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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What's The Colour Of Money?

Money may make you class conscious, but it can't buy you class. One aspect of old money that's most worthy of approval is the fact that pecuniary privilege is, frequently, good for artistic taste. Excesses of money are made tolerable by artistic discrimination it can help foster.

That's not happened with the IPL – you could be forgiven if you have fit of apoplexy if you look at the IPL winner's trophy, for it's an eyesore.

The IPL lovingly catalogued the number of rubies, diamonds and sapphires that constitute this frightful atrocity. Artistic taste is both an acquired habit and instinctive fancy; I prefer minimalist, elegant lines in understated hues, rather than gaudy gold, but sadly, no one asks me for my opinion.

The IPL's trophy is what could have been expected – the game being played out is not cricket at all, and it's fitting that the winners take home a confused symbol. The trophy is a jumble of themes – a just prize for the gold-diggers the players have been turned into.

The patriotic theme – the trophy is in the shape of India's map – is both superfluous and apt because, despite the international stars and the money, it's just a domestic tournament. Perhaps the IPL also sought to buy immunity against criticism with this display of patriotism; but patriotism worn on the sleeve must be dealt with caution, especially in an event marked by contempt for sport and veneration for money.

The beginning of the end of the Baggy Green?

What about when you wear patriotism on your hat? Australians love their Baggy Green, but colour-altering attributes are not restricted to the chameleon – money accomplishes that with ease among humans. The Australian players, taking on the might of a Jamaica XI in the West Indies, wore blue caps which happened to have the sponsor's logo on it – just "by chance", according to the team management. Brad Haddin doesn't have a Baggy Green cap because he hasn't played Test cricket for Australia, so the team decided to switch to blue, for the "sake of uniformity".

For some reason, this particular piece of apparel has acquired a halo, a sanctity difficult to understand. The shirts, trousers and shoes have been taken over by the sponsors, but why not the cap? Perhaps it still signifies the primacy of sport over commerce, an obscure throwback to the pride associated with headgear. But the Australians, who talk of their Baggy Green with touching devotion, gave it up for reasons that are suspiciously specious, possibly commercial. Perhaps, in the end, the market forces will buy and sell even symbols of purity of sport. That will be a pity.

Earlier: The IPL trophy and other monstrosities

Photograph via Getty Images on NineMSN

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1 comment:

Sujesh said...

It won't be long before the Baggy Green becomes the Victoria Bitter Green.