Keith Jackson Has Written Something So Stupid Today It’s Impossible To Satirise It.

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One of my favourite comedies is a gem from 1986 called Ruthless People, starring Danny DeVito and Bette Midler as a husband and wife with a less than perfect relationship. When she is kidnapped and held for ransom he refuses to pay … because he was planning on murdering her anyway.

His bit on the side, who has her own bit on the side, believes he has done just that, and that the kidnap story is his cover.

In a twist too complicated to explain she sends her boyfriend to a ransom drop to rob the cash When he attempts the robbery, the police fire a warning shot from cover. He dumbly looks at the guy with the bag of money and asks how he fired the shot. A cop on a bullhorn tells him that they fired the shot, that it’s the police and he’s surrounded.

He looks around blankly. “Really?” he asks. One of the cops turns to his colleague and says “This just might be the stupidest person on the face of the earth.”

I say to those cops, “Not so fast …”

There is a joke in our TV national treasure, Still Game, about two old geezers who’ve still got it which runs all the way through the early seasons; our two leading men walk into the local pub, The Clansman, and Bobby The Barman welcomes them with a joke; “Look who it is … it’s …” followed by what one of them will eventually refer to as “some shite double act” in a rant over his crap patter.

That came automatically to mind this morning reading Jackson’s latest piece.

There is an episode where Bobby refers to them as “Penn and Teller”, which earns him a typically strong rebuke. Jackson would not be the centre of this article had he used that one. He could have gone with that this morning when writing his piece about the dynamic duo at the heart of Scotland’s midfield and we’d have accepted that; two magicians. Perfect.

Instead, he went for Jack and Victor themselves.

Yes, our leading sportswriter in writing about Callum McGregor and Billy Gilmour and how their energy and drive made Scotland look credible against Switzerland, eschewed every other double act on the planet … and compared them instead to two old age pensioners.

I think that’s beyond satirising. It’s a classic example of Bad Writing 101. I don’t think there’s any way to make that worse. Yes folks, I do believe that our own Keith Jackson could well be the stupidest person on the face of the earth.

There is more than just the comparison, as breathtakingly idiotic as that is, to take issue with in that article. It’s pitched at a Scottish audience, for sure, but what if you were someone totally outside of the culture here picking that article up?

I opened with a scene from Ruthless People. That wasn’t just a segue into calling Jackson an idiot. The point of that was to demonstrate something. If you’re going to use a reference like that, give the member of the audience who knows least something to anchor them in the piece. I told you the name of the film. I explained the context of the joke.

I also explained a wee bit about Still Game before getting to Jackson’s horrific comparison. Just in case. He writes as if everyone will automatically get the “Jack and Victor” reference, as if there’s no-one on the planet who will ever need that explained. There is treating your audience with respect and then there’s assuming they share the same pop culture fascinations you do. He never explains what the context is, leaving people who haven’t a clue to guess.

In some ways it’s better that he does this … trying to explain that he’s comparing Scotland’s midfield duo to guys who are over 70 is an impossible sell for someone who doesn’t already get the reference … that’s not going to help them understand the point.

It will, on the other hand, leave them baffled and bewildered that this guy is a professional sportswriter.

If this was about a deconstruction of his writing skills, I wouldn’t even bother publishing it. The article is just rank. Most of it consists of an interview with Callum McGregor in which Jackson’s only interest appears to be wringing out whatever praise he can for Gilmour.

The rest of the piece of his “analysis” on the game itself, where he seems to think that our performance was due entirely to Gilmour being in the side and not, you know, more tactical coherence and … well, not playing the host nation, Germany.

I thought the performance was good up to a point.

We should have pressed more in an effort to win and I thought not bringing on Forrest was a significant error. I disagree entirely that us getting the point here was the proof that the only thing wrong with the German game was the decision not to play Gilmour … which is what Jackson appears to suggest.

The key problem I have with this – other than just not thinking Gilmour is the great player they are making him out to be – is if he plays and Scotland loses to Hungary, who then does the media hold accountable for it? Cause it won’t be him, not the golden boy on whose shoulders they are stacking the weight of national expectations.

Jackson has basically boiled down Scotland’s qualification chances to the performances of two players, and so whose neck do you think he’ll hang it around if we don’t actually make it? He and the others banging the Gilmour drum will get what they want … whether they want what they get is a different matter entirely.

This is another classic example of Keith Jackson logic though, starting out comparing them to two old geezers and then making them the focal point of national expectations.

You could not make this stuff up.

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  • harold shand says:

    Just a bitter hun who won’t give Calmac credit unless he can bring Gilmour into it too

    That Newport’s another one , I watched their Euro24 podcast the other night and he was saying Cal should be dropped altogether for the Swiss game cos he’s not got the legs anymore

    Watching Calum McGregor lift the cup and league trophies totally scunnered them and they can’t hide it

    Where’s the criticism for John McGinn he’s been terrible

  • Tony B says:

    It’s only because of Gilmourinho’s tenuous Ibrox connection ( he never actually played in the first team) that the Scoddish meedja is having a collective Meg Ryan Sleepless in Seattle style orgasm, solely to appease the stupid gullibillies.

    I’ll have what they’re having…… NOT!

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    The shape and attitude against the Swiss was better than it was against Germany, tho it was obvious from the first 5 mins, that Germany were right ‘in the mood’ as it were and we were outclassed, plain and simple and naebody was gonnae change that, regardless of what this clowns suggestin. Nothin personal against gilmour himself, tho we all remember when his mother wouldn’t even touch the green part of a Norwich scarf for a photoshoot. She wisnae kiddin either ! How bad was that ? And how the ibrox lovers at the DR absolutely lapped it up. Nae surprises people like jackson are all over him. The guy’s a journalistic bellend.

  • goodghuy says:

    I like gilmour, a think he’s a smashing wee player, and provides better balance, and Scotland are a far better side with him in it. This having a go at him because he is a rangers fan is ridiculous, who cares what team he supports, a lot of my mates support rangers as well, it’s about getting the best 11 on the pitch, and as I said I like the boy, a think he’s a good wee player. I mean you look at the England side, and they have all players who play against each other every week in the epl, and it does not matter, only in Glasgow honestly, get a grip guys.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      I am very much with you goodguy in that it matters not a jot to me what creed nor colour players selected for The Scotland team are – Just as long as they are good with the footy skills of their boots…

      However those having a go at him because he allegedly supports ‘Rangers’ simply cannot as ‘Rangers) died (c.2012)…

      Equally a lot of your mates cannot support ‘Rangers’ because once again they kicked the bucket in 2012…

      They of course support Sevco nowadays instead and most likely will have, but will definitely have had the option of follow following Sevco for 11 years and 328 days as of today (21st June 2024)…

      I’ll never let them forget that goodguy !!!

  • John Copeland says:

    Have you seen the colour of Inaction Jackson’s face while in Germany ? It’s the old hangover skin and complexion as he and his sidekick scoop McDermott are on the lagers early doors whilst working for their tabloid employer ……every day ! I hope they remember to get the receipts…..every penny is officially now a prisoner and at the seriously under selling rag – the daily Record.

  • frank says:

    Goodghuy, I don’t know what article you just read, but not obviously the one I did.

    James did not criticise Gilmour at any point, and did not mention him being a the Rangers supporter. I think it’s you who needs to get a grip.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    Billy Gilmour is a very good player no doubt about that but is just that, a very good player. I’ve got to say I looked forward to these Euros, but so far for this auld Celtic supporter it has brought back bad memories from the past, when Celtic players were always blamed for any bad performances from a Scottish National team. Against Germany there were no players who could be given pass marks yet CalMac was the guy who took the brunt of the criticism, Against Switzerland the guy they crucified was Tony Ralston who made an error that was spectacularly punished by Shaqiri. The player who put him under pressure was Grant Hanley who hit an easy pass up in the air putting Gilmour and Ralston under pressure. Ralston as we know is 2nd choice at Celtic and 3rd choice for Scotland, but the joy of the frenzy of criticism for a Celtic player from the media and internet was just to good to miss. Unfortunately some of our own Celtic fans even joined in.
    For the record I do think that Gilmour gave a better balance to our M/F. Steve Clarke has decisions to make regarding the way the team is set up, I don’t think he’ll try much different from his tried and trusted but I would like to see Forrest, Shankland or Morgan at some point. Hungary are no mugs and it will take an exceptional performance by Scotland to get through to the last 16.

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