“In Arab cultures, throwing shoes is a grave show of disrespect.” —Bloomberg.com
“The act is an Arab symbol of contempt.” —Christian Science Monitor
“Throwing shoes at somebody is a supreme insult in the Middle East.” —Reuters
“In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt.” —Associated Press
It’s a good thing we have a well-informed press corps to explain these difficult nuances of a faraway alien culture, since otherwise we would surely have assumed that the Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at George W. Bush in a spontaneous outburst of fellowship and joy. It’s important to be reminded how fundamentally strange these foreigners are.