The Corner

Zidane, Moral Logician

Not that I’m particularly invested in any of this, but Zidane’s position is just sorta stoopid. He says about his decision to headbutt that other guy: “I would like to apologise because a lot of children were watching the match. I do apologise but I don’t regret my behaviour because regretting it would mean he was right to say what he said.”

I-apologize-but-regret-nothing is already a pretty contradictory stance. But since when is regretting an over-reaction a blanket endorsement of somebody else’s provocative behavior? If Rich deliberately steps on my toe and I respond by burying a ballpoint pen in his skull, I will regret it later. But that doesn’t make Rich right for stepping on my toe. And saying, “I apologize but I don’t regret it,” wouldn’t count as a lot of sincerity.

I now leave this topic forever, unless I’m dragged in by forces beyond my control. Should that happen I will apologize for breaking my word, but I won’t regret it.

Update: A good point, from a reader: 

Dear Jonah,

The most important part of the whole “Zidane Affair” is that _it creates a new negative behavior with which to stereotype the French_! They can be “Head-butting, cheese-eating surrender monkeys!” You can ponder “Will Chirac head-butt Pres. Bush at the G-8 Summit?” and subtly deflate the vaunted French arrogance. A new deflater for French pride is a thing to be celebrated.

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