Welcome to the Super Mudbowl…

They promised us the fragrance of ‘Coco-Chanel Eau-de-Toilet’. It seems they left out the ‘Chanel’, ‘Eau’ and ‘De’ parts… and all we got was ‘Toilet’ and ‘Coco’…”

I was never much into sports myself – except rugby, of course… but that doesn’t count, as the word ‘sport’ is clearly insufficient to describe a self-contained belief system and philosophy of life. I must admit, however, that I do retain a soft spot for mud-wrestling.

It reminds me of my salad years as a hustler in downtown Detroit. I made a small fortune gambling on the Saturday night mud wrestling tournament at Tony’s Lounge: mainly betting on ‘Dirty Bertha’, (on the basis that she was known as ‘Bert the Ball-Bashing Barbarian’ before the operation). 

Ah, what memories! The fights, the drive-by shootings, the constant sound of sirens and helicopters in the background… but I digress. 

The point is that, as a keen observer of mud-wrestling over the past 25 years, I can confirm one peculiarity that sets this sport aside from any other. While there may be a ‘winner’ or a ‘loser’ (in the sense that an ‘umpire’ will eventually lift one muddied hand not the other)… the fact remains that both wrestlers will invariably get equally filthy by the end. 

In most cases, they can no longer even be told apart: any colour distinction their skimpy bikinis might have afforded is always caked in the same glistening mud; ditto for hair, tattoos, etc.

Not, mind you, that this detracts in any way from the spectacle of a good old-fashioned catfight between two perverted contestants in a pit of filth and slime. On the contrary, it explains precisely why Malta is the only country in the world to have registered ‘mud wrestling’ as its national sport. And we’re rather good at it, too. Even the quality of our mud is far superior to any I’ve ever seen in professional arenas. After 70 years of near total lack of transparency and accountability, Independent Malta has developed a thick, oily, oozy layer of luscious political manure…. and there is no branch of the state that is not somehow splattered with great glops of this noxious slime. 

Just look at the ongoing Super Mudbowl, which is broadcast all day, every day, on every TV and radio station in the country. Tell you what, I’ll do the commentary from now on.  

Welcome, folks, to this year’s edition of the Grand National Tag-Wrestling Super Mudbowl. The contestants are still warming up, so let’s go over the rules once more: 

Rule number one is: ‘You don’t talk about the Grand National Tag-Wrestling Super Mudbowl’. You just swear about it instead. OK?

Rule number two is… ‘You don’t talk about… the…’

No, hang on, that can’t be right. Oh, here it is: ‘Each participant is free to throw any amount of filth and muck at a rival contestant… so long as it sticks. An audience composed of undisputed experts in matters concerning dung, manure and excrement (whom we fondly refer to as ‘the electorate’) will eventually decide the winner. May the best muckraker win!’. Simple as that, really.

OK, onto our contestants. First into the pit are Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi and the prime minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri. It bears mentioning that Mizzi already has a couple of small muck-stains stuck to him from previous bouts… while Schembri is relatively untouched.

SPLATT! Looks like I spoke too soon. Ooh, I can already sense the revolting pong from here: that’s vintage Panama Poo, or my nostrils deceive me. And it seems an entire Panama Canal’s worth of it has just been dumped all over Mizzi and Schembri simultaneously… with a rather large glop hitting Prime Minister Joseph Muscat full in the face.

Well, that’s an exciting start to this encounter. With me in the studio to discuss tactics and strategy is our resident manure consultant, Prof. X. Kreeta. So professor…you reckon this stuff will stick?

“You kidding? You couldn’t get it off with power tools. Remember that muck like this tends to stick even if the allegations are never proven. In Mizzi’s case, he has already admitted a connection. The only difference is that, unlike everyone else in the country, he seems unaffected by the stench. In fact, he’s arguing that it actually smells of roses…”

Perhaps… if the roses were marinated in mouse-droppings first, then digested by a womp rat… but of course, we’ll have to wait and see what the electorate decides. Meanwhile, it’s taking the government an awful lot of time to come up with a reaction. What do you think, professor?

“It’s certainly a sticky situation.  For one thing, they’re going to have to scramble to come up with something equally yucky to throw back… and quick. But more importantly, they have to decide whether to substitute these two besmirched wrestlers – thus taking the full hit, but allowing space for a comeback later – or run the risk of competing for the rest of the tournament with a serious double-liability on their hands…” 

Sorry to interrupt, but it looks like some minor mudslinging is going on even as we speak. It seems that, in desperation, Muscat has fired a volley of last year’s shit at the Opposition… 

“Yes, I had a feeling they might. Their only defence against this type of attack is to remind spectators of all the Swiss secretions and Carribbean crap that had been flung at title-holding champions such as Austin the Gut and Ninu the Barbarian in 2015. The only problem is, it didn’t stick last year, and it is less likely to stick today. The issue is not that the Opposition is also covered in dung… we all know that anyway: this is mud-wrestling, remember? The issue is that Joseph Muscat had promised that he would be avoiding precisely this kind of pitfall to begin with. Yet after only the first three years in office…”

Well, it’s not looking too good for him at the moment, is it? But still, there’s still two whole years to go… and besides: with all the 25 years the Nationalists were in power, surely they would have found something particularly pungent by now…

And oh look, here it comes: aimed directly at Beppe Fenech Adami, it seems. This should be interesting…

Aw, crap! A commercial break! Still, this gives us time for analysis. Now Beppe, as we all know, is the son of Eddie ‘The Confessor’ Adami: a former past master in the fine art of extreme excrement-avoidance. Not perhaps as quick on his feet as his successor, Gonzi the Guiltless… who had had this uncanny ability to artfully dodge an entire barrage of poop-projectiles, so that the rest of the team got splattered instead… but Eddie was cloaked in a protective aura of unimpeachability, dipped in a cauldron of magic ‘Can Do No Wrong’ potion, that caused all manner of slime to simply slither off harmlessly and disappear.

Now let’s see if Beppe has inherited any similar Teflon super-abilities of his own….

Splat! Not as loud this time, and the smell seems… kind of familiar….

“That’s because it’s ‘odour of ODZ’. A cunning plan, seeing as the sort of shit that’s happening in ODZ places like Zonqor point was the flavour of the month, at least until recently. But again, this is another dose of last year’s excrement…”

Well, it certainly hasn’t slithered off any protective aura. A rather large glop caught him straight in the eye. Let’s see how this weighs up. Beppe Fenech Adami is now at the forefront of an anti-corruption movement – or so his party claims – and he also campaigned against the proposed Zonqor point development last year. So it is undeniably embarrassing to be reminded that he somehow got permits to radically enlarge a property of his outside the development zones, radically increasing the value of his property in the process.

To this must be added the dingle-berry of how Beppe managed to become one of only three ‘exceptions’ to a government policy not to allow a height extension. It definitely stinks, no doubt about that… but is it malodorous enough to overpower the lingering aroma of Panama poo? 

“If we were living in any other European country, perhaps. It definitely wouldn’t irritate as many nostrils as Panama – which would precipitate a full-blown political crisis almost anywhere in the world. But if it can be proven that rules were bent to accommodate a minister, it would definitely be resignation material elsewhere in Europe…”

Why not here, then?

“Because this is the world capital of mud-wrestling: we have grown so accustomed to stench that we hardly ever notice it any more. Except, of course, when it is needed as ammunition for the Super Mudbowl. This is why the Labour Party now seems so nauseated it might throw up any second… while the rest of us are only mildly irritated, as by the whiff of a nearby SBD…”

At the same time, however, this is also the sort of muck that won Labour the 2013 election. Remember the €500 pay-rise ponger? Not even Gonzi could successfully dodge his way out of that one. Everyone else took the blame, naturally, but this time he just couldn’t hold it off long enough for the election… 

“Yes, but what this government seems to be ignoring is the fact that its own shit stinks far worse… for the simple reason that they promised us better. Remember their campaign? They promised us the fragrance of ‘Coco-Chanel Eau-de-Toilet’. It seems they left out the ‘Chanel’, ‘Eau’ and ‘De’ parts… and all we got was ‘Toilet’ and ‘Coco’…”

Right folks, that’s all we have time for in this week’s episode. Tune in next week for an update on Malta’s most popular sporting programme, ‘Whose Shit Stinks Worse’. No telling who will win, of course, but one thing’s for sure. They’ll all be equally splattered by the end. 

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