Thursday, December 18, 2008

Faith and footwear

I suppose something must be said about the Shoe Heard 'Round the World.

Sometimes a single unforseen event comes to symbolize something larger than itself, and when it does, there's no stopping the brushfire. Such is the media trajectory of the size-10 shoe(s) tossed at President Bush during his recent Iraqi news conference. Years of a region's - and a faith's - anger, frustration, and personal animosity got distilled into one reporter's action.

The Muslim world, including Indonesia as the faith's most populous outpost, has long seethed seethed with resentment towards the outgoing Republican and his efforts to reshape the region. In that larger context, such a lashing out isn't all that surprising. And there are plenty on the American left who would love to toss a Payless clog or two at the presidential podium.

What will happen to Muntadar al-Zaidi, the spirited stringer for a Cairo-based TV channel, remains to be seen (although apparently he's already tasting some rough justice in Iraqi custody). One thing I will say: It would be nice to have reasoned policy debates about matters affecting geopolitics, rather than having to resort to a flying Florsheim.

Today's Top Stories

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Anonymous said...

Although I read about this everywhere, your post made me smile. Very witty and funny. Apparently throwing shoes is the biggest insult you can get in Iran, just like pointing something with your index finger in Brunei.

Different country, different culture.

Next time Iranian should toss eggs instead then...

Christopher Taylor said...

I wonder if particular shoes are even more of an insult? Sneakers vs. slippers vs. wingtips? :)

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