If the shoe fits, throw it

It would appear we’re at the dawn of a new age of shoe tossing following last week’s much-publicized incident in Iraq where an Iraqi “journalist” threw two shoes at President Bush. He is now said to be a “hero” in his country, one of the few times a journalist has been considered a hero without either (a) doing a story or (b) dying in the process of (a). By contrast, sadly, Danny Pearl never came close to hero status in our country except by a few journalists.

But this shoe-throwing thing is catching on. In New York, the New York Times reports, a transit rider yesterday tried to throw his shoe during a hearing on fare increases. He was wrestled to the ground and thrown out of the hearing.

By the way, here’s the elusive local connection. The would-be missiles were made in Red Wing.

If shoe-throwing catches on, it could be big for the Red Wing economy.

  • Joel

    My wife and I laughed and laughed when we saw that Iraqi journalist throw his shoes at Bush.

  • Bonnie

    But if people start hurling steel toed workboots around…

  • Jenn

    Waiting for shoes to be banned from airplanes. Slippers only?

  • Joanna

    I hope we don’t forget that the Iraqi journalist, Mutander al-Zaidi, had been kidnapped and tortured by one group of Iraqi militants, then was detained twice by US troops, and as a professional covered daily the deaths of many civilians before he threw those shoes. And now he has been badly beaten if not actually tortured, and is in prison (we’re not really sure how injured he is, whether he is receiving medical care or legal representation, or where, in fact, he is being held) and it is unclear what charges he will face and how much longer he may be in jail. He knew these things would happen to him before he threw those shoes.

    To be fair, I think a more apt comparison to Danny Pearl would be any of the other journalists who has been assassiinated for doing his/her job (and there are too many candidates for that sorry honor worldwide). Danny Pearl’s widow wrote a best-selling book that made his story well-known,and then Angelina Jolie make a well-reviewed movie about his death that brought his story to an even larger audience. I think many people know his story and think of him as a victim of terrorist assassination, not someone who was expressing his outrage at the occupation of his country and the death of an unknown number of civilians (tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands). Both journalists, but one was murdered while practicing his profession, the other knew that he risked assault, physical violence and prison before he made his (symbolic) gesture.

  • Bob collins

    My comment regarding Danny regarded being a hero. I regard a journalist who dies while trying to inform the public a hero. I don’t consider a journalist who throws a shoe a hero. I certainly consider him an unprofessional journalist however.

    I think the term “hero” is thrown about loosely.

    I don’t think the fact Dan Pearl knew the risks cheapens his sacrifice. Dan Pearl is 100 times the journalist the guy throwing his shoe was.

  • Joanna

    I really wasn’t trying to compare the “heroism” of one to the other, rather I wanted to insert the issue of what is happening to the person who is being turned into either a hero or a joke. Whether al Zaidi was an unprofessional journalist or not, what is happening to him now is wrong, and it is certainly going to make him a powerful symbol.

  • Bob

    Bob, I think you’re way off the beam here. First, you have no way of knowing how good or bad a journalist al_Zaidi is. And characterizing this as mere shoe-throwing is also way off the mark. It was damn courageous of him to throw the shoes when he knew he would be beaten or worse for doing so. His act expressed not just his own outrage for the life-threatening experiences he endured thanks to the U.S. invasion of his country, but also expressed the frustration of millions of Iraqis, most people in the U.S. and in the world at large for the nightmare that Bush and a gutless Congress brought to Iraq. What better way to demonstrate all this than confronting one of the actual and symbolic causes of all the misery?

    Does anyone need to be reminded of Cheney’s claim that the Iraqis would welcome the U.S. as liberators and throw flowers?

    I gotta tell ya, that’s one video that I don’t mind seeing again and again.