Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Of shoes and chimps

As a fellow journalist, my hat is off in a gesture of deepest respect for that shoe-flinging member of our trade, who knows a chimp standing in for a president when he sees one. Well, a dog is what he actually called him, but the same idea holds. (Dogs deserve more respect--chimps too, really.)

With almost any other leader of the free world, I'd say this action was out of line and that Muntadhar al-Zaidi would have lost his sense of perspective, but Bush deserves a big fat waffle stomp print right upside the head. No question. Al-Zaidi obviously did what any sane and sensible person, even a journalist, would do when faced with such outrageous, surreal, and irresponsible behavior as has been demonstrated by King Georgie. Alas, most journalists don't seem to recognize anymore just how outrageous Mr. Bush has been.

This is old news now, two days after the incident. When we heard about this on the radio, both I and my noble spousal unit guffawed, but it was tale of the joke at the end of the story that really made me belly laugh, about it being required now "as a matter of national security" that all shoes be removed before going over the border (or to press conferences, I suppose, as pointed out over on Fiery Blazing Handbasket). Shades of our airport security, and about as sensible, hey what?

The video of the incident (actually several versions) has been seen better than 10 million times, making this one of the more popular YouTube flicks, and has already been made into online games. The joke has become popular with Latin American leaders, too. Middle Eastern shoemakers are claiming that it was THEIR shoe that almost whacked the US (p)resident.

Despite the delightful cultural sense of humor intrinsic to this good solid insult, al-Zaidi is in jail, and his family fears he has been badly beaten or tortured. Not good. Doesn't matter if he threw flaming torches or gunfire at the people on stage--the appropriate response, once you have the person in custody, is most certainly not to beat them up.

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