Football is faster than words
SPIEGEL: Are you a fan?
Pamuk: I was in my childhood. . . . . .
Radio reporters taught me to listen to something and imagine something at the same time. In the late 18th century, Goethe traveled to Italy, where he saw Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper.” At the time, people in Germany had heard of the painting but had no visual concept of it. He returned to Germany and wrote about it. There is a Greek term for this called “ekphrasis,” or expressing an image in words. Football reporting on the radio works the same way. Of course, it’s also clear that the reporter always lags behind the event itself and therefore constantly has to edit his words. Football is faster than words.
and later still:
SPIEGEL: What does Turkish football say about the condition of the country today?
Pamuk: The former Portuguese dictator (Antonio) Salazar also used football as a tool to control his country. He treated the game as opium for the masses, as a way of preserving the peace. It would be nice if it were that way in our country. Here football is no opium, but rather a machine to produce nationalism, xenophobia and authoritarian thinking. I also believe that it isn’t victories but defeats that promote nationalism.
SPIEGEL: How so?
Pamuk: Nationalism stems from catastrophes, whether they are caused by earthquakes or lost wars. In his novels, Tolstoy writes about how the war against Napoleon helped shape the Russian identity. A 0:8 loss against England is a similar catastrophe.
But there’s much more to the interview. Go see.