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Zinedine Zidane: a Nietzschean

July 11th, 2006 by isaac · 2 Comments

The world cup came to a shocking finish on Sunday. I am sure this is old news to most everyone out there. The shock didn’t come from some electrifying, game-winning goal in the last minutes of the match. Rather, the global audience of the final game could not believe their eyes when this World Cup’s best player maliciously slammed an Italian player to the ground with an unexpected head-butt. Zinedine Zidane, also called “Zizou” by his fans, earned a red card in the 111 minute of the match, just moments away from the end of regular play and the beginning of penalty kicks.

Hugo Schwyzer sums up how I also felt after the Sunday match: “It strikes me as one of the most self-destructive moments I’ve ever seen in sport. No words—no matter how ugly or vicious—could have justified the violence and thoughtlessness of Zidane’s reaction. I’m sad for how this will forever color his legacy.” What was Zidane thinking? Isn’t he a world-class soccer player? Shouldn’t someone in the global spotlight now how to act (and not to act)? How irresponsible! Hugo is right to call this a completely “self-destructive” act, a total disregard for Zizou’s own legacy…

Then I read a brilliant piece by Bernard-Henri Levy in today’s (July 11) Opinion section of The Wall Street Journal:

the only explanation is that there was in this man a kind of recoil, an ultimate inner revolt, against the living parabola, the stupid statue, the beatified monument, that the era had transformed him into over these past few months. The man’s insurrection against the saint. A refusal of the halo that had been put on his head and that he then, quite logically, pulverized with a head-butt, as though saying: I am a living being not a fetish; a man of flesh and blood and passion, not this idiotic empty hologram, this guru, this universal psychoanalyst, a natural child of Abbe Pierre and Sister Emauelle, which soccermania was trying to turn me into. It was as though he were repeating, in parody, the title of one of the very great books of the last century, before the triumph of this liturgy of the body, performance and commodity: Ecce Homo, This is a Man. Yes, a man, a true man, not one of these absurd monsters or synthetic stars who are made by the money of brand names in combination with the sighs of the globalized crowd. Achilles had his heel. Zidane will have had his—this magnificent and rebellious head that brought him, suddenly, back into the ranks of his human brothers.

Absolutely brilliant. Zidane dis-mantles the halo of stardom forced on him by the fetishism of modern celebrity commodification as he strikes an enemy with his nearly beatified head. And the world is shocked as one of it’s sythetic stars disappears from commercialized pop culture.


Tags: current events · pop culture

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mark // Jul 11, 2006 at 12:29 pm

    Another, perhaps, pertinent question might be: what might have been said to him that a man of such experience and maturity would react so?

  • 2 Eric Lee // Jul 11, 2006 at 2:56 pm

    I know next-to-nothing about sports and didn’t watch any of the world cup games (sorry if I don’t fit in).

    With that out of the way, my only comment would be, in response to what Zidane did, tying into that excellent blurb above (and, of course, some Nietzsche), is that I have a feeling that Zidane will come out with a book now with chapter headings (pun intended) called “Why I Have Such a Cool Name” and “Why I Head Butt In Such Clever Ways.”