Saturday, December 20, 2008

Shoes for the dead!

Nearly eight years ago -- eight years!-- the motorcade carrying George W. Bush to his inauguration stopped for nearly ten minutes. This fact was never explained to the television audience, nor its cause (demonstrators enraged at the stolen election were throwing eggs and other materials at the cars). There was no way for the "news" media to conceal the slapstick event last week in Baghdad, since the shoe-toss was all over YouTube long before Katie and Charlie hit the airwaves. The official, Supreme-Court-certified President of the United States of America had to dodge a pair of well-worn shoes flung by a citizen of a country he may sincerely believe he liberated, a country torn by violence, hardship, homelessness, forced emigration and political chaos. Needless to say, Bush is just as oblivious as he was eight years ago. And always will be, unless something hits him hard enough to cause one of those Chump at Oxford occurrences -- you know, where Stan Laurel is transformed into an upper-class twit? Until something else hits him in the head?

Thanks in large part to the incompetence and malfeasance of the Bush regime, few Americans or Iraqis could afford to waste eggs in 2008, but used shoes are a different matter. If Muthathar al Zaidi (come on, Time magazine, this is your Person of the Year) survives his incarceration and gets them back, he could sell them on eBay for enough money to retire. They have inspired online games, a campaign to flood the White House with old shoes, and the obligatory music videos and comedy sketches. Though never worn by Fred Astaire, Rudolf Nureyev or Gregory Hines, they are the most famous men's shoes of our time.

And so the Bush projectile circle remains unbroken, and just as Marx predicted, the second time was farce. Except that there was no farcical intent in Mr. al Zaidi's act, performed in the name of Iraq's widows and orphans. We ignore that legacy at our peril, and our shame.


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