Twitter is full of interesting snippets that send me trawling the internet for expansion packs on bits and pieces of news. Yesterday it was this from Lisa Holdsworth @WorksWithWords, Sorry? Vinnie Jones has emigrated because he has a problem with immigrants? Call Alanis Morrisette, her song's gonna need a rewrite.
I quickly found the article in the Guardian that she was referring to, and, if it had been almost anyone but Vinnie Jones talking, I’m not sure I would have believed what he said. This wasn’t just the funniest thing I read yesterday, it was also probably the nastiest, and there’s some pretty nasty stuff in the papers right now. Of course, I’m not remotely surprised that Vinnie Jones fails to see the irony that, since he has made a permanent home in LA, he has become that which he despises. He has become an immigrant.
Jones’s contention is that Great Britain is going to the dogs, and all because of immigration.
This from a man who had no compunction about invoking a Welsh grandparent to qualify for, and ultimately captain, the Welsh football team.
I wonder that the USA would have Vinnie Jones as a permanent resident at all. He must have jumped through some hoops. He must have had all kinds of dispensations to do it.
|Vinnie Jones, looking like he means it|
If you weren’t around when Vinnie Jones was playing football for various clubs in the ‘80s and ‘90s, notably Wimbledon and Leeds, you might not remember his reputation for being a ‘hard man’, you might not remember how proud he was of taking violence off the terracing and onto the pitch – his words not mine. Vinnie Jones holds the record for the fastest ever booking in football for a foul, after three seconds, during a match in 1992. He was sent off twelve times in his career. There is a famous photo of him grabbing Paul Gascoigne’s testicles during a match, and he injured defender Gary Stevens so badly during a challenge that the defender never fully recovered and eventually had to retire.
All of these acts of violence are on record. Vinnie Jones even promoted his image in the ‘Soccer’s Hard Men’ video in 1992, capitalising on his reputation. He was fined £20,000 for his pains, but it paid off, since he’s subsequently made an entire career out of that very same image, and we’ve all bought into it by watching his so-called Action movies.
I suppose there are those who might suggest that all professional sport poses some risks. There are those who’ll suggest that’s why there’s a carding system in football, precisely to keep players like Vinnie Jones under control. There are those who’d say that Jones isn’t and wasn’t the only wayward player. There are those who’d say that boys will be boys.
This man is given a voice by the society that we live in, and what he says influences people, particularly young men, because of the status that we have conferred upon him.
Vinnie Jones doesn’t like immigration and yet he is an immigrant.
Most countries don’t allow immigration for those who have criminal records, particularly for violence. I wonder what Vinnie Jones had to do to gain permanent residence in the USA. I'd like to think he had to do quite a lot, but the cynic in me doubts he had to do very much at all. Anyone else with a criminal record that included convictions for assault occasioning actual bodily harm and criminal damage in 1998, and assault and threatening behaviour as recently as 2003 might expect to find it extremely difficult to gain permanent residence as an immigrant almost anywhere in the World.
Vinnie Jones is famous of course. Vinnie Jones is Hollywood famous.
Hollywood is naive enough to think that Vinnie Jones is an actor when, in fact, it would appear that the characters he plays are not so very far removed from reality, are not a great stretch for him.
Personally, I think Vinnie Jones is a nasty piece of work, and I’ll take any number of honest, hardworking immigrants who can enrich my cultural experience of the World, right here in my home town, over one violent, middle-aged, politically confused British man, any time.
You can keep him, LA, and good luck with that.