Well, it could have been a lot worse

I finally saw footage of the now infamous Zidane headbutt. It came in the form of an explanation showing that Zidane was actually saving a man’s life by knocking him out of the way of a sniper bullet.

(That link’s actually pretty funny…)

At the risk of sounding like a complete thug, I have to say something here briefly….

Zidane butted this guy in the chest. To me it looks like Materazzi is making great theater of the TREMENDOUS FORCE of the blow, and the ENSUING AGONY he endured.

I am not what you’d call an authority on hand-to-hand combat… (shaddup, eponymous)… but headbutting someone in the chest is not the stuff of international incidents. Yes, it was in overtime, and yes, it may have cost the French the cup, but it’s not like he headbutted Materazzi in the face, which would have been an act of profound aggression. The Scottish Handshake, as is sometimes called, breaks noses, smashes teeth and breaks cheekbones. It’s the sort of attack that is meant to maim someone. I have passed on using it once or twice myself. Reading the media coverage of the incident, I thought Zindane had tried to kill Materazzi. Crap. Sensationalist bullshit.

Headbutting someone in the chest is shorthand for “Fuck you. You want to play? Let’s dance, sweetheart.”

Sure, it looks like Zidane lost his temper, and word is leaking out today that Materazzi probably did provoke him with the intent of drawing the foul. I can’t say that I wouldn’t have had the same reaction, to be perfectly honest. Bad sportsmanship, sure, but I think that it would be a lot more responsible to say “Zidane struck Materazzi in the chest with his head.” Calling it a “Headbutt” has completely different connotations.

::UPDATE:: According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the lipreaders say the insult was “son of a terrorist whore.”

UK newspaper The Times hired Jessica Rees, whose skill has had her summoned as an expert witness at criminal trials, to study a tape of Sunday’s match in which Zidane received a red card for his seemingly spontaneous assault.

“After an exhaustive study of the match video and with the help of an Italian translator, Rees claimed Materazzi called Zidane ‘the son of a terrorist whore’ before adding ‘so just f— off’ for good measure,” it reported.

So. To review: Zizou is Algerian and his mother is dying.

What would you have done?

A Correction

On Friday, Feb 10th, as part of my random ten iPod songs, I said the following:

2. Funky Drummer- James Brown: I once was in a band who were briefly courted by RCA Records back in the ’90s. The A&R guy was named Peter Lubin, and he had been around in A&R for years, and had a good set of ears and an even better nose for trouble, which is why he didn’t sign the troubled bunch of yoofs for whom I was drumming. Over dinner, while we were still in the courtship stage, Lubin talked about his early days as a mid-level flunkie at Polygram (or Polydor- can’t remember), and James Brown announced that he was bringing his new album down for everyone to preview. This was an occasion, one must understand, and the label assembled everyone in a large listening room at the appointed time. James brought his entire entourage- more than a dozen people- band, band girlfriends and wives, manager, personal assistants, a fair to middling crowd of folks, and with much ceremony, James had someone put the big reel-to-reel tapes up on the giant tape machine, and had the lights turned down. The massive sound system was turned up to near bursting, and the sort of standard mid-’70s James Brown band groove (see Hotpants and Popcorn and My Thang and Funky President (People it’s Bad) for examples) began to bubble out. It played for about three and a half minutes, and Lubin sat bobbing his head and smiling, when James suddenly shouted “YOU!!!” Lubin looked up as the music stopped, and James was pointing RIGHT AT HIM.

“Me?” he bleated.

“What’s the matter? You don’t like my RECORD?!!?” shouted James.

“N-n-n-n-n-o… I mean, YES, I like it. It’s great, um… sounds great James….” Twenty-something years old, and the Godfather of Soul suddenly hates him for no apparent reason.

“TURN IT OFF!” shouted the Godfather. “TURN MY FUCKING MUSIC OFF! FUCK ALL OF YOU PEOPLE! WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU PEOPLE? I’M THE GODFATHER OF SOUL!!” James tore the reel-to-reel masters off of the machine himself, and the entire entourage stalked silently and with much hostility, out of the room, back to the airport and back to Augusta.

After hearing that story, I have always suspected that Funky Drummer was the track in question. I don’t know why, but despite its being the most sampled hip-hop break in music history, this track never really jumped out at me as being the best James Brown tune of all time. Oh, well. (6/10)

I got an email from Peter Lubin last night, and it said:

What James Brown actually said was, “I ain’t playin’ my record for you or any of you other WHITE, HONKY MOTHERFUCKERS!!”

All the best,

Just wanted to make sure everyone got the message…

Best. Correction. Ever.

From Regrettheerror.com comes a list of 2004’s best corrections from print media. And this year’s best correction may be the best one ever… Holy cow….

Correction of the Year
Perhaps the easiest pick of all for our round-up was this amazing correction from Kentucky’s Lexington Herald-Leader. On the 40h anniversary of the passing of the Civil Rights Act this year, the paper published this amazing apology: “It has come to the editor’s attention that the Herald-Leader neglected to cover the civil rights movement. We regret the omission.” Simple, elegant, brave. Better late than never.

Does anyone else get dizzy contemplating the apologies that will eventually happen about the lead-up to the war in Iraq?

“The NY Times would like to apologize for not tying Judith Miller to the falling body of Jayson Blair before she was able to sully even more completely the reputation of the nation’s paper of record.”

“The Washington Post is feeling a little silly. Stupid, actually. We’re sorry. Really, really sorry. Do you hate us?”

“The Washington Times has always sucked, so we’re pleased to say that we never confounded your expectations of the ‘Moonie Times.’ No, it’s okay… we know you call us that.”