Buttheads Butt Heads

If you asked me to name all the French Algerians I can think of, the list would be short: Zinedine Zidane and Albert Camus. Zidane is infamous for the illegal headbutt that got him expelled from the championship game of the 2006 World Cup. Camus is known for having prefigured that senseless act of violence in his 1942 novel The Stranger (among other things). But I didn’t realize until this morning, as I read The Stranger for the first time, that in addition to the Zidanesque murder in the book, Camus also writes explicitly about what must be the official martial arts move of Algeria.

The distance between us and the Arabs was steadily decreasing. When we were only a few steps away the Arabs halted. Masson and I slowed down, while Raymond went straight up to his man. I couldn’t hear what he said, but I saw the native lowering his head, as if to butt him in the chest.

If that’s not philosophical enough for you, here is Jean-Philippe Toussaint reading a ridiculously cerebral essay on the subject.

– Brian Hurley

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