Dr Andy Martin, a lecturer in French philosophy at Cambridge University, has created a “new branch of thought” based on David Beckham’s imagined philosophical awakening during his time playing for Paris Saint Germain.
This “thought branch” is called Becksistentialism, which Dr Martin calls “existentialism but with a very cool haircut”, and is based on his blog, Becks in Paris. The blog is described as imagining “Beckham’s internal monologue as he collides with the Parisian intellectual tradition - the glittering surface of a footballing icon cracked open by existentialism. Golden boy deconstructed.”
Dr Martin will be presenting a lecture on Becksistentialism at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, and says he views Beckham as having taken a similar journey to Voltaire’s Candide, who he says starts out as the ultimate optimist but is “forced by life to take a more complex view.”
Dr Martin told BBC News:
“I found myself identifying with Beckham, having lived myself in Paris in bygone days. As an east Londoner and having once captained a regional amateur team, I always felt if I hadn’t got into philosophy I could have been a footballer. I could imagine myself living the life he was living in Paris. It is impossible for a reasonably intelligent guy like Beckham not to have had some sort of revelatory encounter while he was there.”
The Cambridge Festival of Ideas starts today, and runs until 3 November.