As Long As We’re All Throwing Shoes, Bush Should Just Be Glad That Shaquille O’Neal, Sir Edmund Hillary, Maxwell Smart, Shaun “The Flying Tomato” White, Frankenstein, Hell’s Angels, Bozo the Clown, the Pinball Wizard, Flyguy the Pimp from I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, UK Proteus Syndrome-Sufferer Mandy Sellars, and Wayne Gretzky Aren’t Humiliated, Pissed-Off Iraqi Journalists.

Iraqi Journalist Throws Shoe At Bush

Also, he should be thankful that Muntader al-Zaidi, 28, the Iraqi journalist who, yesterday, one at a time, threw both of his shoes at President Bush, but missed, above, though fairly accurate, doesn’t exactly have a killer right arm, or pitch for Baghdad’s Salam baseball team.

According to The New York Times, al-Zaidi,

a correspondent for Al Baghdadia, an independent Iraqi television station, stood up about 12 feet from Mr. Bush and shouted in Arabic: “This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog!” He then threw a shoe at Mr. Bush, who ducked and narrowly avoided it.

As stunned security agents and guards, officials and journalists watched, Mr. Zaidi then threw his other shoe, shouting in Arabic, “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!” That shoe also narrowly missed Mr. Bush as Prime Minister Maliki stuck a hand in front of the president’s face to help shield him.

Muntader al-Zaidi throws the pitch…Mr. Maliki’s security agents jumped on the man, wrestled him to the floor and hustled him out of the room. They kicked him and beat him until “he was crying like a woman,” said Mohammed Taher, a reporter for Afaq, a television station owned by the Dawa Party, which is led by Mr. Maliki. Mr. Zaidi was then detained on unspecified charges.

Other Iraqi journalists in the front row apologized to Mr. Bush, who was uninjured and tried to brush off the incident by making a joke. “All I can report is it is a size 10,” he said, continuing to take questions and noting the apologies.

The paper then rendered this perfectly symbolic moment of doublespeak:

[Bush] also called the incident a sign of democracy, saying, “That’s what people do in a free society, draw attention to themselves,” as the man’s screaming could be heard outside.

Some think his immediate troubles were the least of it. “I bet you dollars to dinars that press conference shoe-thrower is being tortured tonight, as we type,” tweeted‘s Xeni Jardin.

Whoa…George “Neo” Bush dodges shoe…

As this Christian Science Monitor image, above, likening the Bush’s shoe-ducking to Neo’s “bullet time” in The Matrix, suggests, the incident drew wide media attention. It overpowered coverage of other events during Bush’s final presidential trip to the country he so royally screwed. “Nobody expected that someone would dare to do such a thing,” noted Atheer Kakan, an Iraqi reporter who works for the New York Times, in a sobering podcast account of the attempted shoe-in, “and it was totally new experience.

“I mean, George Bush looks like he was totally experienced about these things, because the guy avoid one of the shoes.” (In a tweet, ace CFI Kenya Allmond, agreed. “One of my FB buddies and former classmates thinks that Bush ducked so quickly because maybe Laura throws shoes at him all the time.”)

Adding to the injury one being hit might receive, the hurled shoe carries something else, said Kakan: Namely “lots of insults in Iraqi culture that other cultures do not understand.”

The shoe means that you despise something. If you want to insult someone, like really insulting him, you would put his head under your shoe. So, throwing your shoe on someone, it is something that you explain how much hating and despising for someone else, and it is a very aggressive thing. It is something, in the Iraqi tribal law, it would be a bigger deal. It is something that cannot be delete or erased.

Beating the Saddam statue with their shoesMany Americans will recall the earliest pictures out of Baghdad after it was occupied, and the famous statue of Saddam Hussein had been toppled: Iraqi men, mercilessly beating the cast-iron icon with their sandals, right. So gravely do Iraqis take this gesture that Kakan little hesitates comparing it to America’s worst disaster.

I mean this guy is like the unluckiest guy I ever knew, because he started his role with 9/11, and now he ended his time with two shoes. So, I really feel sad for that. I mean, I don’t want to be in his place. I mean, I don’t want to be in his shoe.

Richard Reid, shoe bomberBut from an American perspective, this only means one thing, says commenter Stefan Jones: “Now we’re going to have to take off our shoes before attending Presidential events.”

Exactly. You don’t think the Obama administration is going to be wary of copycats? Somewhere, shoe bomber Richard Reid, right, is having a huge belly laugh.



#1 Undercover Black Man on 12.15.08 at 11:08 am

Best. Title. Ever.

And I’m glad you didn’t forget Richard Reid.

#2 Cypher on 12.15.08 at 3:42 pm

This video made my entire weekend…

It really amazes and baffles me that Bush is so clueless that we (HE) is so hated world-wide. And he doesn’t get why. Forget ignorance…arrogance is bliss!

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