Monty Python: The Philosophers’ Football Match

Football Commentator
Good afternoon, and welcome to a packed Olympic stadium München for the second leg of this exciting final. And here come the Germans now, led by their skipper, "Nobby" Hegel. They must jolly start favourites this afternoon; they've certainly attracted the most attention from the press with their team problems. And let's now see their line-up.

The Germans playing 4-2-4, Leibniz in goal, back four Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer and Schelling, front-runners Schlegel, Wittgenstein, Nietzsche and Heidegger, and the mid-field duo of Beckenbauer and Jaspers. Beckenbauer obviously a bit of a surprise there.

And here come the Greeks, led out by their veteran centre-half, Heraclitus. Let's look at their team. As you'd expect, it's a much more defensive line-up. Plato's in goal, Socrates a front- runner there, and Aristotle as sweeper, Aristotle very much the man in form. One surprise is the inclusion of Archimedes.

Well here comes the referee, K'ung fu-tsze (Confucius), and his two linesmen, St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas. And as the two skippers come together to shake hands, we're ready for the start of this very exciting final. The referee Mr Confucius checks his sand and… they're off!

Nietzsche and Hegel there. Karl Jaspers number seven on the outside, Wittgenstein there with him. There's Beckenbauer. Schelling's in there, Heidegger covering. Schopenhauer. And now it's the Greeks, Epicurus, Plotinus number six. Aristotle. Empedocles of Acragus and Democratus with him. There's Archimedes. Socrates, there he is, Socrates. Socrates there, going through. There's the ball! There's the ball.

Announcer
And we'll be bringing you back to this exciting contest the moment anything interesting happens.

Football Commentator
Well there may be no score, but there's certainly no lack of excitement here. As you can see, Nietzsche has just been booked for arguing with the referee. He accused Confucius of having no free will, and Confucius he say, "Name go in book". And this is Nietzsche's third booking in four games.

And who's that? It's Karl Marx, Karl Marx is warming up. It looks as though there's going to be a substitution in the German side. Obviously the manager Martin Luther has decided on all-out attack, as indeed he must with only two minutes of the match to go. And the big question is, who is he going to replace, who's going to come off. It could be Jaspers, Hegel or Schopenhauer, but it's Wittgenstein! Wittgenstein, who saw his aunty only last week, and here's Marx. Let's see it he can put some life into this German attack.

Evidently not. What a shame. Well now, with just over a minute left, a replay on Tuesday looks absolutely vital. There's Archimedes, and I think he's had an idea.

Archimedes
Eureka!

Football Commentator
Archimedes out to Socrates, Socrates back to Archimedes, Archimedes out to Heraclitus, he beats Hegel Heraclitus a little flick, here he comes on the far post, Socrates is there, Socrates heads it in! Socrates has scored! The Greeks are going mad, the Greeks are going mad. Socrates scores, got a beautiful cross from Archimedes. The Germans are disputing it. Hegel is arguing that the reality is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics, Kant via the categorical imperative is holding that ontologically it exists only in the imagination, and Marx is claiming it was offside.

But Confucius has answered them with the final whistle! It's all over! Germany, having trounced England's famous midfield trio of Bentham, Locke and Hobbes in the semi-final, have been beaten by the odd goal, and let's see it again.

There it is, Socrates, Socrates heads in and Leibnitz doesn't have a chance. And just look at those delighted Greeks. There they are, "Chopper" Sophocles, Empedocles of Acragus, what a game he had. And Epicurus is there, and Socrates the captain who scored what was probably the most important goal of his career.
 

A personal note
Here is an quirky observation I've had over the years. The humour of Monty Python is based on the absurd and I have found that people either get it or they don't. They think it's hilarious or it's not funny at all; it's stupid. There seems to be no middle ground. Worth a chuckle? Amusing? No, it's either bring tears to your eyes slash out loud guffaw funny or zip, nada, nothing. Maybe it's more of a question of absurdist humour. Certainly you have to have a certain taste for such a thing. After all, does everybody get The Marx Brothers or The Three Stooges? It's a taste.

So my odd take on Monty Python. Funny or not funny. Hilarious or stupid. No fence sitting.

 
Click HERE to read more from William Belle

References

Uploaded by meskalino on Nov 8, 2006

Wikipedia: The Philosophers' Football Match
The Philosophers' Football Match is a Monty Python sketch depicting a football match in the Olympiastadion at the 1972 Munich Olympics between philosophers representing Greece and Germany. Starring in the sketch are Archimedes (John Cleese), Socrates (Eric Idle), Hegel (Graham Chapman), Nietzsche (Michael Palin), Marx (Terry Jones) and Kant (Terry Gilliam).

Wikipedia: Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl
Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl is a 1982 concert film in which the Monty Python team perform many of their greatest sketches at the Hollywood Bowl. The show also included filmed inserts which were mostly taken from two Monty Python specials, Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus, which had been broadcast on German television in 1972. The performance was recorded on videotape in September 1980 and transferred to film. In the wake of the worldwide success of Monty Python's Life of Brian, the Pythons originally planned to release a film consisting of the two German shows edited together, but this proved impractical, and so Hollywood Bowl was released instead.

Wikipedia: Monty Python
Monty Python (sometimes known as The Pythons) was a British surreal comedy group who created Monty Python's Flying Circus, a British television comedy sketch show that first aired on the BBC on 5 October 1969. Forty-five episodes were made over four series. The Python phenomenon developed from the television series into something larger in scope and impact, spawning touring stage shows, films, numerous albums, several books and a stage musical as well as launching the members to individual stardom. The group's influence on comedy has been compared to The Beatles' influence on music.

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