Gentlemen....Raise Your Brushes!

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The airbrushing of history is nothing new. The least subtle example, to my mind, was during the Communist period in Russia, when the images of those who fell from Politburo favour were literally removed from photographs, being replaced with trees or similar background. In film, too, the editor exercised his art; I recall one film of Lenin in which a soldier rose from the bottom of the screen to salute Vladimir Ilyich, the act of doing which just happened to obscure Trotsky or some such former favourite. Quite artistic in its own way, so long as you can overlook the murderous intent behind it.

There are plenty of examples from before and after Soviet Russia. Hieroglyphs and statues of the female Pharaoh Hatshepshut were defaced after her death, presumably by men with the same mind set as most modern day Scotsmen, while the most topical example is probably the late, unlamented Jimmy Saville, currently making the short journey from weirdo to paedo in the public imagination by way of the media.

All this non-fitba related stuff flashed through the turgid, pompous debris that is my mind on the drive home before the Scotland game last week, listening to two extremely poorly trained presenters on the radio lament over the last ten years or so of the national team. If BBC Scotland are trying to go for an audio version of 'The Broons', I tip my cap. Any other aim and they need a rocket. But that's by the bye. The point is the strange desire to depict the last five Scotland managers as failures.

I suspect you can guess where this is going.

No-one in their right mind would call Berti Vogts and George Burley anything other than failures. We can all agree on those two. You'd be hard put to find anyone who puts the erstwhile incumbent outside the group, either. What about the two before that? Not quite so clear cut. Alex McLeish, well, we didn't qualify so I guess that is failure. Compared to the chronic attempts by his successors, they seem like reasonable stabs, but at the end of the day we didn't qualify. A 'qualified' failure for Big Eck it is, then.

Which leaves, Uncle Walter. Sadly for the radio person making the claims above, and who I am sad to say once donned the light blue as well as the dark blue, the programme itself rather undercut his thesis by looking back to the campaign in which we held our own with Italy, France and Ukraine, only missing out on the last game. Which campaign was overseen by Walter, and later McLeish. There are failures, and then there are failures. That campaign, including two wins over a still damn fine France team, cannot be called a failure.

So why try to write it off? Not because Steven Thomson is an anti-Rangers loonball, I'm sure of that. More likely because in football, forced to feed off itself in order to provide 24/7 coverage, rewriting history 'just happens'. Not to cause offence, not to have a go at anyone, not even to send a Spaniard with an icepick to Mexico. Just to fill airtime with something, anything. It may not be a big deal, but it's worth keeping an eye on.

Chick Young - and here I am aware of how thin the credibility of this argument has just become - recently referred to the Scotland side of the 90s as having featured real talent, the like of which we can only dream about today. His real talents, believe it or not, included Gary McAllister and Craig Burley. If that's not looking back and rewriting history, I don't know what is! The chief whip of the government, some bespectacled pudding (not Levein, I think his name is Mitchell) tried to rewrite his own history only recently too...it doesn't seem to be working out too well for him, either.

TV and radio especially, with their need to avoid dead air, can often find their presenters coming out with nonsense under pressure. There may be no ulterior motive behind such statements, but it's becoming a feature of 21st century Western society that the past which is redrawn is getting ever nearer behind us. If you are telling a story, there is always a fine line to be drawn between depicting enough detail to be convincing, to draw in the reader, without going so far over the top that the reader becomes aware he or she is actually reading a book: destroying the fictitious illusion or reality, if you like.

Gersnet poster der Berliner has, many times, drawn attention to how the Rangers administration and liquidation fiasco is misreported; if current events, too, are subject to the airbrush, the reality we perceive around us may become thinner still. Since I moan regularly on here about how we, as Rangers fans ane therefore ambassadors for the club, really need to present ourselves better to the world, it's only fair to ask those with an audience in the thousands to do the same.



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