Is Wayne Rooney world class?
For those of you who don’t like football (and gosh, aren’t you going to have a miserable summer as a result), this might seem a pointless, irrelevant or even irritating question. He’ll do exactly the same thing in South Africa whether he is world class or not. But we’re a class-based society, and so we can’t let him out of the country until he has been graded.
It’s not like sport, and football in particular, is in need of another measurement system – what with goals, wins, losses, draws, points, tournaments and cups. World classness, though, has two advantages: it can mean anything you want, and you can apply it to anything or anyone if you’re lazy enough. It is a cross-sector measurement system which helps us to pat ourselves on the back in a non-specific way: if you describe yourself as world class on your web site we might think you’re a fantastist, but we can’t take you to court for it.
At least, not until I’m making the laws.
And so in world classness news this week: is Miami a world class city? Will the UK’s high-speed rail project be world class enough? When ESI Expands Its Singapore-Based Operations to Support Its Asian Micromachining & Passive Components Customers, does this enhance its position as a leading supplier of world-class photonic and laser systems? I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you the answer.
As world classness has become a de facto global ranking system, I thought I’d make use of it. So I Googled news for what is “world class” today and picked the first two non-sporting products I could find to compare to the Little Ginger Wizard. Using this I can get some kind of insight into Rooney’s world classness in a wider context.
Like England’s Great Hope, jazz music inspires strong emotions. Let us not forget that, in December 2009, an attendee at a jazz festival called the police when he heard Larry Ochs play. You decide if he was justified:
But is jazz as a whole better or worse than Wayne Rooney? And are both of them classier than The National Pork Board – after all, pork is a controversial meat that has been dividing selectors’ opinions ever since Deuteronomy didn’t pick it all those years ago.
For Rooney, jazz and the Pork Board I divided the number of articles each year that claim world classness by the number that didn’t. First, the good news. Rooney’s becoming more world class:
But as you can see, opinion is volatile. Not so with jazz, which is consistently accorded world class status far in excess of that of England’s Pugnacious Goal Machine:
Jazz has shown staying power, but there’s a lot of people claiming to be world class these days. Rooney might be scoring at will, but in the run-up to the World Cup he’s still not as consistently reported as being world class as The US National Pork Board:
Next time an England football fan tells you that “I think we can win it this time, Rooney’s world class”, just say to him that it’s a good job we’re not playing the Game of Bacon against team USA on 12 June. On the other hand, we could take them at jazz. That Larry Ochs is rubbish.