Paulo Freire Predicts the Champions League Final

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Last week, a lot of amateurs dragged my good name through the mud. Basically, a handful of loons got on internet forums and felt the need to inaccurately predict the end of the world. And who pays the price? Sports-following clairvoyants like me, that’s who.

And intellectuals. Luckily, last week noted Psychoanalytic scholar Jacques Lacan spread some truth on Manchester United’s record-setting 19th title winning season. Now, we once against seek help from the world of academic all-stars: noted Postmodern educational scholar Paulo Freire gives us a peek at what to expect in the Champions League final.

You are widely credited as one of the fathers of “liberation theology”, summarized as an attempt to return the Catholic Church to a decentralized entity as envisioned in the gospel of the early Church. Will United be able to exploit Barcelona’s centralized reliance on Xavi and Messi?

Liberation theology, before anything else, is an attempt to apply a Marxist lens to Christianity by focusing on the suffering of the poor and their perspective. In this sense, Christ forces us to look at the larger structures of the world to ask – how and why do they create such unequal results? While Messi has scored lots of Barcelona’s goals, one can never underestimate the power of Xavi to fairly redistribute the ball to other teammates. This is the fundamental tension between centralization and decentralization, no?

Some of the key tenets of liberation theology, grass roots meetings and build-up theological interpretation, have been criticized by the current Pope. Will Barcelona’s attempt to slowly build from the back also be repressed by United’s pressure?

Many theological scholars misinterpret the criticisms of then-Cardinal Ratzinger. Rather than tossing the baby out with the bathwater, his concern was that Marxist and political lenses had supplanted, not enhanced, the fundamental message of the Bible: Jesus’ love and sacrifice for humanity, and our own potential to attempt to imitate this act. As such, Barcelona’s intricate buildup will surely face an initial wave of pressure from the light-footed Chicharito and tireless Park Ji-Sung. However, we cannot conflate such specific points with the broader picture.

Your obra maestra, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” has been summarized in unflattering terms as “Students prefer seminars to lectures – no shit.” Similarly, Barcelona’s approach has been called “Monkey in the middle ’til Messi gets open.” How do you respond to such characterizations?

A superficial and functional observation can always lead to unflattering summaries, even if they do have a shred of accuracy. However, these characterizations reveal a critical eye but a closed heart; only by fully rejecting the “top down/banker deposits knowledge” pedagogy and the “run-and-kick” offense can one accept the amazing power of transformation. On a spiritual level, you must accept this concept before the intellect can follow. Not vice-versa.

Your book “the Pedagogy of the Oppressed” has been banned in several totalitarian states, including Arizona (zing). As such, how can we reconcile Sir Alex’s iron-clad clasp on power and United’s success?

Well, for starters, one must clearly define success. Is power alone the definition of success? If so, then some authoritarian states, such as Cuba, must be deemed “success.” However, this is a self-serving criteria. Similarly, oftentimes the iron-clad SAF image and reality diverge. His assistant, Carlos Quieroz, actually runs a large share of United’s day-to-day operations. Also, SAF has shown a democratic and meritocratic approach to players – blooding, developing, and incorporating several different generations over the years. In this sense, SAF has the final say, but the players run the show. Is that not democracy?

Literacy programs for impoverished adults played a large part in both your personal and professional life & development. Do you believe that Barca’s cultured reading of the game gives them a slight edge as compared to United’s counterattacking 4-4-2?

Knowledge and power form a symbiotic bond. One inevitably influences the other. At moments this season, Manchester United has launched counters which go beyond functional literacy to collective telepathy – an understanding and coordination among persons that extends beyond top-down models. However, ultimately, in any society individuals are frightened by their freedom, yet freedom can only be attained by conquest. This is the paradox. We must rightly ask – will fear dominate? Thus, as always, human praxis will rule the day. If one side’s defense fails in its dialogical pursuits, the antidialogical temptation by either Pep or SAF, manifested in a defender for winger/forward sub, could undermine the entire enterprise. And leave them exposed to a counter.

One thought on “Paulo Freire Predicts the Champions League Final

  1. Normally I root against ManU, but Barca lost me with all their dives, whining, and gamesmanship against Real. Still, can’t wait for the game though!