Wednesday 25 June 2014

Is Luis Suarez a Zombie?

Luis Suarez is one of the world's top footballers; since his youth debut in 2003 the Liverpool striker has been highly successful and has won a large number of accolades including last season's Player of the Year. Like many top football players he has a very hot-headed personality and he's been involved in a string of controversial incidents. However the penchant Suarez seems to have in expressing his rage is highly unusual and disturbing; he bites people. In last night's World Cup match against Italy, Suarez was playing for Uruguay, his national team, and he was marking the defender Giorgio Chiellini when, for no apparent reason, he leaned over and bit him on the shoulder. The referee missed the incident and so did not react; if he had then Suarez would have received an immediate red card. However the attack was clearly captured on TV and Suarez now faces a possible ban from the tournament; that alone if he's lucky. This is not the first of such incidents. In 2010 Suarez was playing for Ajax in a match against PSV Eindhoven when he bit his opponent Otman Bakkal; and only in the last season he got a ten-match ban for biting a Chelsea player. See: The urge to eat the flesh of living humans is common feature of the zombie in mythology and horror fiction.

Of course I'm really only joking with this article's title. I'm quite sure Luis Suarez is not a zombie... at least by conventional definitions of the word. He clearly has some major psychological problems though and may well be psychotic. The boxer Mike Tyson has exhibited similar behaviour; he had a drink problem, was convicted of raping an eighteen year old beauty queen and also accused of beating his wife. In 1997 he was disqualified from a fight with Evander Holyfield after he bit Holyfield's ear, in a similar incident to the one with Luis Suarez. Of course there are always going to be a few people in this world who will do that sort of thing, but it is such bizarre behaviour we should not expect it to happen this often in such high profile settings. I can't help but wonder if this is in some way connected to the general promotion of zombies and zombie-like themes in culture, politics, journalism and science; a subject I have been observing for some time now, with increasing concern. Is Luis Suarez a part of this agenda, either knowingly or unknowingly?


Marcel said...

Obviously Mr. Suarez has problems when the adrenalines rushing through his veins. But is an inevitable hefty punishment justified?

A deliberate elbow to the face is arguably worse behaviour than a bite, and certainly more dangerous (I'd take superficial teeth marks over a broken nose, thanks.) But such an instance of 'violent conduct' comes with a prescribed 3 match ban (that's if the referee sees it! It would not be punished retrospectively if no red card was issued.) I don't have any problem with FIFA punishing the player retrospectively, it's perfectly sensible and should happen more frequently, but any ban in excess of the prescribed 3 matches is surely a punishment for the crime of being peculiar!

There is nothing else that distinguishes this incident from many others (elbows, headbutts), other than the fact that it's uncommon in itself; but are we indulging in xenophobia in that case? Is elbowing more morally sound because we're familiar with it? Apparently so!

I, for one, welcome our new zombie overlords.

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Hi Marcel. Have you seen the news, Suarez has been given a 4-month ban. You're probably right in your point about biting, as opposed to other kinds of injuries footballers inflict on each other accidentally or on purpose. Maybe it was the "cruel and unusual" nature of the attack that chilled the FIFA officials to their bones! If we did have zombie overlords at least we'd know where stood with them.

Marcel said...

4 months? That should make them think twice before idling towards me in shopping malls and graveyards.

Hear that, zombies? The precedent has been set.