Saturday, 4 February 2017

Thoughts in Progress

In David and Goliath’s famous tale, little, plucky David uses just one single slingshot to slay the 9-foot, 9-inch, Philistine giant. The story came to my mind last week when I saw some of the football scores of the English League FA Cup.

This is one of the oldest, or probably the oldest soccer cup knockout competition in the world, stretching all the way back to the 1871-2 season. Most fans and pundits alike look forward to rounds three and four in early and late January when teams, usually from the lower leagues, face their counterparts from the Premier League and the Football League Championship. The main attraction here is to see the cash-rich, bon-vivant “Goliaths” slugging it out against the more money-conscious, thrifty “Davids”.

This time around results did not disappoint. For round five we already have a couple of non-league sides that, I am confident, will give a fair amount of headaches to the teams (several places above them) that play them.

The David vs Goliath story calls to the inner hero inside us. The person who, regardless of the circumstances, rises up against power. That the power in this instance is represented by a three-metre-tall Brobdingnagian renders the legend more visually striking. We can almost touch Goliath’s bronze helmet and be dazzled by the javelin he carries on his back. This is an all-too perfect narrative of little guy against mighty foe.

Or little guy against the state. The government. The status quo. The elite.

You can delete as appropriate in the above sentence but to me the message is the same: something strange has happened to the David vs Goliath story. The roles have been reversed and the message blurred.

To carry on with my football analogy, let’s imagine now that that non-league side, conqueror of a Premier League or Championship behemoth, is not as helpless as it looks. Yes, it might still play its home games in a 10,000-seat-maximum-capacity stadium but it has recently been bought by a Thailand- or Singapore-based billionaire with a very clear vision: to turn the club into a money-making venture.

Suddenly there is no David against Goliath scenario, but a Goliath against Goliath one. This is a tough sell to pull off which is why the figure of David is always invoked at some point.

We live in times when the Goliaths of this world keep telling us that they are actually Davids getting their slingshots ready to hurl stones on our behalf. Personally, I do not want anyone to protect me whilst hurting others. I want to have a say on how the slingshot is used, against whom and if it is needed at all. The more we cast doubts on those Goliaths dressing up as Davids and expose them as the frauds they are, the less we will live to regret foregoing our precious and hard-earned liberties.

One way to fight back against this false narrative of little guy against powerful state is by highlighting Goliath’s weaknesses. When he addresses the Israelis, he is all boast and pomp. Same with some of our alternative-facts makers. They cannot stop obsessing about size (crowds, hands, you name it). It is worth remembering what happens to David after he defeats Goliath. He marries one of King Saul’s daughters but eventually falls out of favour with the monarch to such an extent that even Jonathan, Saul’s son, is asked to end David’s life. This means that those Goliaths-as-Davids are also prone to internecine fighting. Their weakness is our strength. If not, ask Samson. Oh, well, that one is for another day.

© 2017

Next Post: “Diary of Inconsequential Being”, to be published on Wednesday 8th February at 6pm (GMT)


  1. The David and Goliath story fails to reinforce the fact that small, quick, agile and equipped with better technology, like a sling, will usually prevail again a larger, slower, less equipped adversary. David winning in this tale was predictable.

  2. I like your musings on these stories!


  3. The remarkable thing is WHY the crowd is convinced that one of the Goliaths is in fact a David

  4. I read the protests in the your city these days and wonder who will prevail? I fear for the Davids in our world but I have faith that one of them will overpower the Goliath in these times ~

  5. We haven't learned a thing, have we? I watch and listen to all the goings on and despair.

  6. It's all so confused nowadays. The "oppressed" are oppressors and we live in the era of dictatorship of minorities. :)
    (NB I thought to have coined the "dictatorship..." by myself. Now I see the term is used, but I don't know if the meaning I gave to it is the same as the others', possibly not. :D)

  7. A nice comparison! Goodness, I never knew what happened to David. Geez, not a good ending.

  8. The Davids today get squashed even before they begin. A slingshot can beat an oaf, but it won't beat someone with billions in the bank.

  9. Considering that my eyes tend to glaze over at the mention of any sports.. ;) and that I'm not religious, I found this to be a fine analogy.

  10. like the image but got some very different thoughts about it. :(

  11. Well there is always something back your postings Cuban..And that is good.Makes us think.

    Well done!

  12. i appreciate the way you expressed your point of view.
    i liked the photo too that goes so well with your intention.
    power is something to our perspective to wards ourselves and towards the one we encounter .

    It is not body or weapon that work in fight it is only your faith in yourself and in your cause what you fighting for.

  13. The "friend of the little guy" fiction has been an essential political deception for the longest time. It does certainly seem to be much worse now, though, as Goliath & Co. do the most vile things while clinging to their common man disguise. Excellent post!

  14. Hi ACIL - yes ... and no -everything is being twisted. You'd think a picture would show the truth ... so many people don't think or look to check things out ... blind belief ... we are in a worrying world ... cheers Hilary

  15. Wow... that painting of David & Goliath is so life like.



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