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BatiGol Weekly 222: Where the devil don’t stay

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In which we discuss Bulgakov because it’s 2018 and we’re still hipsters from, like, a decade ago.

Torino FC v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A
Daddy tell me another story, tell me about the lows and the highs.
Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Because it’s been a little while since I went full-on nerd on yall, it’s time to unleash another really awkward, forced set of analogies and metaphors that would make any actual authority on literature shriek with despair. Today, I set as my helpless target Mikhail Bulgakov’s Soviet masterpiece The Master and Margarita. If this doesn’t appeal to you, then you should 1) scroll down to the next section, and 2) find a different Fiorentina website, because this sort of thing happens with distressing regularity around here.

If you haven’t read TMaM, you should stop reading this stupid blog and go read that instead because it is about as close to the perfect novel as you can get, despite its many and unapologetic flaws. If this already sounds like I’m building a tortured Fiorentina comparison, reader, we’ve barely just begun.

The novel takes place in Soviet Moscow during the 1930s. Its central premise is a visit from the devil himself, an urbane and mysterious magician accompanied by a motley retinue that includes an enormous black cat who makes a mockery of himself and everyone else. Thematically, though, it deals with the price that genius exacts on a person—the titular Master in this case—who is driven into a depression and institutionalized after his historical novel about Pontius Pilate and the circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus is denied publication by the artistic oversight arm of the Soviet bureaucracy. And tell me if this isn’t Fiorentina to a tee: brilliant, incisive, explosive, and always a step ahead of or behind the prevailing trends of the age. Always suffering a disaster right when their powers have waxed to their greatest and falling into a self-inflicted downward spiral of lost confidence and conspiracy. Always getting in their own way until they’ve beaten themselves better than anyone else ever could.

But it’s not all the unremitting grimness of the Soviet system, because Margarita is also there, and her devotion to the Master—despite his obstinacy and fussiness and many obvious flaws—is utterly unshakeable. She offers to trade her soul to the devil in exchange for the Master’s health, suffers death and worse, and comes back out the other side triumphant due to her immovable faith and her incorruptible love. She is Orpheus, descending to the underworld in pursuit of her beloved, but she one-ups Pimpleia’s most famous son by returning with herself and the object of her journey downwards intact. She is steadfastness personified, suffering all things in the hope that she will, through her suffering, win freedom for the Master in the living death which he’s built for himself.

I can’t imagine many better descriptions of the agonies and triumphs of being a fan, although as far as I know, Bulgakov didn’t care even the slightest bit about football or sport in general; rather, he was a theater wonk, so maybe you should take this one to Lorenzo. But the pain, the agony, the watching from the sidelines as the one who means everything to you creates a perfect masterpiece and then destroys it in a fit of despair: this is how I feel every week watching Federico Chiesa forge something out of nothing, only for it to return to nothing again because nobody else can help him. This is how I feel when Germán Pezzella quietly turns back another ballyhooed attacker, using his positioning and anticipation to wall off whichever striker from getting a sniff at goal for 90 minutes at a time. This is how I feel when I see all of these talented, beautiful, broken, and imperfect boys running their hearts out over and over to achieve a result that fills me with anxiety, even if it’s a win, because the cracks are so evident and it surely can’t get better so it’s bound to get worse. The Master and Margarita can be anything to anyone; to me, it’s about supporting a football club that never stops letting me down in the cruelest way imaginable.

On the other hand, Fiorentina doesn’t have any connection to an enormous and bulletproof black cat who drinks vodka and plays chess and generally makes an ass of himself and everyone else, so this whole TMaM analogy falls flat. Which is a shame, because who wouldn’t want a cat like that?

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Fiorentina are chasing Turkish international Yusuf Yazıcı, according to his agent. Wanna learn more about him? We’ve got you covered.

I don’t know if you can say that Fiorentina played at Torino this weekend, but there was something resembling a match and we did our usual thing with talking about it.

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Poll

Who is your favorite Russian novelist?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Dostoevsky, because you can’t deny the GOAT.
    (5 votes)
  • 7%
    Tolstoy, because you can’t deny that the GOAT may well not be the GOAT.
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Turgenev, because you know more about books than those other sorry bastards.
    (0 votes)
  • 14%
    Bulgakov, because The Master and Margarita may damn well be the best novel ever written.
    (2 votes)
  • 42%
    lol none of those are fortnite characters
    (6 votes)
14 votes total Vote Now

Comment of the week

Let’s all bless Mike McCormack for somehow dragging something positive out of that snoozer against Torino.

That’s it for this week, folks. Next time you vacuum, move the furniture a little bit so you can get those tough to reach spots.