There’s something perfect about throwing a shoe, isn’t there? The message behind the Iraqi journalist’s pedi-missile launched at George W. Bush was culturally specific; striking someone with a shoe is a sign that the object is like the dirt under one’s feet. (The media coverage of the fall of Baghdad made much, at the time, of Iraqis hitting statues of Saddam with their shoes.)
But it translates. It carries that perfect combination of nonlethal violence and contempt. It’s better than a pie, or a rotten tomato, even. I can see myself referring forever hereafter to things “I want to throw a shoe at.”
And I’m not alone. The throwing of shoes is TV criticism:
(You get the point after 30 seconds or so.)
It is a decision freighted with social and aerodynamic considerations:
Though in some cultures the banana is considered more expedient:
Questions: If Bush had been hit by the shoe, would it have been less funny? (Isn’t the indignity of having to grimace and duck part of the message?) And why has some enterprising business not launched an “upload your picture here” viral spinoff, allowing viewers to virtually throw shoes at the victim of their choice?