Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Flying Shoes, Bursting Bubbles (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg gives his take on the flying shoe incident:

The most remarkable thing about the gesture was the fact that it was an act of defiant contempt, rather than one of criminal violence.

Bush's reaction was remarkable only in the sense that he displayed, for perhaps the last time before he becomes deservedly inconsequential, the depth of his ignorance and the utter impregnability of his unearned self-regard.

Immediately after a Iraqi reporter Muntazer al-Zaidi disrupted a Baghdad press conference by hurling both shoes at Bush, calling him a "dog" and denouncing him in the name of "the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq," Bush sat down with ABC reporter Martha Raddatz to decant some of his unique wisdom about matters of diplomacy and cultural understanding.

Raddatz pointed out that Zaidi's gesture -- attempting to strike Bush in the face with the sole of a shoe -- is "considered a huge insult in this [part of the] world."

Bush's reply defies parody: "Look, they were humiliated. The press corps, the rest of the Iraqi press corps was humiliated.... But I'm not insulted."

So -- this carefully calibrated gesture, this surgical strike of an insult, which was directed specifically at the individual most responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of Americans, managed somehow to humiliate everybody else in the room, while sparing the invincible ego of the one who was targeted.

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