With a journalism background, I'd like to think I'm pretty sensitive to B.S. I'd like to think I have this little internal sensor that goes off whenever someone is trying to sneak one past me. Most times, I'm on the money.
Can't the same be said for the rest of humanity, unfortunately.
While most people can be cynical, very few do it professionally.
That's why it's astounding the uproar and attention a pissing match between Inter manager Jose Mourinho and Catania chief executive Pietro Lo Monaco gets in the press and on message boards. Mourinho is probably a better manipulator of the media and fans than he is a football manager -- and that's saying something.
Mourinho won't likely win any sportsmanship awards, but when it comes to gamesmanship, he's an ace. Immediately his antics deflect attention his way, and away from his players. When he rebuffs Catania as an also-ran in Serie A (they are, aren't they?), he becomes the story and not the fact that his team barely slipped past an also-ran on a phantom goal. Manipulation.
Plus, he's gosh-darned entertaining. Take this gem about Lo Monaco from Gazzetta dello Sport:
"Monaco who? I known Bayern Monaco (Italian for Bayern Munich), Monaco of Monte Carlo and the 'monaci' (Italian for monks) of Tibet, the Monaco Grand Prix. ... If this Monaco wants to get on the front page, he should know I don't hand out free publicity. I don't like to instigate, but I don't like to be provoked. And I know I'm someone who sells, who gets attention. Take that Lo Monaco. He got himself on CNN for free. Fantastic, no?"
See, I don't mind the bravado. I don't mind the bluster and I don't mind the "Special" claims. Why? Because he walks the walk. What's the famous Chelsea t-shirt? 6 Trophies, 3 Seasons? Tack on two titles in Portugal, a domestic cup there and oh yeah, the UEFA Cup and Champions League title, and the guy has plenty to boast about.
So why does it bother us so? Why don't more people find him refreshing and entertaining? I'm not a Porto fan, nor an Inter fan; I guess I am a Mourinho fan. And it's probably because I like big personalities, I like winners and I like people who back it up. I don't like underdogs and minnows spoiling the World Cup by somehow sneaking in via Oceania and then losing all three group matches 4-nil. Not my idea of fun.
I've said my piece, but I'll leave you with a final thought from Mourinho:
"In whatever work you do, you can't be afraid of risks or anyone. It's normal when an architect finishes a projects he thinks it's an incredible masterpiece, even if we look at it and think it's very ugly. That's the professional life of someone in a competitive job. It's a life philosophy. I respect everyone. Actually, it really upsets me when people say Mourinho is the best coach in the world. I really don't agree. But I don't think anyone is better than me at my job."