Joey Barton: Outdoing Himself—Self-Transformation or Self-Amplification?

Joey Barton has been given more second chances than anyone in the game, but the retro futuristic footballer’s predisposition to destruction continues to flout the good will of others.
A preseason view shows thicker growth over the philtrum…

Newcastle’s return to the Premier League is news during these inaugural weekends of the season. After a fairly easy run in the Championship, they were back with many of the same faces. A club with rabidly loyal fans, a pathetic and disinterested owner, and a self-effacing manager, who exceeded his status as temporary proxy, could only be obscured by Joey Barton and his new toothbrush moustache. Upon scoring the first goal of a 6—0 win against Aston Villa, he celebrated with an apparent Nazi-like gesture.

A few years ago one could walk through the hipster neighborhoods of Brooklyn and see young self-serving men sporting beards inspired by the Taliban. The 1970s southern rock beard had already been the rage for months. Local Hasidic Jews with their beards and payes had done that look long ago. So where else was there to go in order to regain an edge?

Any stylistic appropriation can be made permissible if emptied of content with the exception of Adolf Hitler’s toothbrush moustache. No one has been able to pull this off unless one excuses an exiled former Ecuadorian president who called himself “the crazy one” and Robert Mugabe.

A year prior to Joey Barton’s attempt, the permissibility of the toothbrush moustache was the subject of an English comedian’s effort to test the power of comedy. What degree and magnitude of humor could negate the square inch symbol of genocide?

Perhaps Barton is in tune with the comedy circuit. He defended his growth through the comedy value it provided his teammates. He also explained that the celebration gesture was not a Nazi salute but a reference to the pledge he made to grow a moustache until Newcastle recorded their first win of the season (he felt sufficiently confident to declare this 12 minutes into the match). Strange, since the longer the team went without winning the less the moustache would look Hitlerian.

People like Joey Barton are remarkable for their ability to top themselves when no one thinks it possible. Time and again his rap sheet proves everyone wrong. After assaulting Manchester City teammate Ousmane Dabo, which required a trip to the hospital, Barton beat a man unconscious outside a McDonalds.

He was released after serving most of a six-month prison sentence. During this reflective period, he appeared to have spent his time cultivating a 1960s shaggy bowl cut, which turned the “Yes” of the Beatles into the nihilism of A Clockwork Orange.

Joey Barton upon release from prison. His only visitor may have been his stylist.

The ease at which he turned the affirmation of life into dystopia could only be outdone by his toothbrush moustache and accompanying haircut which made him look like Sean Penn playing a fascist in effort to show how anti-Fascist he is.

Each time Barton outdoes himself it get less and less funny, despite never being funny to begin with. There is a lesson in comedy. Part of the comic value his moustache provided to those who played along with the gag was his trouble growing one in the first place. His dark side is truly predisposed. Apparently, this is the only patch of flesh with moustache capacity, and hence the only style.


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