Saturday, July 15, 2006


So a lot of press this week over the Zidane-to-Materazzi headbutt. Marseilles' version of the Glasgow Kiss. I've never seen or heard about the headbutt to the chest before. Quite impressive in its rhinocerotic power. My partner fancies Zidane because he looks like Daniel Day Lewis, not because of the headbutt. I have to admit some simpatico feelings towards Zizou initially. I thought the World Cup wasn't that good. And the shot of Zidane walking off past the trophy into the dressing room summed up football today. I'm glad that event hijacked a crappy final. It was more interesting than most of the football. The refs were crap half the time. Too many theatrics from players who should be ashamed of themselves. I hated the one centre forward hoik the ball up in the air shit in the tournament. What are we? 1953! Apart from being super corrupt (Italia fixing, Nike-adidas sweatshop goods etc.) soccer in Europa is still a fucking racist environment in which to play or watch. I know a bit of argy bargy, sledging, call it what you will is a legit bit of the nastiness in contemporary gamesmenship but I'm sick of racists getting away with it on the field and terraces. When I were a lad in the 70s there was no shortage of little snotty English shits ready with the 'Paki cunt' comment when they were lunging in for the tackle. They were 10 and 11 years old. Can't blame football for this behaviour entirely. But why should the fair football field be a legit site for racist abuse? Take it away somewhere else if you have to. It doesn't have to be that way, to quote the Blow Monkeys. I guess I was dying for the headbutt to have some postcolonial validation and valence as Muslim retaliation. What price 'righteous anger'? If indeed the words 'terrorist' and 'Algerian' were uttered alongside the words 'mother' and 'sister' in the cluster of mumbled and spat sentences thrown by the tall Italian, then Zidane meted out a bit of the ole Marseilles street justice. I read the amazing variation in global lip reading on various websites and felt 'deaf' in many languages. I thought one of the more interesting points--forget where it was I'm afraid-- was that Zidane has some of that (subaltern) anger that comes from being a postcolonial subject in a racist society. 'Oh Look there's a Nigger/Arab' to borrow from Frantz Fanon. It leaves a mark even if you try and repress it. But that anger is diffused and not politicized. It gets you sent off on several occasions. Other people, myself included, give it a different kind of value. We use it for our own political imaginations. Zidane has been quiet, respectable and the good beur. But the headbutt incident proved that you can't rub the hurt of racism away completely, even if Jacques Chirac has an affectionate word in your ear on the palace balcony. Anyway, looks like the advertising contracts are safe. I'm glad he didn't apologize. Or it was a strange ambivalent apology. On the one hand, he apologized to all the kiddies who might have been watching. But then he refused to 'regret' and therefore to fully apologize for the actual headbutt. He would have done it again if his mother and sister were so impuned. That's what being a man is about. So Zidane's headbut reminded us of 'family values'. Ironic turn of events that. Je Ne Regrette Rien was The Guardian headline, recalling the Little Sparrow, Edit Piaf. Which sent my mind spinning to the turntables in the building overlooking a banlieu block in Paris, and the DJ in the film La Haine who cuts up that song by Piaf with hip hop beats and Nique La Police. Fuck the police. Will be interesting to see if Zidane speaks up for the disenfranchised French African/Arab/Muslim youth and communities in his post-footballing career.

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