Thursday, July 13, 2006

My love for Zizou, and the shock word

For the past few days, the latest sports controversy has been was fuelled Zizou to do it. Unless you've been under a rock since the start of the summer, the World Cup has been on. France and Italy, countries with no discernible conflicts, made it to the final, with Italy winning. Our Italian friends were chuffed to bits. I, supporting France, was not.

The game will forever be remembered as the game where Zinedine Zidane (Zizou, as he is called in France) was red-carded in his very last game of international play, sent to watch him team lose in penalties, as they had not him, Thierry Henry or Patrick Vierra to take shots. He was sent off for head-butting defender Marco Materazzi. But why?

The media has been taking it pretty seriously, employing lip reading experts figure out what the Italian said to set Zizou off. Even days after the final, he wouldn't reveal what Materazzi had said. Some of the lip readers said that he called Zidane a "terrorist" or had wished death on all of his family, apparently an enormous insult in Italy.

Zizou finally relented and was interviewed by a French television channel last night. While he didn't go into specifics, he said that Materazzi hadn't called him a terrorist (good one, lip readers), but he had insulted his mother and sister repeatedly.

This is a phenomena that is clearly misunderstood in English-speaking cultures (i.e., Britain and the US). David Beckham was amazed when he was instantly red-carded for calling a football official hijo de puta (son of a whore). His response: "I didn't realise what I had said was that bad."

When I first encountered the puta I had not realised it was that bad either. Cari, a Mexican girl, came up to me one day, saying in broken, but determined English, "Uri call me puta." I should have known something was up because she avoided speaking in English as much as possible. But at that point, I hadn't put two and two together. "Okay..." I said, rolling my eyes. I turned to Uri, "Uh... stop calling her names." It was no more than a mild rebuke. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to talk to their ESL teacher. It's the absolute worse thing that a woman can be called, she said, downright terrible. So I had to take it very seriously. The next day, Cari came back to me with the same refrain: Uri had called her puta again. Theatricality to the max, I threw my arms in the air, loudly gasped in astonishment and covered my ears, then my mouth, then my eyes. Wagging my finger at him, I told him he was wretched and awful and I would have to talk to his mother. Uri, a very proud boy, was instantly ashamed and knew the gig was up. The Americano had figured him out.

Anyway, back to Zinedine. He admitted that it was a premeditated act, but that he was apologetic, but that he would do it again. I'm not sure how that works: I'm sorry, but I'm don't regret it. They must go hand-in-hand. However, this won't diminish the love that a major of the French, and I, feel for Zidane. First of all, he's tre, tre hot. He looks so vulnerable and humble, and a hell of a lot younger in the interview than he does on the pitch. Those eyes, ah, those eyes. It makes you want to clutch him to your bosom and say, "It's okay my lovely." Boy showed me a picture of him in the paper this morning. "Typically French," he said, "He wears a coat in the studio, but just over his shoulders. What is that about?"

That, my friend, is about being Zidane.

More about Zidane:


Anonymous a.t.w. said...

dude, i would have clocked the guy, too. what a little bleepity-bleep-bleep bleep. i thought the lip-readers said m. said that he was a 'son of a terrorist wh***' and that he hopes he and his family die an unhappy death + another unpleasant insult including the f-bomb. the first and second are enough, and that nit-pickity m. could get away with saying that he didn't call z. a terrorist and didn't 'say anything about his mother' on the technicality of it all... well, i'm sorry, the head butt was absolutely deserved. some will say it was selfish, but i don't think that being a footballer comes before being a human. so everyone decrying dear z needs to go be quiet. i think the french deserve praise for supporting their team regardless of the outcome, as opposed to the appalling brazillian fans who were giving their own team the finger for not winning. i call this 'the water boy phenomonon.' so some may say mr. z is disgraced, but i doubt that. the headbutt was a good choice as a fist to the head (more deserved) would have been considered an assault and m.'s daddy would have been suing him. can you believe m. was called 'a good boy?' what the freak?

Friday, 14 July 2006 at 11:36:00 BST  
Anonymous a.t.w. said...

p.s. (in my sleepless delirium) this tournament was interesting, but a total and complete mess. too bad i haven't been reading yer blog as i'm sure you were commenting heavily. it would've been nice to talk about it. thankfully i had 3 co-workers and my sister to blather with.

Friday, 14 July 2006 at 11:38:00 BST  

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