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Shoe shoe shoe, baby, don't cry baby

Your Humble Blogger is hoping to get a couple more Book Reports done, and we are within inches of having a full set of Cabinet Nominees for me to appreciate, but none of that is going to get a note written tonight. Sorry, Gents. This week’s notes were far too long, and now I can’t get back in the typing mood. Plus, there is much to do around here away from the keyboard. So.

So. I’ll just mention, that if anybody had told me, oh, eight years ago, that the fellow who was going to be Our Only President for the next two terms—two terms!—would be in a country we had invaded and occupied, and some crazed local journalist would fling his shoes at the President of the United States in anger and contempt, and that much of the world would (a) react with sympathy for the shoe-flinger, and (2) immediately believe the unconfirmed and biased report that the shoe-flinger had been severely beaten in prison after being dragged away, well… I didn’t like the guy, and I remember thinking that he would be a lousy President, but that it probably wouldn’t be all that bad, certainly not worse than Ronald Reagan.

And if you told me that not only would our standing around the world be so low, but that a good portion (possibly most) of the population of this country would react with sympathy and would believe that report… and that I would react that way as well…

Look, he’s the President of the United States, and as I’ve been saying, he’s the only one we’ve got (for a while yet, anyway). I should take the insult to the President at least somewhat as an insult to this nation (which it was), and should bridle at the idea that people should fling shoes at the President. And I do bridle at it. Don’t fling shoes at the President, people! Just don’t do it! No more!

Whew. I managed to work myself up to it. It wasn’t easy, though.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


Do you have some suggestions for more appropriate objects to fling?

Words, man, words.


Shoes have tongues, man. Dude was just speaking from the sole.

I'm sorry, that's not what I mean to say. What I meant to say was: I'm pretty egalitarian - really a paragon of democracy, as opposed to Our Gracious Host (that's you, V)'s preference for a representative republic. I say that shoes are as valid a thing to throw as words, and when words have been as ineffective at altering the behavior of a fellow as they have been in altering the behavior of OOP, well, then. Up the freakin' ante, by all means.

Which is not what I meant to say, either, when I started. What I meant to say was: To the extent that shoe-flinging is a valid mode of discourse, no man is above it. That he is the President is meaningless to me, beyond his occupation of a symbol.

Which is to say, it's the symbol that deserves respect, not the man. I gotta go. Bye.


Well, and I'm a big believer in symbols. I suppose that's what I'm on about; the individual (who has been, after all, Our Only President for nearly eight years) has made it difficult for me to defend the symbol. Or, more important, seems to have drained me of an instinctive affection for the symbol. I hope it's transitory. I do feel affection for this Nation, and it distresses me to have lost that immediate affection for this one of its symbols.

Much as, now that I think about it, the ragged scraps of flags attached to car antennae in 2002 temporarily drained me of affection for the flag itself.


Postscript: Now that I think about it, if the words flung at Our Only President included, say, a subpoena or other legal proceedings, that would be good.

if the words flung at Our Only President included, say, a subpoena or other legal proceedings, that would be good.

Yes, exactly, though the only words that really ought to be delivered to the man are articles of impeachment. The fact that such words haven't been delivered creates a context in which throwing shoes is the appropriate civil recourse for ordinary people.

When elected officials who are charged with upholding the Constitution turn a blind eye to obvious criminality (obvious as in, admitted in public to a national audience), what recourse do ordinary people who have no legal or actual power to take actions against the criminal have but to signal their contempt? George W. Bush has dishonored his office and his country by committing or aiding in the commission of a long list of crimes, large and small: this is obvious, I would guess, to about 80% of the world population, and to probably 60% of United States citizens. Under these circumstances, what moral value is there in showing respect for such a man out of respect for the office that he has himself dishonored?

He should have been impeached and removed from office years ago. Anyone who sends a public reminder of that fact by having the courage to throw shoes at the man deserves praise, not censure.

SOFAs are too heavy to throw....

When I was a wee lad of twelve, I had a teacher in Sunday school (Jewish Sunday school, mind you)who told us that if the President of the United States walked in the door, he would rise to his feet no matter how much he loathed the individual because he respected the office of President. I respected this man. He was my favorite teacher. But even so I thought this ridiculous patriotic claptrap at the time.

Thirty years later, I still think it is patriot claptrap.

But not ridiculous.

If you're nervous about speaking in front of a crowd, imagine them naked. If they're naked, they don't have anything to throw at you.

I felt the shoes were thrown with respect. What wasn't respectful was most of the reporters just sitting there, the Secret Service just sitting there, and the glee with which our media played the clip over and over again.

If we respected the office, we would remove this man who disgraced it. If we respected our Constitution, we would remove this man who revels in violating it. If we respected our nation's founding principles, we would remove this man who arrogates to himself the power and privileges of a king. Perhaps the counterpart of the current age's lack of shame is a lack of respect.

Michael, who learned from Ed, used to say, "Throw your shoes at the wicked, that they might learn their place; and consort not with the war criminals; let your shoes be the retribution you wish to see in the world."

Yeah, what Michael said!

Amusing kid story, on a related topic.

I was looking at my news aggregator (-er?) of choice, and I saw the TPM headline "Bush Shoe Craze Erupts." Curious, I clicked the link and read that "hundreds of thousands" of orders have been placed for the shoe that was thrown at OOP, apparently of Turkish manufacture. I laughed out loud, and my son, who was playing nearby asked why I'd laughed. I told him it was too complicated to explain, at which he asked "why?" as he so often does.

So, I read him the headline, at which he faked a laugh, and then he said "Are they filling shoes with food and throwing them at George Bush so he'll be nice?"

I just had to share.


File this one under "the market is always right"?

According to the BBC, a number of countries and companies are claiming that they made the fling-friendly shoes. Iraq? Turkey? Syria? Actually, none of the above. What appeared to be two shoes were actually REDACTED, which you can buy from REDACTED for a special price of just REDACTED. Plus shipping, assuming you're not close enough for us to just toss them to you.

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