Updated Pity if you will poor old Zinedine Zidane: sent off during the World Cup final for a serious infraction of FIFA's "no headbutting Italians" rule and now reduced to the status of French national hero with enough cash in the bank to enjoy a lifetime of truffles, stuffed songbirds and fine vintage champagne.
Indeed, while the rest of the world was struggling to contain its outrage at Zidane's unsportsmanlike use of the Glasgow handshake, Jacques Chirac counterattacked with: "I would like to express all the respect that I have for a man who represents at the same time all the most beautiful values of sport, the greatest human qualities one can imagine, and who has honoured French sport and, simply, France."
Well, therein lies the rub, mon ami. How you view the whole thing depends largely on your national perspective, as nicely demonstrated by a viral email we received this morning:
As seen by the Germans:
As seen by the French:
As seen by the Italians:
As seen by the Americans:
As seen by the press:
Terrific. For the record, we at Vulture Central believe that - contrary to current wisdom - the Materazzi-felling incident was provoked not by references to Zidane's mother and his Algerian ancestry, but rather the suggestion that Italian wine may be of equal, or superior, quality to its French equivalent.
In the circumstances, Zidane's reaction as the embodiment of France was understandable. Let's face it, the Bastille was stormed for less. ®