The Legend of Wooley Swamp

What ever happened to nuance? Jabberwocky is being spewed up by the left and right as they try to drag us into their Wonderlands. This blog charts a path out of this swamp of simple truths and false certainties. And from time to time, it'll be a place for more light-hearted musings.

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Location: Palms - L.A, California

Saturday, August 05, 2006

But Mama Said Knock Him Out....

Don't call it a comeback....(read this post while checking out this video clip, crank up the volume and press play in the middle of the image)

Yes, the Swampmeister was so incredibly disappointed with what transpired during the World Cup final that he went on an extended vacation. And just after having given Zizou his proper due too! In the final he plays like a footballing demi-god, scores a wonderful penalty on the world's best goalie, who in turn then makes an incredible save on Zizou's 104th minute leaping header from another dimension, (click here to read a good article about the final, there were so few). He was a 1/4 inch from winning a second World Cup, once again with his cabeza and adding a second etoile to the French jersey.

Enter Marco Materazzi,the grandest provacateure of them all. (click for a video collage)

Materazzi dishes out his sense of justice to Zlatan, click here for an article addressing this incident and others.

The same Materazzi who caused the penalty that Zidane scored on, the same Materazzi who equalized Zizou's strike and the same Materazzi who would later score one of the penalties in the shootout that gave Italy its fourth stella.

Suddenly Zidane charged Materazzi like a bull, planted his magical head in the Italian's chest and down the latter went. "What in the wide, wide world of sports is a-going on around here?" summarizes what one billion people were thinking at that moment.

Rumors were flying: nipple-pinching, racist jibes, counter-terrorism tactics or a classic yo mama joke, delivered in Italian. Materazzi declared the latter scenario absurd: he was a momma's boy, lost his own mother at the age of fifteen, respects and worships all mothers in the history of the world etc.

French savant Bernard-Henri Levy (unwitting contributor to the Swamp in the past) is always ready to psychoanalyze anybody but himself. Here he goes into Zidane's background, emerging from the streets of Marseilles, teeming with honor and pent up rage:

"No one knows what the Italian, Marco Materazzi, did or said (in the 111th minute of a match that this hero had dominated with all his grace) to reawaken in him those old demons of a kid from the streets of Marseilles, the very demons that soccer's code of honor, its ethic, its aesthetic, are made to quell. Even if we knew why; even if we knew for certain that the Italian insulted him, or cursed his mother, father, brothers, sister; even if we got hold of the black box of those 20 seconds that saw the champion destroy in a flash his legend that is a mix of secret king, a Dostoyevskian sweet man, the ideal Beur son-in-law, future mayor of Marseilles and, last but not least, the charismatic captain leading his troops to consecration; even if we knew the whole story, this suicide would be as all ordinary suicides are; no reason in the world explains the desperate act of a man--no provocation, no nasty remark, will ever tell us why the planetary icon that Zinedine Zidane had become, a man more admired than the Pope, the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela put together, a demigod, a chosen one, this great priest-by-consensus of the new religion and the new empire in the making, chose to explode right there, rather than wait a few minutes to settle the quarrel on the sidelines."
(click here to read this entire, surreal piece of soccer meets Zeus and Freud, some of it far too similar to material on this blog)

On French TV a few days later, Zidane confirmed that it indeed was an insult to his mother and sister that triggered the moment of insanity. Zizou's mother Malika raised him a certain way. She was quoted as saying: "I want Materazzi's balls on a platter" (click here for more). Elemantary, my dear Watson, the mystery is solved. Zidane pleads the LL Cool J defense, someone else told him to do it. Mama said....

Very reminiscent of what he told the press when he returned to the national team in 2005 after having retired a year earlier. "In the middle of the night, a voice told me to play for les Bleus."

Here in the Swamp, it's too hot (DC heatwave, 100 F/40 C) to make any sense of this even a month later. But to my mind, Zinedine Zidane remains a good man - those who now so eagerly rushed to judge had been sharpening their knives for years. I say: Condemn the action, accept the man.

Here endeth my own comeback and the long overdue final words on the World Cup. Soon a report from my vacation in the mountains of western Carolina and the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.


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