice. Then, after all this, during which he showed a level of fire-discipline which is sadly lacking in much modern trolling, Barton resorted to his usual self. His actual self. A throbber.
He started referring to everyone as ‘helmets.’ He described Gary Speed’s suicide as ‘selfish.’ He launched some “FREE SPEECH” idiocy after tweeting in contempt of an ongoing court case. He said he hated everybody who called him ‘Joey’, the name he decided to use on his own Twitter account. He went on some ego-trip on a programme about gay footballers saying it’s terrible how none of them feel they can come out, after he’d clearly directed homophobic abuse towards Fernando Torres. Now, you can say that any show of solidarity towards closeted footballers is a good thing, but if I’m a gay footballer watching that, with friends like Joey Barton… well, you ain’t got no friends. The whole thing is just a litany of disasters that could’ve been avoided by putting a minute’s thought into anything.
He can’t really be higher, because, well, just look at all the filth that’s been written about him. Fellow T100WPOT entrant Paul Hayward wrote that he ”manages to be patronised [by the media] and held up as some kind of exemplar all at once… he is skilled at tricking us into watching him veer between the extremes of thinker and thug. Either this is a repudiation of societal hypocrisy or, more likely, indicative of a sociopathic tendency.” Maybe if Barton is inspiring that kind of wibble, that makes him worse, but it seems unfair to blame anyone for what Hayward’s writing about them. There are plenty of cunts like Barton - most of them in their teens, granted - but we usually have the decency to ignore them.
“For all those asking what Kenny I’ve got on in those pics. Mind your own business… (Kenny Jackett) #dullards”
“Got so many bites this morning. Oh, how I love to annoy the annoy-able on twissledorf. Why, oh why do they allow me this privilege #1JoeyB”
We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the tone of voice in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us. #Nietzsche
Retweeted by Joseph Barton”