Back to previous post: The other shoe

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: “Sex with robots is more common than most people think”.

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

December 16, 2008

Free Muntadar Zaidi now!
Posted by Teresa at 11:40 PM * 189 comments

Muntadar Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George Bush, needs to be rescued.

According to his brother Durgham Zaidi, Muntadar Zaidi is in the heavily fortified Green Zone compound in central Baghdad where the US embassy and most Government offices are housed. He’s being held there by Iraqi forces under the command of Muaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraq’s national security adviser.

“He has got a broken arm and ribs, and cuts to his eye and arm,” Durgham said.

Three things the entire world knows:

1. Bush dodged both shoes with impressive speed, and didn’t seem upset.
2. It was a symbolic act of contempt, not an attack.
3. If Muntadar Zaidi had intended harm, he wouldn’t have been throwing shoes.
One more extremely important thing the whole world knows: It may have been a serious expression of contempt, but it was also funny.

Now, funny is normally a minor form of magic, but this instance has supernatural events associated with it.* Clearly, Muntadar Zaidi is manifesting some aspect of Holy Fool. Granting him mercy and tolerance is guaranteed to make you look good, and is generally the Right Thing to Do. Oppressing him will at absolute minimum make you look bad, and it’ll be the kind of bad that sticks. Furthermore, if I believed in magic, which I don’t, I’d say that with both the turn of the year and a change in leadership coming up, this is no time to go oppressing Holy Fools. Do you have any idea what that can do to your luck?

The other reason Bush should go out of his way to rescue Muntadar Zaidi is that it’s not against our laws to express contempt for an American head of state. Bush brought this episode on himself by trying to pretend it is; also, by pretending that occupying the office automatically entitled him to our respect. The main reason that didn’t work was that he himself didn’t respect the office. That massively cynical fib he told about giving up golf as a sacrifice in solidarity with our troops for the duration of the war is exactly the kind of behavior that invites supernatural retribution.

So, will someone please tell George that he has two choices? He can either grab a moment’s grace in the midst of the sorry spectacle that is the end of his administration, or he can have people sending shoes in his direction for the rest of his life.

Comments on Free Muntadar Zaidi now!:
#1 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 12:51 AM:

Too bad Jumper isn't real. We could get Zaidi out and some other folks in.

#2 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 01:11 AM:

I read a quote from the journalist's friend along the lines of, "He's thrown away his career for a silly gesture." I though, thrown away? If he gets out of this alive, his career is made.

#3 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 01:14 AM:

heresiarch @ #2, I dunno. Heard anything from Monica Lewinsky lately?

I know it's a poor analogy, but if two names are linked like Bush and Shoe-tossing guy Zaidi will be, it's Monica and Bill.

#4 ::: Avedaggio ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 01:20 AM:

I heard that the reports that he was beaten were false, and that he has spoken with his brother, who had spoken with reporters, and said he was just fine. I believe this was from the CBS evening news.

Having said that, the post about this fellow being a Jester figure is very interesting to me. Maybe the people who are blowing the incident out of proportion, whomever they are, are just doing so because they think they have to. I mean, 'oh my god, they threw a shoe at the guy who can bomb us" or something.

I wish Bush had caught it, and tossed it back. No, wait, that would have been seen as a big 'F U' to everyone... Maybe caught it and just set it down, made a note for the person who had misplaced his shoe to retrieve it by the podium after the news conference.

Right. Out of current news and back to Achaemenid machtkunst. Huzzah for take-home finals.

#5 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 01:29 AM:

he can have people sending shoes in his direction for the rest of his life.

We can shoe him out of office! I can't think of a better way to see him off.

But back to the darker side of this post: if it is true, as has been reported, that Bush could hear the beating while the press conference continued, then he can't claim not to know what's been done to Muntadar Zaidi, and if he doesn't hold any grudge, as his press spokesperson has said, then he certainly is obligated to speak out for Zaidi's release. But come on, this Shrub we're talking about. I doubt anyone in Vegas will give you better than 10:1 that he does it.

#6 ::: Eileen Gunn ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 01:34 AM:

I think this act of protest is seen as a silly gesture by many people in the US, whether they agree with it or not: a harmless gesture of contempt. But gestures of contempt are neither silly or harmless in some other parts of the world: they are taken very seriously.

Mr. Zaidi risked, at the least, his career and his physical well-being, not to mention his personal freedom, in order to register a protest aimed, I am sure, not only at President Bush and the US government, but at P.M. Al-Maliki and the Iraqi government. It wasn't a prank: it was statement.

At the core of this kind of statement is the thought that individual moral judgments matter and world opinion matters. It is clear that the Bush administration views that position with contempt. I am not going to hold my breath waiting for President Bush to intervene for Mr. Zaidi's welfare: he has washed his hands of the matter.

#7 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 02:10 AM:

Avedaggio 4: Did you watch the video? You can see people punching and kicking him, and hear him screaming in pain.

#8 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 02:47 AM:

Avedaggio, I first got the story from ABC, and then got a more emphatic version of it from the BBC. Both of them quoted his brother.

In the meantime, if anyone hits Bush with a pie, let it be shoofly.

#9 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 03:33 AM:

I noticed that as of an hour or so ago, the BBC didn't have an obvious link to a story about the guy being beaten--I'd seen such a link earlier. That's consistent with the idea that the reports of the beating turned out to be false, though who knows?

Also, it's one thing if he got injured in the scuffle after he threw his shoes, and a very different thing if he got injured by the cops/spooks beating the hell out of him once he was in custody. It seems like sooner or later, we'll have a reasonable approximation of the whole story here....

#10 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 03:36 AM:

Albatross, that first link still works for me. Try it: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7785338.stm

#11 ::: Jerome A Simoni ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 05:25 AM:

what nobody seems to be saying, this would of never happened in saddams day, and if it had, the shoe thrower and his family would of been tortured and killed, looks to me that the people in iraq are coming along just fine, an egg would of flown staighter!lol

#12 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 06:18 AM:

Heresiarch, #2, "if".

If Bush doesn't move for Zaidi's release, I hope Obama does.

#13 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 06:20 AM:

JAS@11: Well, except for the million or so dead. Good eating for corvids. Krawk!

#14 ::: steve buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 07:34 AM:

"or he can have people sending shoes in his direction for the rest of his life."

I know what's on my Xmas gift giving list now. Thanks, Teresa, for the gift giving idea. In a size 10 if memory serves.

#15 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 07:42 AM:

You know, with all the pardons that Bush is going to hand out when he thinks the news organizations are occupied with other stories*, he might as well slip one in for Zaidi.

* Did anyone here notice that 3 of the Bosnian/Algerian Gitmo detainees were repatriated yesterday? I don't think it was coincidence it happened when the newsmachines were concerned with shoes.

#16 ::: Seth Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 08:27 AM:

JAS@11: If Dubya wants to have "not as oppressive to Iraqis as Saddam Hussein" engraved on his tombstone, fine by me. But I personally would like my government, not to mention its client states, to reach for a higher moral standard than that.

#17 ::: John ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 08:35 AM:

Do you have any idea what that can do to your luck?

I'm not assuming the current administration has sufficient aficionados of Heinlein, Willis, Ford, Martin, et al., to get this narrative. More's the pity.

#18 ::: Sarge ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:07 AM:

You know, you people mss th pnt n ths gstr; t sn't md t Bsh. t ws n nslt t mrc nd r cn f tht nstttn. Th rq's r prmtv ppl nd lwys wll b. Wth r wtht xtrnl hlp, thy wll lwys dstry wht thy tch. Bsh htrs, hv yr dy, bt bwr, by nt hvng ntnl tcry f bng nsltd, wll pn th dr fr mr ctn gnst s. Bt t dsn't mttr t y bcs y r nt th ns wh wll fght tht fght. Nxt tm t mght b pr f nks r bbmbs nstd f shs. S dn't mk ths dt hr by wntng hs frdm nd spprtnghs ctns. f th rq's wnt t b prt f th cvlzd wrld, thy wll d rght by th .S. nd pnsh Zd ccrdngly.

#19 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:08 AM:

Teresa:

How odd. The story is still there, but the front page and the front Middle East page don't seem to link to it, at least not in any straightforward way; neither does the main story (which is concerned with how Bush bears no ill-will toward the shoe-thrower, and prominently features Dana Perino with a black eye from the scuffle). That story also mentions the allegations that the shoe-thrower was beaten (as a one-liner), along with a one-line comment that the Iraqi government says he wasn't.

On the BBC en Español news page, the beating story is not on the front page, but is still linked from the equivalent article about Bush brushing off the attack and Perino getting a black eye. However, that article says nothing about the journalist being alleged to have gotten a beating.

I assume there's some policy about when they link to previous stories, but it's interesting how much your choice of links from the front page can change the nature of the news reported.

#20 ::: cleek ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:09 AM:

looks to me that the people in iraq are coming along just fine

except for the millions in exile and the hundreds of thousands of dead. yes. the survivors are surviving.

#21 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:10 AM:

Anyone who wants to throw a shoe at Bush can do so at http://www.sockandawe.com/

#22 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:24 AM:

#18 Sarge: You know, you people miss the point on this gesture; it isn't aimed at Bush. It was an insult to America and our icon of that institution.

Oh, nonsense. It was an insult to Bush, personally. If the guy had wanted to aim a gesture at America there are more direct ways he could have taken. Burning or stepping on a flag comes instantly to mind.

Bush in no way is an "icon" of America. He's a lame-duck with an abysmal approval rating; the worst president in history. His policies, politics, and party were just completely repudiated at the ballot box. Reality, in the form of an imploding economy, is proving Bush's incompetence. Someone else can go worship him. I won't.

And, despite Bush's fantasies, history won't be kind.

#23 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:37 AM:

After watching Bush for a few minutes, he realized that this man has no sole.

USA! USA! Now 17% better than Saddam!

#24 ::: can't recall previous names i used ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:42 AM:

I respect the spirit of this post with the 'holy fool' aspect dovetailing with 'righteous rage.'

however:

I am expecting posts shortly about coincidences involving shoes from MakingLight readers much like the abysmal kennedy conspiracy thread turned into trivialities and mind-games worthy of the camp commandant in 'It's a Beautiful Life' trying to solve some puzzle in the abstract far removed from the human realities of the situation.

#25 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:54 AM:

@ #24: Yes, gods forbid anyone have any fun around here. Serious subjects must be treated with seriousness at ALL TIMES, like real grown-ups do.

Ahem. Excuse me while I go rinse the sarcasm out of my mouth.

#26 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:58 AM:

At first glance, I thought #18 was by Serge, and took it for a bit of clever, if somewhat heavy-handed, satire.

Alas.

#27 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:01 AM:

#24: Was one of your previous names Godwin, by any chance?

#28 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:17 AM:

“tell George” is an oxymoron.
George doesn't get telled.

#29 ::: BuffySquirrel ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:25 AM:

Eh, whether he gets released or not is one thing--but he should get due process. That way we could still pretend that human rights were what this war was really about.

Primitive, eh? I guess you heard that rumour that they keep their coal in the bath, too.

#30 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:30 AM:

You know, forgotten nick @24, if you don't like the way we run this place, you are entirely free to go elsewhere. If no elsewhere sufficiently underwrites your existence, I understand that Blogger and Livejournal accounts can be had for the price of the best things in life.

I, for one, was going to point out that Teresa's recent particle on shoemaking is an interesting coincidence. Rather like making your own reloads.

#31 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:33 AM:

You know, you people miss the point on this gesture; it isn't aimed at Bush

"You people"?

i can has flamer bingo?

#24: Wow. So, in other words, Making Light - worse than the SS!

You see, I knew it was a mistake getting these new moderators in.
(Well, of course we're worse than the SS. At least the SS had a serious and professional attitude.)

#32 ::: Justin ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:33 AM:

Im response to the first post, i would like to bring to light the seriousness of even threatening an elected official let alone the President. The laws governing such an action are there for a reason, to discourage further attacks and to ensure the health and safety of our important officals. The government response to this incident is completly warrented in my mind, if we were to let this one go what's next? A cane? A brick?

#33 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:36 AM:

Sarge #18: The president is not the country, and only a fool would think so.

#34 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:39 AM:

Has this post been linked to by somewhere unpleasant? Lot of new names turning up here, and frankly their punctuation isn't up to the standard I expect from established Photons.

#35 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:44 AM:

You know, I think that one post from Sarge contained enough concentrated flamebait to power a small city for a day. Flamebait may be dirtier than clean coal, but there's no shortage of it.

Here's the part that boggled me which hasn't been responded to yet: Bush haters, have your day, but beware, by not having a national outcry of being insulted, will open the door for more action against us

How does that work? How does the act of "being insulted" protect America? It's half Falwell's magical forcefield and half Green Lantern geopolitics.

I'd seen elsewhere that the reporter covered cases of civilians being bombed by US forces, and the Beeb reports he was beaten by insurgents and his family was arrested by Saddam. He's more familiar with Saddam's brutality than most of the people arguing that he should be happy his family isn't getting tortured along with him. Progress!

Justin @32 - Are you arguing that the Iraqi law against insulting foreign leaders was put in place to ensure the health and safety of US government officials? Huh.

#36 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:47 AM:

#34, ajay -

Maybe it is just the clearly "not one of us" post title? This post is the number one google hit for "Muntadar Zaidi" right now.

#37 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:51 AM:

Ajay #31 Wow. So, in other words, Making Light - worse than the SS!

You know, this place is called Making LIGHT and on their uniforms the SS had the letters SS in the form of LIGHTning bolts. Coincidence??!?!?

#38 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:52 AM:

#32 Justin: The government response to this incident is completly warrented in my mind, if we were to let this one go what's next? A cane? A brick?

A subpoena, an indictment, a trial, a conviction, and the rest of his miserable life in prison would be better. But if a cane and a brick are what you have, a cane and a brick it will have to be.

#39 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:58 AM:

albatross 9: Also, it's one thing if he got injured in the scuffle after he threw his shoes, and a very different thing if he got injured by the cops/spooks beating the hell out of him once he was in custody.

While I agree that it's different, I wouldn't call what happened to him "getting injured in the scuffle." People gathered around after he was on the ground and punched and kicked him. I think of "getting injured in the scuffle" as something that happens in the process of restraining someone; what happened to him (the part you can hear and see on the video) was them punishing him for the outrage of disrespecting that most disrespectable of human beings, George W. Bush.

Let's call things what they are, and not try to whitewash the behavior of the other people in the room, which was reprehensible, violent, and not at all befitting of citizens in any democracy worthy of the name—much less the Fourth Estate in one.

Sarge 18: Wow. Wht stpd rght-wng bgt y r. The bottoms of my shoes are toward you.

Also, what you're saying is stupid. It was a "goodbye kiss." He was kissing off Bush, not America. If you seriously believe that same guy would have thrown shoes at Obama, you're even more deluded and blinded by your pseudo-patriotism than I think you are. Also: since Bush was allowed to take office twice (it's arguable how many times he was elected per se), do you really blame Iraqis for hating the people who set up this fascist murderer as their President?

You probably do. But then, y'r n dt. Most likely also a drive-by, so I don't expect you're reading this, but it did me good to write it.

crpniu 24: That's how we play here. If you don't like it, feel free to get lost. Oh, and by the way,

no thanks for revisionism
last train to clarksville
dr. iodine
Pick one and stick to it. Or just get lost, which would be my preference.

#40 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:01 AM:

@ 18, 24, 31: The man threw a shoe. Yes, it's a serious insult, a political gesture--but since when do the laws of the United States require serious jail time--or worse--for political gestures that don't result in actual harm to people or property? I am not a lawyer, as they say, but I sincerely hope that in this country Zaida would have been charged with a misdemeanor or the equivalent (disturbing the peace, maybe?) and then released. If next time it's a brick or a bomb, then we should react accordingly. This time, it wasn't. And saying, "we have to react strongly so people don't think they can insult us and get away with it" is missing the point, both of the gesture itself and of many people's reaction to it, in my opinion.

Actually, what I suspect Bush will do is announce solemnly that we should let Iraqi law deal with the "crime." He wins, both ways, except that the reputation of the U.S. as a defender of free speech takes another hit.

#41 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:01 AM:

"Of course, in Geriatric culture, a thrown cane carries special ritual significance as a gesture of dismissal and contempt, as do the words 'You damn kids better get off my lawn before I call the cops.'"

#42 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:03 AM:

#24: "can't recall previous names i used"

The previous names you used include:

Dr. Iodine
last train to clarksville
no thanks for revisionism

#43 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:06 AM:

Dan Layman-Kennedy @ 41: Oh, is that what it means! I thought it was a gesture of ritualized contempt towards faith healers.

#44 ::: J. Maccabaeus ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:08 AM:

Some people wouldn't have cared if he had thrown a dagger. Are ALL of our Leaders, both nationally and internationally, now supposed to just laugh it off as culturally OK if someone spits on them next? How would Muntadar Zaidi feel if the same happened to one of his Muslim Clerics?
Won't be long we will be able to identify all the Bush haters, along with other latent hate-mongerers -- they are the ones in barefeet.

#45 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:15 AM:

Mary Frances @40 wrote: Actually, what I suspect Bush will do is announce solemnly that we should let Iraqi law deal with the "crime."

Got it in one:

"The president believes that Iraq is a sovereign country, a democratic country, and they will have a process that they follow on this."

The IHT reports that Zaidi may be charged with attempted murder of an Iraqi or foreign president. While we're attracting trolls, I'll point out that the last case I heard about of a shoe being a deadly weapon was Jena.

#46 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:17 AM:

J. Maccabaeus @ 44: Laugh it off, no. React appropriately, yes. Richard Nixon managed it in Venezuela back in the 1950s, and he (and his wife) faced a lot worse than Bush.

Moral outrage for a far less violent and vicious act of political criticism is not appropriate, in my opinion. Nor is what Zaida seems to be currently facing in Irag. Bush should say so.

#47 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:21 AM:

FungiFromYoggoth @ 45: Bleh. Thank you for the link.

#48 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:22 AM:

The reaction must fit the action. That's really what it is. Flipping off the President shouldn't result in a beating. Throwing a nonlethal object, regardless of the gesture of contempt, should not result in a beating. Yelling shouldn't result in a beating.

This isn't a teaching moment. It's not a slippery slope, where today they throw shoes and, seeing that the shoe-throwers yet breathe, tomorrow they throw grenades. It's not black and white, with 'disrespects the president' on the same level as 'bombed a daycare'.

We are, I have heard, thinking, reasoning creatures. Even if you don't think the Iraqi people are, you don't shoot a dog because it licked you and now thinks it's okay to tear out your throat.

#49 ::: Johne Cook ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:22 AM:

As this is traditionally the season for pardons from lame-duck presidents, I agree it would be A Good Thing for President Bush to pardon Mr. Zaidi. I love the idea of the President giving Zaidi his shoes, and his freedom, back in one swell foop. Personally. It would be full of win (and might go a little way toward fending off a mountain of shoes following Mr. Bush around).

#50 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:26 AM:

the last case I heard about of a shoe being a deadly weapon was Jena

Huh? I should think most of the dead there were killed by musket or cannon fire. Is there an anecdote about the battle I don't know? Or are you thinking of Rosa Klebb?

#51 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:27 AM:

James 42: Hah! Beecha tooit!

#52 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:30 AM:

You know, you people miss the point on this gesture; it isn't aimed at Bush. It was an insult to America and our icon of that institution.

Fine by me.

In following GWB, our nation has acted contemptibly. And deserves to be treated with contempt.

I've heard people in the US say, on occasion, that "It's better to fight them there, than here" as a justification for the war in Iraq. If that reasoning is correct, then it is equally correct for Iraqis to do what they can to move the fight the US started back to US soil.

People in the US may not enjoy it, but we deserve it, for what we have done.

#53 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:32 AM:

ajay @50 - I was thinking of the "Jena 6" Jena, but I'll see your Rosa Klebb and raise you Ichi the Killer.

What's odd about the "Was Bush supposed to just laught it off?!" faux outrage is the fact that Bush did, in fact, just laugh it off.

#54 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:34 AM:

I will say this ONE THING in praise of Bush: He dodges thrown objects quite well. Instead of becoming a politician, what occupation should he have chosen to suit that talent? (Dodgeball champion?)

#55 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:42 AM:

Knifethrower's assistant?

#56 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:47 AM:

I find @18 somewhat predictable -- clearly sarge's programmer needs to tweak its Markov chain database to include a broader repertoire.

@44 is disturbingly quasi-human; add some ellipses between those phrases and I'd be suggesting a tentative diagnosis of schizophrenia -- it's got the same characteristic disjointed thinking, where none of the clauses follow from one another.

#57 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:49 AM:

Attendant at a carnival game? In this all-American career, Bush could show his skill protecting himself from tossed rings, while simultaneously using his affinity with crooked systems designed to scam the populace!

#58 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:59 AM:

And the crime that the journalist is charged under is "insulting a foreign head of state".

I'd like to see some our new chums try and justify that law. I think they'd prefer "insulting a Republican approved foreign head of state", because if we had the full Iraqi law, we could finally throw Limbaugh's fat ass into jail along side Hannity, Coulter, Podhoretz, Golberg, and the rest of the Jackass Class of American pundtitry. And probably some of the new chums as well.

#59 ::: Frederick George Wilson ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 12:06 PM:

I haven’t had a president since November 22, 1963, but beginning January 20, 2009 President-elect Barack Hussein Obama will be my president. Because the “president,” Bush the thug from Texas, has all but erased the meaning of sovereignty from the planet, the future of hero Muntadar al-Zaidi is uncertain. However, his chances for justice are light-years better now that a man of dignity is about to assume the most powerful post on Earth.

#60 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 12:56 PM:

Fredrick, let's reserve judgment until after he starts work, eh? Signs are positive, but I thought that about Clinton too, and was a bit disappointed. Feet of clay, and all that.

#61 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Man, the stupid is thick in here today. Charlie, the notion that the trolls are bots makes my brain melt and wish I had more time to get back to my doctoral research. (Well, the AI field will still be there when I finally get the kids healthy and funded.)

Sarge, the tack you are taking is an insult to the philosophy I hold dear (to wit, "Stupid people shouldn't be allowed to post where they can bother me"). Clearly, having allowed you to post once was a mistake, and so I am perfectly justified in calling my pal Guido to break your fingers for a small fee, before your continued posting gets out of hand.

If you can tell me why what you said is any different from what I said, then you win a cookie. I personally think my cookie supply is in no danger. (Always assuming, of course, that you are human at all -- Charlie's humo(u)r notwithstanding, I rather think you are, though. What a sad comment on humanity that is.)

(Note: I also thought Sarge was Serge doing a little parody; it was shortly after seeing that slight difference in vowel that I noted the aforementioned density of stupid.)

Justin @38 - the first half of your post, referring to laws, was pretty good. It was the second half, implying that beatings were a warranted and sane response to an insult, where you lost coherence. Sorry, son. You're stupid.

"Why is this stupid?" you may be asking. Well, because extrajudicial beatings are not a legal response. They are, in fact, not part of due process. So the government response is not, in fact, warranted. It is thuggish and, well, to quote Sarge: primitive.

Others have said this, but crpniu @24: if you don't like it, don't be here. Go over to BoingBoing and complain that their posts aren't fun enough, or something. What is it with people who come to sites to complain about how the community does stuff? It's like going to, I dunno, CNN and complaining that they don't have enough impromptu poetry. Weird.

(It does make me want to try to come up with some coincidences involving shoes, though.)

And now we come to J. Maccabaeus @44, a particularly loathsome brand of stupidity. J, are you assuming that Muntadar Zaidi is a fundamentalist Muslim? If so: why? Because "all the towelheads are the same"? Do I have to point out why that is stupid? And then there's your usage of the phrase "Bush haters." That's where I can really pinpoint your idiocy. There's just such a bulk of semantics behind that usage that I know it's not even useful to engage with you -- because you're not just stupid, you're willfully stupid.

Look, J. We're going to save this country our way, OK? Your team ran it into the ground, and at this point even a stupid person like yourself has to realize that things are not going well. You're lying to yourself, J. And you're not helping America by doing that. So with all due respect (which, granted, is not much) get the fuck out of the way. You had your chance and you blew it.

#62 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 02:09 PM:

Wow, did the troll trolley just pull up to the side door or something? If so, is a troll trolley anything like a clown car? If it is, that might explain some of the outrage over shoes, clown shoes being several orders of magnitude more deadly when thrown than the usual variety.

#63 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 02:31 PM:

Frederick George Wilson #59: Bush the thug from Texas Connecticut

FTFY. I've had just about enough of Texas being smeared by misplaced association because of that person.

#64 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 02:35 PM:

White House comments line is 202-556-1111

#65 ::: Nangleator ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 02:40 PM:

"Your team ran it into the ground, and at this point even a stupid person like yourself has to realize that things are not going well."

I'm fighting the stupid elsewhere, and that line isn't working for me.

i.e., Obama is being blamed for the current financial situation. Yes. No time machines mentioned, yet the President Elect is responsible for the now. The reasoning goes something like this: All our wealthy overlords are pulling all their investments "out," and that's destroying our economy right now. They're pulling out because otherwise, they'll lose it all in taxes. All. Someone directed my attention to a pre-Reagan tax rate of 97%.

(Ouch! That would sting!)

My counter to that was, "Just where is this 'out' they're pulling their money to? Are they destroying it? Because otherwise it's going back into the marketplace, which is a good thing, right?"

The reply to that was that all rich people are buying gold and silver directly from miners, cutting out the middle men. And thus the money is effectively gone.

I didn't bother asking whether or not the newly enriched miners were burning their new cash or using it to, like, buy things.

The stupid... burns.

#66 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 02:56 PM:

Well now, here's an opportunity to repurpose the FEMA Happy Camps for rich people. If they didn't want their stuff taken away and redistributed to more deserving people, they shouldn't have become rich by devouring the blood of the poor in the first place.

#67 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 02:56 PM:

James, #21: That was fun. I'm not terribly good at FPS games in general, but they've clearly tweaked the hit zone on this one such that anyone with normal hand-eye coordination can score. And it does make a very satisfying THUD.

Xopher, #55: No. A knife-thrower's assistant has to stand absolutely still, demonstrating confidence in the skill of the practitioner. It takes nerves of iron and a lot of control over the body's normal reflexes -- two qualities of which Bush has demonstrated neither.

Our trolls are clearly missing the point. What Zaidi did was an act of civil disobedience, akin to the civil-rights protesters of the 1960s. Like them, he knew what he was getting into and what he'd likely have to suffer as a result (hint: in the American South, being blasted with fire hoses was only the beginning), and he did it anyhow. Makes him a hero in my book, right along with Rosa Parks.

#68 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 03:01 PM:

Sarge (18), thank you for demonstrating once again the validity of the "you people" rule.

Ajay (34):

Has this post been linked to by somewhere unpleasant? Lot of new names turning up here, and frankly their punctuation isn't up to the standard I expect from established Photons.
"Photons." That's good.

Well, we got linked to in "Pagan News of Note" on The Wild Hunt, which observed that Holy Fools are closely associated with Tricksters, and you really don't want to mess with them. It's a good point. I think something very like it was lurking in the bottom of my head when I wrote the paragraph about golf. When you moon natural morality like that, the narrative sends you tricksters and holy fools.

...Whoops. Newsbreak. This entry just got linked to by Xeni at Boing Boing. We have company coming.

#69 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 03:33 PM:

Lee 67: So he would suck at it. He would try to dodge, with predictable results.

What I don't see is why this would be a bad thing.

#70 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 03:40 PM:

Earl - he may have been born here, but he and we disowned each other long ago. You elected him, you bought him. So sorry, in the m'yan han'mida sense.

#71 ::: Chaos ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 03:47 PM:

A point I think Sarge and his ilk are missing, when they say that to let such things pass now encourages greater acts later (like throwing nukes? Really?): the lesson of the Chinese Soldiers.

***

It is said that, back when China was young and Legalism as a philosophy had a strong hold on the Empire, lesser crimes were punished harshly, lest greater ones follow them.

"Brother," one soldier said to his friend, as they walked towards their camp, "what is the punishment for being late for duty."

"Death," the second replied.

"And for rebelling against the Son of Heaven?"

"Death."

"And yet, we have overstayed our leave," the first soldier remarked.

"Ah." His brother thought a moment. "Down with the Emperor!"

***

That is to say, if you treat a thrown shoe as a thrown bomb, it may reduce the incidence of thrown shoes - but it will increase the incidence of thrown bombs.

#72 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 04:00 PM:

"We can't let them think they can insult us and get away with it!" is a very dangerous meme. That first amendment thingie we have here in the US? That's important. That's what makes it explicitly legal to insult elected officials (and others). One of the ideals embodied in freedom of speech is the idea that violence is never a reasonable response to speech. One can't respond to one level of violence (shoe throwing) with a higher level of violence (beatings) and pretend to be justified in doing so.

And to say "he's Iraqi, he doesn't get first amendment protection" is to miss the point. We fail at living up to our ideals if we gleefully suspend those ideals when reacting to the misfortunes of others.

#73 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 04:05 PM:

Chaos 71: Indeed. "Might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb," as the saying goes.

#74 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 04:10 PM:

I think that if we wait for Bush to do the right thing, we'll be waiting for a long time.

#75 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 04:14 PM:

Chaos, #71: Yes. This principle is also enshrined in English adage as, "Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb." (And I see Xopher already said that. May I have the brain back when you're done with it?)

Side note: "his ilk" carries much the same sort of connotation as "you people". I suggest "his fellow travelers" instead. ;-)

#76 ::: Kalirren ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 04:19 PM:

I say we all go about our days barefoot until al-Zaidi is released. Pass it on.

#77 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 04:22 PM:

Karillen, it hasn't been above freezing here in Boulder for about a week. I'm not sure how my getting frostbite will help Zaidi in the slightest.

I like the idea of sending shoes to Bush with his face pasted on the soles, though.

#78 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 04:24 PM:

Sorry, Kalirren. I can spell, really I can! Sometimes.

#79 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 04:24 PM:

Kalirren, that would be easier for people who live in, say, Texas than for people who live in Maine.

I say we point our shoes at the POTUS whenever he comes to town between now and January 20.

#80 ::: BuffySquirrel ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 04:40 PM:

Lee #67, you do know the knife-thrower doesn't actually throw the knives, right?

I was hoping Sarge would come back to be baited some more. Does that make me a Dark Side Photon?

#81 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 04:42 PM:

I would be happy to join a movement to send George Bush my/our old, worn, stinky shoes. Forever. They could be shipped to the White House until January 19th, and from then on, to the GW Bush library, to Crawford, Texas, to wherever he ends up living... Forever, until he dies, and is interred. I have visions of shoes piling up on George W. Bush's f*cking grave.

Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin would have totally understood.

#82 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 04:52 PM:

Xopher #39:

Yeah, fair enough. There are three cases, in increasing order of suckitude:

a. The cops unnecessarily rough you up while arresting you.

b. The cops spend a little extra time smacking you around after they've arrested you.

c. The cops take you back to the station so they can take their time really working you over.

From the reports, it's pretty clear that (a) happened, it sounds like (b) probably happened (if the Iraqi security guys were still "teaching him a lesson" enough to force Bush to speak up over the guy's screams). The BBC article suggested that (c) might have also happened.

My guess is that the Iraqi security guys / army / cops probably treated this guy in the way they'd normally treat someone who'd p-ssed them off and offended someone powerful, and that Bush would have had to specifically say something to Karzai to keep the guy from being beaten up too badly. But that's just a guess. (And for all we know, he did say something, and that's why the journalist is still breathing. I'm not sure what happens to someone in Iraq without much power who seriously p-sses off Karzai, but I expect it's nothing good.)

#83 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 04:55 PM:

Karzai is President in Afghanistan. You meant al-Maliki.

#84 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 04:56 PM:

albatross - you don't mean Karzai, but al-Maliki, don't you? Karzai is in Afghanistan.

#85 ::: Kittekaat ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 05:35 PM:

What's Egyptian for "Don't Taze me bro!"?

#86 ::: SendShoesToBush ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 05:51 PM:

As a sign of your admiration, please feel free (compelled) to send your old shoes to;

George W. Bush Presidential Library
c/o SMU
6425 Boaz Lane
Dallas TX 75205

#87 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 05:55 PM:

Kittekaat -- Egyptian? You want it in a dead language?

Actually, I'm sure someone here at Making Light can oblige. It's amazing what the people here know.

(FYI: They speak Arabic in Egypt -- specifically Egyptian Arabic. Muntadar Zaidi is Iraqi, and probably speaks Iraqi Arabic natively. He works in Baghdad for an Iraqi-owned television station which is based in Cairo. He probably speaks Modern Standard Arabic on the air. I don't know any Arabic and can't tell you which language he used to shout at the press conference -- I do know Egyptian Arabic is different from Iraqi Arabic.)

#88 ::: Chaos ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 06:11 PM:

Lee, #75 - oops, yes, I apologise for the inappropriate wording. "Fellow travellers" is far better.

Thank you.

#89 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 06:19 PM:

Arggh! Yes, al-Maliki. Karzai probably has relatively little ability to get people beaten up by the cops in Iraq.

#90 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 06:42 PM:

Lee @75 - but "his ilk" is third person, whereas "you people" is second person. Thus "his ilk" has the benefit of being inoffensive and kind of classy. Ilk, ilk. It's a good word.

#91 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 07:07 PM:

Now if only Bush could get the special farewell from the end of the M*A*S*H episode "Some 38th Parallels", but with shoes instead of garbage..!

#92 ::: sara ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 07:37 PM:

I'd have preferred entartage, even though there's no Arabic cultural context for that; as far as I know, Iraqis don't eat custard pies (the climate is too hot in summer).

Intended to humiliate hubristic fools -- and harmless, unless you count death by cholesterol.

#93 ::: 'merikin ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 07:49 PM:

You can add one more to the list that the "whole world knows": It against the law to attack a head of state, regardless of how you feel about him. Lets hope he's not let off with a slap on the wrist... he should be getting "his" country's full penalty for his crime.

#94 ::: Vree ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 07:52 PM:

"Oh, nonsense. It was an insult to Bush, personally."

Then you'll be fine with foreign journalists hurling shoes, rotten apples, etc. at Obama and all other future presidents, right? Or does this amnesty you're granting only extend to those who attack US officials you don't like?

In any event, it's worth considering what would have happened to this Shi'a journalist if he'd tried something like this in Saddam's day. Things are better in Iraq, much as it might pain some to admit.

#95 ::: Iorwerth Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 08:15 PM:

"You can add one more to the list that the "whole world knows": It against the law to attack a head of state, regardless of how you feel about him. Lets hope he's not let off with a slap on the wrist... he should be getting "his" country's full penalty for his crime."

What's with the bizarre scare-quotes? I mean, the journalist in question is clearly male, not pretending...

I happen to be from a place where we once executed the then head of state [1] for being a tad overly assertive [2], so I hope you'll pardon me if I'm not exactly impressed at the upset in some quarters because someone threw a *shoe* at the guy who's responsible for making a wasteland of his country and calling that peace.


[1] Charles I.

[2] British understatement.

#96 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 08:59 PM:

Nicole, #78: You just thought you were talking to the Overlord*, that's all. :-)

Michael, #90: I think you missed the point I was actually making. Well, it was a carom-shot...

* Childhood's End

#97 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:10 PM:

iowerth,

What's with the bizarre scare-quotes? I mean, the journalist in question is clearly male, not pretending...

i infer, from a couple of the drivebys here, that the right wing meme is that zaidi had no "right" to be throwing shoes in indignation, because he's not really iraqi, don't you know, he's egyptian...

(this is false, as far as i can tell.)

#98 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:39 PM:

Vree 94: Then you'll be fine with foreign journalists hurling shoes, rotten apples, etc. at Obama and all other future presidents, right? Or does this amnesty you're granting only extend to those who attack US officials you don't like?

If Obama does things amounting to even a tenth part of Bush's crimes against Iraq, against America, against international law, and against humanity, then yes, I'd be fine with him suffering the same abuse. I think it's too bad the guy wasn't really trying to hit him, or was such a poor shot. It's too bad Bush's nose wasn't broken.

If any foreign head of government did what he has done, they would be afraid to leave their own country, as Robert Mugabe quite justifiably is. Bush belongs in a maximum security prison (gen. pop.), not the White House.

#99 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:58 PM:

Miriam:

If so, the drivebys aren't doing a very good job explaining their position. Indeed, they seem to be empty of content other than anger at the shoe-thrower for insulting Bush and (by proxy, the US), and anger at Americans who have anything good to say about the shoe-thrower[1].

FWIW, my take is that disrupting a press conference to yell insults and throw stuff is, indeed, bad behavior, and it's unsurprising if you get thrown out or even face some minor jail time. But neither Bush nor any other world leader has any right to never be confronted by protesters, by people who hate what he's done and want to tell him so. In the US, we have gone way too far, IMO, toward the notion that powerful people must never be offended by having to actually see and hear protesters call them nasty names[2]. And, in practice, Bush blew the whole thing off, at least verbally. His body language didn't suggest fear, and there appears to have been no danger unless some trigger-happy guard did something dumb.

At a guess, the shoe-throwing and cursing (in public, on global TV, in front of Bush, replayed over and over again all over the world) caused al-Maliki[3] and his security guys to lose a hell of a lot of face, and this probably led to the shoe-thrower being beaten up so badly.

[1] Note that you don't have to have any particular love of the man or his actions to think that getting stomped by a dozen Iraqi cops and then dragged off to the police station for more beatings is an unreasonably harsh punishment for, basically, disrupting a press conference to curse a powerful foreign leader out and throw shoes (or rotten vegetables, or sh-t) at him.

[2] There is a big difference between "I have a right not to have to see or hear protesters who are mad at me." and "I have a right to be able to run a press conference, meeting, summit, political convention, etc., without constant disruptions by people who want their cause heard." Many people who use the second argument seem to enact policies to accomplish the goal of the first one.

[3] Who is not Karzai.

#100 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:59 PM:

Nangleator@65: I read the "your team" comment as talking about BushCo. Michael Roberts (@61) and you are fighting the same stupid. I hope he keeps fighting, myself.

One of the things about committing civil disobedience (which I view this as, rather than simple assault), is that the person who does so expects a certain amount of punishment. And an appropriate punishment would be nice. What one thinks is appropriate varies by person.

It's worth recognizing that he threw shoes because he had shoes to throw. It's one of the few easily-hurled items of good heft which one can get through the various security stations surrounding a press conference like that (shit, eggs and rotten fruit would have been confiscated). I think there's a line there about "You'll take my shoes away when you pry them from my cold, dead feet" which might have been appropriate for someone to invent around the Department of Fatherland Security, but it didn't quite escalate to that.

#101 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:09 PM:

Iorwerth @ 95: 'merikin is using the quotation marks for emphasis, I'm pretty sure.

I will refrain from quoting Herr Starr on the matter of inverted commas for emphasis.

#102 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:12 PM:

albatross 99: Excellent comment, my friend. This makes lots of sense. I know we disagree on whether Mr. Zaidi's actions were appropriate, and what's appropriate to do with him now, but you've outlined the key points very clearly. Thanks for that.

#103 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:12 PM:

albatross,

If so, the drivebys aren't doing a very good job explaining their position. Indeed, they seem to be empty of content other than anger at the shoe-thrower for insulting Bush and (by proxy, the US), and anger at Americans who have anything good to say about the shoe-thrower

yes, i agree that that is their main position. i think that the "egyptian" bit is just a bonus smear.

the internet-neocon-fringe, like we saw in the vegetarian thread, likes to call into question the moral right of someone to make an argument they dislike, as well as (or sometimes instead of) addressing the argument itself, in this case zaidi's implicit argument that the deaths of iraqis justify his anger & contempt at bush, to the point where the appropriate response is throwing his shoe.

thus, i can easily imagine that some blog out there is saying (no, i'm not going to go check) "did you hear he's not even iraqi? he's egyptian. what has he got to complain about?" this leads to "'don't tase me, bro' in egyptian" & "'his' country" in the mouths of their astroturf bots.

#104 ::: Robin Z ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:16 PM:

A little piling-on on Vree @94:

Then you'll be fine with foreign journalists hurling shoes, rotten apples, etc. at Obama and all other future presidents, right? Or does this amnesty you're granting only extend to those who attack US officials you don't like?

If someone threw shoes, rotten apples, tomatoes, snowballs, bags of popcorn, or anything else of that kind at Obama, I would expect the punk to get firmly escorted out and thrown in the lockup overnight. I would consider that a proportionate response to the office. Disappearing the guy and subjecting him to beatings is not.

In any event, it's worth considering what would have happened to this Shi'a journalist if he'd tried something like this in Saddam's day. Things are better in Iraq, much as it might pain some to admit.

Sorry, that's the textbook EEBC failure. Don't do it again.

#105 ::: Tehanu ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:16 PM:

"Oh, nonsense. It was an insult to Bush, personally."

Then you'll be fine with foreign journalists hurling shoes, rotten apples, etc. at Obama and all other future presidents, right?

Yes. I'm fine with that and with the punishment fitting the crime, which as somebody upthread pointed out, was basically disturbing the peace. The fitting punishment for that is NOT being beaten up by security thugs and getting your arm broken. What part of "free speech" as a natural right don't you get? Or is it that free speech, to you, is a right that brown people don't have?

#106 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:24 PM:

miriam 103: this leads to "'don't tase me, bro' in egyptian"

Kittekaat 85 and SendShoesToBush 86 are the same commenter, at least according to View All By. If that person is a neocon troll, I don't understand the second post; if not, I don't understand the first (mainly the Egyptian part).

#107 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:27 PM:

A.R.Yngve said in #44: I will say this ONE THING in praise of Bush: He dodges thrown objects quite well. Instead of becoming a politician, what occupation should he have chosen to suit that talent?

I think I suggested this a couple of years back (although I'm not sure where) but: Carnival Aunt Sally. It addresses all his obvious talents - for the most part he just has to stand there and do nothing; if he wants to he can dodge the projectiles; there's no intellectual effort required whatsoever; he can act as his own carnie barker; and if his corporate friends feel so inclined, he can be sponsored and wear their logos - or agree not to dodge certain types of projectile manufactured by their companies. It also gives the people of the USA an ideal opportunity to express their feelings regarding his presidency; it even provides a good alternative use for carnival food!

Of course, in between times he might have to do a bit of actual physical labour during the setting up and breaking down stages of the carnival process, but every job has its down side.

'merkin at #93 said: It against the law to attack a head of state, regardless of how you feel about him.

Actually, I'd like to put that one to various scholars and legal experts, because I can see a *lot* of legal wriggle room in that statement (and not only am I not a lawyer, I also don't play one on television).

Firstly, there's the whole matter of "against the law" - first prove every single nation in the world has a law prohibiting attacks on visiting heads of state *and* heads of government.

Secondly, define "attack" - does throwing a pair of shoes count as an attack under the legal system of every country in the world? Is it still an attack if you miss?

Putting things as broadly as 'merkin did leaves a lot of open space where problems can occur. For example, would a friendly slap on the shoulder count as an "attack" under the law? How about a mock-punch from a friend? What about play wrestling and similar? Pillowfighting? All of those could be counted as "attacks", and the "regardless of how you feel about him" statement means legally you'd be forced to decontextualise each and every single one of them.

#108 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:28 PM:

I think you hominids are missing a signal--something like a thrown gauntlet. A thrown gauntlet is a sign of the conflict of equals. Thrown shoes are a grave insult--"you are the dirt beneath my feet." Throwing shoes and calling someone a dog is a way to start a blood-feud. The whole matter of punishment, or not, of al-Zeidi seems like rather small potatoes against that. Which means...

More food for corvids. Krawk!

#109 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:31 PM:

I, just... I have incredible difficulty adjusting to the fact that some people are concerned that a press conference was disrupted. That some people are acting like Zaidi got too angry.

Over a hundred thousand Iraqis are dead. The infrastructure was destroyed. The quality of life has skyrocketed. People have been tortured. All this was done on the basis of lies, for which no apology or contrition has yet appeared.

There is a paragraph in Aristotle's Ethics where he clarifies that, while moderation - an appropriate response between too much and not enough - is the gold, that does not mean "one must always be moderate" in a way that never changes. An extreme situation merits a greater response. If somebody comes into your home and murders your family, "moderate" anger is insufficient and vicious. Extreme rage is, in this case, justified and virtuous.

How angry do these people think Zaidi had a right to be?

#110 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:39 PM:

Meg Thornton @107 - I am skeptical about the extent the drivebys have actually thought through what they're saying.

'merkin said: he should be getting "his" country's full penalty for his crime and I wonder - what would his reaction be if Obama appointed a prosecutor to investigate the Bush cabinet for war crimes and other assorted violations of the US legal code?

If anyone who feels that Zaidi should suffer the full brunt of Iraqi law [sic] are still reading the comments, I'd be interested to see their reaction to that hypothetical.

#111 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:49 PM:

xopher,

Kittekaat 85 and SendShoesToBush 86 are the same commenter, at least according to View All By.

huh. well, there goes my theory. kittekaat sounded, to my ear, like it was gloating, like the people who laughed at the don't-tase-me-bro guy.

i assumed that the "egyptian" came from deliberately spread lies (that zaidi is egyptian, not that "egyptian" is a currently-spoken language). now i, like you, have no idea what to make of it.

#112 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:54 PM:

I am totally fine with Obama or any other head of state having to dodge hurled shoes, insults, buckets of whatever.

That's part of the job, imo. You get the part where you have chauffeurs 24/7, a rather decent salary for life, armed guards... if you feel a craving for crème brûlée at three in the bloody morning, there's a 5-star chef standing by with a blowtorch just for you.

If all this deference and catering doesn't make up for chancing the odd chucked bit of crud bearable, then you can just leave off being king, by golly.

#113 ::: Robin Z ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:54 PM:

i assumed that the "egyptian" came from deliberately spread lies (that zaidi is egyptian, not that "egyptian" is a currently-spoken language). now i, like you, have no idea what to make of it.

Kittekaat got fooled by the people pushing the "egyptian" "smear" and subsequently made a mildly amusing pop culture reference incorporating this misapprehension?

#114 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 11:21 PM:

Sarah @92
A quick Google search shows me that sentences for entartage of important personages in the US & Canada, back in the glory days of pie-throwing politics, were 5 days to 6 months. My memory of the late '90s is that in Europe pie throwers got significantly less legal flack, though I could be wrong.

I tried to find what happened to the pretzel-throwers at a Bush rally here in Minnesota a few years back, and the internet didn't help me. My memory is the polite but firm escort was all they got, but again, I could be wrong. Of course, they were nowhere near him, much less aiming at him.

#115 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 12:45 AM:

SeanH @109: The quality of life has skyrocketed.

Not to put words in your mouth, but I think the right one is 'plummeted'.

#116 ::: Fourthseven ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 12:52 AM:

Meg @107

From a year of law school, I can say that all the examples you give fit the US definition of battery (I have no knowledge of other countries, though). And the shoe throwing is a textbook example of assault.

I agree with someone upthread (sorry, can't find it at the moment) who said we should view this as civil disobedience, something that is expected to be punished. I think even if you treat attacks on the President differently, the punishment for a largely symbolic act should be fairly light.

And personally, if Obama doesn't pursue charges against Bush&co (as he's hinted), I certainly hope his spirit of reconciliation will cross borders and he'll ask for Zaidi's release.

#117 ::: myrthe ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 12:55 AM:

So, are we still waiting for the Egyptian translation because people are having trouble getting the font to display in Movable Type, or because you're having trouble fitting heiroglyphs into iambic pentameter?

#118 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 12:57 AM:

Rob Rusick #115: oh crap! Well, that laughably undermines my otherwise entirely serious post. I think the sentence was originally "the death rate has skyrocketed", and I intended to change it to "the quality of life has plummeted" or some other similar metaphor, and somehow managed to change only the noun phrase. Thanks for catching it.

#119 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 01:05 AM:

Fourthseven #116: And personally, if Obama doesn't pursue charges against Bush&co (as he's hinted)[...]

I hadn't heard that before; has Obama gone so far as to state that he intends to reenact Ford's Great Mistake with presidential pardons?

Of course, that wouldn't affect international war crimes trials.

#120 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 01:21 AM:

Xopher @98: If Obama does things amounting to even a tenth part of Bush's crimes against Iraq, against America, against international law, and against humanity, then yes, I'd be fine with him suffering the same abuse.

Why the qualifiers? Throwing non-lethal objects at political leaders is a fine tradition of democratic expression, and that's still true if the leaders in question didn't commit any crimes.

#121 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 01:25 AM:

SeanH, #109: I'm frankly amazed that no one has yet accused Zaidi of Bush Derangement Syndrome. That is the normal wingnut response to any expression of anger against BushCo, right?

#122 ::: Fourthseven ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 01:26 AM:

Earl @116

Obama hasn't said anything specifically, and this is probably more of a projection of what I think he'll do. The closest I can find is this from Salon, promising investigations but hedging (hard) on prosecutions. I don't think he'll fall into the Ford trap, but some of his talk about transcending politics leaves me wary.

#123 ::: Fourthseven ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 01:27 AM:

Argh, can't get the link to work right for some reason. It's

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/11/13/torture_commission/

#124 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 05:48 AM:

I'm a bit disappointed here.
The crowd has been lazily entertaining itself repeating that the low quality of troll here is indeed of low quality.
But has anyone mentioned the odds against “merkin” actually knowing what a merkin is? N-O-O-o-o-o.

#125 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 05:56 AM:

niel,

But has anyone mentioned the odds against “merkin” actually knowing what a merkin is?

no, but they did shorten 'merikin's name to merkin in the first place.

#126 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 05:57 AM:

& then i went & spelled your own name wrong. sorry, neil.

#127 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 06:27 AM:

#124 ::: Neil in Chicago:

You don't fill a comment thread with the trolls you want, you fill it with the trolls you've got.

#128 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 06:38 AM:

I don't know about you, but I'm frankly relieved that the guy's whereabouts are known, and he's going to be charged with a crime (that doesn't carry the death penalty).

A lot worse has happened to people in Iraq over the last few years, especially to people who pissed off the SCIRI/Dawa guys who make up our gallant allies. (Their Badr Corps was the outfit that got a reputation for drilling holes in people.)

According to Sami Ramadani, the bloke was a leftist student leader at Baghdad University, so this was something similar to Danny Cohn-Bendit throwing the Minister of Education in a swimming pool.

If anyone still thinks the whole significance of the shoes was made up by teh teevee, you should ask yourself why so many people all over the Middle East apparently care about this; it was a truly brilliant piece of media combat. Millions saw that and will remember it for ever.

As a comparison, during the 2001 election campaign a guy leapt out and smashed an egg all over the then Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, and appeared to be about to assault him when Prescott knocked him silly with a left jab to the chin (he was a former amateur boxing champ). No action was taken against either of them, and the whole affair was considered a great laugh, despite the epic security breach and actual pugilism.

#129 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 07:54 AM:

#109:

There is a paragraph in Aristotle's Ethics where he clarifies that, while moderation - an appropriate response between too much and not enough - is the gold, that does not mean "one must always be moderate" in a way that never changes. An extreme situation merits a greater response. If somebody comes into your home and murders your family, "moderate" anger is insufficient and vicious. Extreme rage is, in this case, justified and virtuous.

Or as a famous Republican put it, "Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." I suspect my idea of justice and Goldwater's would be just a bit different, and it's because of that kind of disagreement that I think caution and humility in the pursuit of justice *can* be virtues, but moderation just for the sake of being moderate (or inoffensive) is not.

Justice for Bush would involve a heck of a lot more than shoe-throwing, but the reason this incident is news is the scarcity of people willing to go even as far as an open insult.


P.S. Someone who actually believes in the principles underlying the First Amendment would not act in a manner inconsistent with those principles even when the Amendment itself technically doesn't apply. Bush, of course, is not that someone.

#130 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 09:00 AM:

Zaidi is the Hero, not the Holy Fool. Throwing shoes is funny to us, but as extensively discussed, there's a cultural difference. His words were straightforward-- he wasn't doing anything indirect.

I wonder how he'll take it when he finds out that what he did pleased a lot of Americans. As a journalist, he might not be surprised, but I imagine him saying "Where have you been?" and the only answer I can think of is "It took you a while to think of throwing shoes".

#131 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 09:42 AM:

Where's Erik Olson when you need him?

#132 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 09:54 AM:

myrthe @ 117

The problem is finding someone who's familiar enough with the traditional verse forms. Any of the Arabic speakers listening out there ever written hija?

#133 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 09:58 AM:

Jim Macdonald @ 127

LOL, you owe me a new Coalition of the Willing.

#134 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 10:18 AM:

There was a fantastic parody troll named Merkin Patriot operating on Eschaton for a while.

Enjoy: http://merkinpatriot.blogspot.com/

My favorite, and perfectly illustrative of the style: I WANT A PRESIDNTE WHO WILL LOOK TEH PRESIDENT OF MIXECO IN THE EYES SPEAK CLEAR ENGLESH AND NEGOTIATE CABRON REDUCTIONS
Merkin Patriot | 11.19.07 - 2:06 pm | #

#135 ::: Nicholas Waller ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 01:03 PM:

Xopher @ 98 - "If any foreign head of government did what he has done, they would be afraid to leave their own country, as Robert Mugabe quite justifiably is"

I don't know if you're aware, but several years ago Peter Tatchell, a gay rights activist, tried to make a citizen's arrest on Mugabe in London while he, Mugabe, was there on a private shopping trip. The police arrested Tatchell and escorted Mugabe to his destination. Tatchell tried again in Brussels, and this time was beaten up by Mugabe's bodyguards in front of some cameras.

#136 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 03:03 PM:

Nancy @130:

I wonder how he'll take it when he finds out that what he did pleased a lot of Americans. As a journalist, he might not be surprised, but I imagine him saying "Where have you been?" and the only answer I can think of is "It took you a while to think of throwing shoes".

Sometimes the first shoe is not ours to throw.

#137 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 04:25 PM:

Following up on Meg Thornton's response (#107) to 'mer(i)kin, who averred that 'It against the law to attack a head of state, regardless of how you feel about him.'

Or 'her', in this case, because if that's your argument, I think that Angela Merkel has a pretty solid case against Bush.

#138 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 04:43 PM:

My current favorite photoshop which refers to shoes thrown at Bush is based on the notorious Mission Accomplished photo op, where Bush attempts to dodge a flingstorm of shoes.

#139 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 04:56 PM:

This guy threw two solid objects with considerable force towards some one's face. The only reason he missed was because the intended victim had good enough reflexes to dodge. The first shoe might have been symbolic and well as malicious, but the second was clearly only meant to hurt.

In Canada, I can say with confidence, this guy would certainly be charged with two counts of assault with a weapon. What he did, whatever his reasoning, is much more than simple obstruction, mischief, or disturbing the peace.

I am disappointed by people playing down the violence in this act by joking about it. Are we allowed to assault unpopular people now? Will the whole world make it okay and gloss over the violence and call it funny, just because they agree the person should be unpopular?

#140 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 05:14 PM:

Drive-by concern troll.

#141 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 05:27 PM:

Try long-time lurker, first-time poster. But thanks for the welcome anyway.

I stand by my point. Why is this okay? Because the person who almost got hit was Bush? Any other reason - at all?

#142 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 05:34 PM:

So, let's say it was assault, for argument. Is the punishment for assault in that degree a beating & detention for an undeterminate amount of time?

I had a boyfriend who got an assault charge for spitting on someone in a bar fight. 5th degree assault, 10 days in lockup because he couldn't pay the fine. No beatings. Sometimes suspects get roughed up here, but not in hearing of the Mayor, because we have the rule of law, and due process.

Hauling this guy off and beating him is pretty much the behavior we didn't like about Hussein, right? I mean, since the weapons charges were made up and he wasn't going to invade Kuwait again?

#143 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 05:39 PM:

debcha #137: Angela Merkel is not a head of state;, she's a head of government. The head of the German state is Horst Köhler, the Federal President.
(I had to look this up. The site where I looked this up also informed me that the address of the US embassy in Germany is on Pariser Platz in Berlin; 'Pariser' is the demotic German term for 'condom' -- cf. 'French Letter' in Britain.)

#144 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 05:53 PM:

JC, I think a lot of people here are saying that something like this can be an acceptable form of civil disobedience. Civil disobedience carries penalties. And under most circumstances, people guilty of civil disobedience (and I think we can agree he's guilty of that beyond a reasonable doubt, given the video) are not serious flight risks, are not likely to be seriously dangerous to individuals, and should be (under a reasonable system) subject to bail while awaiting trial. I support freeing him without exoneration, and him having a fair trial around all this.

People who throw shoes in bar fights usually get cut feet seldom get arrested for assault. This was a higher-profile target than the one in most bar fights.

#145 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 06:26 PM:

It's not OK, but it's no less OK than if the shoes had been thrown at any other target - al-Maliki, Angela Merkel, or a retired dustman in Huddersfield.

Not only is getting arrested and beaten up a totally disproportionate result, but words cannot describe the derision which this Terribly Serious Reaction engenders.

#146 ::: Don Simpson ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 06:31 PM:

You people are awesomely good. (Trolls excepted.)

#147 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 07:15 PM:

Tom, I agree bail or the equivalent would be appropriate here. I also agree that civil disobedience has its penalties, and that under a reasonable system those penalties are likely fair and don't involve further assaults. But I also think arrest was fair, because he tried to assault some one, and that can't be acceptable (in the absence of self defence or defence of another) under any legal system.

I wasn't talking about the subsequent beating, which was obviously terrible and unnecessary, but about the act of throwing shoes at another person. Okay, he ducked. Would it have been as funny if he'd been struck and lost some teeth, or cut his face, or injured his windpipe? Are we agreed it's only funny because he got out of the way in time?

Also, Sam, thanks for clarifying what might be prompting the "troll!" response. Obviously I wasn't clear. I am absolutely not saying an attack on Bush is somehow more serious than an attack on anyone else. I personally can understand why many, many people would want to throw even more lethal objects at Bush. But that still doesn't make it right. And, for what it's worth, I really don't think acknowledging that makes my view a TSR.

#148 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 07:23 PM:

Fragano (#143): Angela Merkel is not a head of state; she's a head of government.

I stand corrected. However, making the fairly safe assumption that 'mer(i)kin was not using the term 'head of state' quite that advisedly, I think my point still holds.

#149 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 07:49 PM:

For a couple of months, I've been trying to dredge a story ID out of the sludge of my memory, and this seems an appropriate time and place to ask for help. It ends with a couple of lines very much like: "Luckily, he managed to duck in time. He had always been a man of action." Any ideas?

#150 ::: chucktaylor ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 07:52 PM:

Try it this way: you respect the office, not necessarily the person. The office is the highest in America, and insulting that office translates, to many, as an insult against our country.

Beaten and carried away is over the line, but in this day and age, what do you expect? Not to mention, it didn't help Iraq's image one bit.

#151 ::: Iorwerth Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 08:06 PM:

"Try it this way: you respect the office, not necessarily the person. The office is the highest in America, and insulting that office translates, to many, as an insult against our country."

That's... bizarre. Why would anyone do that? Surely it's the man and not the office that you must respect, otherwise you're nothing but an elected monarchy run on a bizarre melding of Divine Right of Kings and vox populi, vox dei. Which isn't exactly healthy.

#152 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 08:19 PM:

And when the country has done reprehensible things, like starting an aggressive war, should one still respect the office? Particularly when that particular holder of the office was the primary force behind that aggressive war? Sorry, chucktaylor. Respect has to be earned, and disrespect gets earned too.

I agree completely, JC, that arrest was fair (and I think most people here also agree that it was a reasonable response to the action). And much of the anger that many (including I) have felt towards Bush is well pointed towards with the throwing of those shoes. The title of this item calls for freeing him -- I'd like to see that happen, on bail. And I'd like to see him have to pay a token fine. That'll help keep him in the news for a couple of months. This is a meme about earned disrespect that shouldn't go away.

#153 ::: Chaos ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 08:56 PM:

chucktaylor #150 - "Try it this way: you respect the office, not necessarily the person. The office is the highest in America, and insulting that office translates, to many, as an insult against our country."

If that's the case, then the Iraqis who beat statues of Saddam with shoes were also disrespecting the office of the President of Iraq, rather than the person of Saddam. Should they also be punished for that disrespectful action? After all, the if the office is unworthy of respect, then that's a problem for al-Maliki, sin't it?

Just because someone holds an office, does not mean they must be respected as the office is. That holds, even if you feel the office needs respect.

#154 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 08:58 PM:

In Canada, I can say with confidence, this guy would certainly be charged with two counts of assault with a weapon.

In Canada, I can say with confidence, this guy would spend nine days in jail and pay a fifty-dollar fine.

#155 ::: lightning ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 09:23 PM:

OK, throwing a shoe is a Grave Insult. However, by laughing it off, Bush is saying that Zaidi's insult isn't worth consideration. Same as if the shoe were thrown by a toddler -- some punsihment, not severe, and certainly not starting a blood feud.

Zaidi insulted Bush, and Bush insulted him right back. IMHO, they're even.

#156 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 10:23 PM:

JC: I can't speak for anyone else, but I think I'm on the same page as them. I'm not saying that it shouldn't be illegal, what we're saying is that it looks like the punishment (judicial and extra-) will be wildly disproportionate, and, at least in my case, that the shoe-throwing was ethical.

#157 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 01:06 AM:

In Canada, I can say with confidence, this guy would spend nine days in jail and pay a fifty-dollar fine.
Anticorium, could you email me and tell me what your jurisdiction is? I am curious about your sentence calculation but I don't want to deviate from the thread.

SeanH - I do understand that distinction; thanks for making it. I might not agree but it certainly helps me re-read a lot of these posts in a more enlightened frame of mind.


#158 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 03:06 AM:

JC, #147: I apologize for jumping to conclusions. As for a reason (though not an excuse), I will note that this thread has attracted a number of genuine trolls, some of whom said very similar things.

Joel, #149: That's Heinlein's "-And He Built A Crooked House".
Teal ducked in time -- he had always been a man of action.

#159 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 07:53 AM:

Alex @128 - I just looked up what happened to Craig Evans (the egg thrower) - he was arrested, released on police bail, then later sent a letter saying he was no longer bound by the bail conditions. So essentially let free.

After looking into it the CPS decided not to prosecute either of them. Although not exactly a precedent for this case I note the following quote:

"In Mr Evans's case, the CPS has concluded that a prosecution would serve no useful purpose, taking into account the minor nature of the assault as well as the fact that he suffered some minor injury himself and spent several hours in police custody.

"Neither party has made any allegations about this incident. Accordingly, no further police action is anticipated."
#160 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 08:32 AM:

I WANT A PRESIDNTE WHO WILL LOOK TEH PRESIDENT OF MIXECO IN THE EYES SPEAK CLEAR ENGLESH AND NEGOTIATE CABRON REDUCTIONS

Cabron reductions? I'm all for that. Meno cabrones, Vicente!

The office is the highest in America, and insulting that office translates, to many, as an insult against our country.

It only translates thus to idiots who regard the winner of a popularity contest not as a senior civil servant on a four-year contract but as the Priest-Avatar of the State.

#161 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 09:25 AM:

ajay @ 160, that's why that's my favorite one :) It takes more wit than I have to consistently make political puns solely in the form of believable typos.

#162 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 09:46 AM:

Xopher #102:

Thanks!

To clarify one thing, though, I'm not saying I disagree with the shoe thrower's action, exactly. I'm saying it's totally reasonable, to me, that if you disrupt a press conference and throw stuff at someone, you get thrown out and maybe arrested for disturbing the peace or some low-level assault charge or some similarly small thing. That's what I'd expect to happen if, say, someone managed to hit Obama with a cream pie. They'd get hauled off by the Secret Service and be questioned and maybe charged with something, but they wouldn't have the hell beat out of them or be sent to prison for a long sentence or anything.

I can see why he held Bush responsible for all that's happened in Iraq since we invaded. Indeed, there's nobody else to hold responsible--it was ultimately Bush's decision, after all. I can see why he wanted to send that message to Bush and to the whole world that was watching. And I can see why he got thrown out and arrested for it, though there's no justification for beating the hell out of him for it. (But it's also pretty easy for me to imagine why the Iraqi security people, having just been humiliated in front of the whole world and having just had their boss and his high-profile guest insulted, beat the guy up. My sense is that it's not so hard to get beaten up by the cops in many places in the US for much less provocation, especially if you're a youngish black guy. That's bad, and should be stopped, but it makes the whole situation easier to understand, IMO.)

#163 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 10:26 AM:

ajay #160:

I WANT A PRESIDNTE WHO WILL LOOK TEH PRESIDENT OF MIXECO IN THE EYES SPEAK CLEAR ENGLESH AND NEGOTIATE CABRON REDUCTIONS

Cabron reductions? I'm all for that. Meno cabrones, Vicente!

Eso sería "Menos cabrones, Felipe."

#164 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 10:38 AM:

163: It's late here, I'm tired, it's Friday afternoon, I don't speak Spanish... my dog ate it! I was ill! My house caught fire! An earthquake!

#165 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 11:06 AM:

ajay #164: Nothing to do with speaking Spanish. More to do with the fact that the president of Mexico is no longer Vicente Fox.

#166 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 11:19 AM:

165: the not speaking Spanish excuse was to cover writing "meno" instead of "menos"; I had been hoping that the Fox/Calderon slip was covered by the rest of the barrage of excuses.

#167 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 11:20 AM:

Lee @ 158: Thank you. That's one fewer thing nagging at me.

#168 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 11:20 AM:

ajay:

That typo/pun was lovely.

#169 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 01:34 PM:

JC@157: I am curious about your sentence calculation but I don't want to deviate from the thread.

Google is your friend.

#170 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 05:15 PM:

I think the question of office/man is hard. There is some of that, but it also depends on context. From the comments (this is your goodbye kiss) it seems plain to me the subject of Zaidi's ire wasn't the US, but rather Bush.

Had he shouted, "Death to America" then one might say it was the office/nation. At which point, honestly, I'd say the offense was less. Nations are odd things, and the collective actions of them are never going to be without error. The collected history of such errors will color how people in the present respond to them.


"The Nation" is less sacred than the people in it.

#171 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 07:32 PM:

One thing that occurs to me (though I can't tell from the video) is that Zaidi may well have been wearing traditional Arabic/Islamic shoes rather than the Western style - and the Arabic ones are much lighter and softer. Not really the sort of thing you could break teeth with, or take someone's eye out.

Are there any sources saying which kind he used?

#172 ::: Ame ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 08:31 PM:

JC @ 147

It might not have been as funny if the shoes had hit, but I guarantee you there would still be plenty of people on Zaidi's side. What's been done to Iraqis in Bush's name and on Bush's orders is far worse than a shoe to the face.

But the fact remains that they didn't hit, and so it can be funny as well as justified.

#173 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 08:55 PM:

Sam Kelly @ 171: I did some checking around, and the only thing I could come up with was a description of the shoes as dark brown, with laces, and a claim by Zaidi's brother that they were made in Baghdad. Since I've no idea what Arabic-style men's shoes look like, I couldn't go further than that--and the shoes themselves have evidently been destroyed (by security guards checking for explosives).

#174 ::: mankok ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 11:04 PM:

Say what you like but the fact is:
The SHOE-off is a timely EXIT-Reminder,that USA was never welcome and should just stick to their own butt.
It's the last nail in the coffin for BUSH.The US "patriots" may not want to admit it but it also means GET OUT, DONT COME BACK and GOOD RIDDANCE.
Well said ZAIDI.

#175 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 02:03 AM:

I read the previous comment and went on to the next post, wondering why it upset me. I actually agree -- we should never have been in Iraq and should be out soon -- so why was I put off? I think it's the language, the caps, the bad punctuation. That's a sad reason to be upset about a comment. I'll have to work on that.

#176 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 02:25 AM:

Y'know, if this had been posted here, it would have been in the form of a pun-off with at least 4 different people participating.

#177 ::: Gwen ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 02:32 AM:

FWIW, 174 reads like a driveby comment to me, not just because of the things you mentioned (although they contribute) but also because of the "Say what you like" opening. Good way to start a generic "Zaidi shoe-throwing" comment without reading the preceding comment thread or post and so seem on-topic (Look, I'm not a spambot! I'm on-topic!) without actually joining the conversation, or, you know, not being a spambot.

I don't know about anybody else, but I've been conditioned to react to comments with WORDS in ALL CAPS, bad punctuation.Short sentences, that arent necessarily sentences-mispelling, and USE of "scare quotes" with "upset" no matter the content because of far too many run-ins with comments of the "athiests/darwinists/evilotuionists/feminazis are going to burn in HELL!!!1!" variety. Or, alternately, the type of comments that make you want to comment "get off our side, idiot, you're making us look bad."

Lee: I don't know, this comment thread seems pretty Making-Light-ish. (Although no one seems to have taken the slight to poetry as a challenge yet.)

#178 ::: EdKed ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 10:47 PM:

So JC, as a fellow Canuck, did you vote for Harper in the hopes that he legislates more beatings for minor offences?

#179 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2008, 11:58 PM:

Gwen, #177, I was at bookgroup today where everybody but me believes in a god. We go out to eat afterwards, so when we were done and the others were wishing each other Merry Christmas, our joker wished me "Happy Saturnalia." It was a joke, and I managed not to explain that it wasn't exactly correct, but it was hard. Then one of the other guys brought up Festivus!

#180 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 12:12 AM:

Anticorium @154: In Canada, I can say with confidence, this guy would spend nine days in jail and pay a fifty-dollar fine.

On the other hand, there is the case of Jaggi Singh, who has been charged with such crimes as announcing the availability of medical help as riot police charged a crowd, constructing a teddy-bear catapult, and demonstrating in violation of bail conditions from previous arrests. He was held for 17 days on the teddy-bear charge, though later cleared of it, and at some point fined a thousand dollars for interrupting a Stephen Harper press conference to protest Canada's involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

So a pie in the face -- nine days and fifty dollars, at least when thrown by someone named Evan Brown. Teddy bears alleged to be catapulted by someone named Jaggi Singh, press conferences interrupted by someone named Jaggi Singh -- heavier penalties, even in Canada. Shoes thrown by someone named Muntadar Zaidi -- who knows?

#181 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 09:50 AM:

Sam Kelly@171, Mary Frances@173

Josh Marshall at talkingpointsmemo.com linked yesterday (12/20 at 5:03 pm) to an article on bloomberg.com about the shoe in the incident.

According to the bloomberg.com article the shoe is described as brown and thick-soled and is produced by Istanbul-based Baydan Ayakkabicilik San. & Tic.

There has apparently been a massive influx of orders for the specific type of shoe ("Model 271") involved in the incident. According to the article, Baydan reports that over 300,000 orders have been received since the incident, more than four times the usual annual sales of the shoe.

#182 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 09:57 AM:

Michael @ 181: I wonder how many of those will be sold as "certified authentic" the actual shoes that were thrown?

#183 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 10:34 AM:

The thought of appropriate punishment for naughtiness directed at a head of state led me to check what happened to the man who in 1982 penetrated into Queen Elizabeth's very bedchamber.

Not a lot, apparently. "Michael Fagan was not charged for trespassing in the Queen's bedroom since it was then a civil offence and proceedings would have compromised the Queen's position as head of state."

#184 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 07:16 PM:

Yarrow: the difference hearkens back to the original post.

Brown threw a pie in an effort to play the Holy Fool. (He seems to have since disappeared from the zeitgeist without a trace, 'cause I can't find any word of him since then.) But Singh -- who I think was unfairly treated in Quebec City, to say the least -- was in the middle of serious business. He wasn't fooling around, he wasn't making a joke, he had a track record of organized activism, and all this happened in the middle of a well-organized protest against locking down Quebec City for a free trade conference. The way he was treated is unfair, but not unrecognizably alien.

And, to be honest, I think that his skin color and any hint of "foreignness" have nothing to do with how he was treated. He was an activist who fought a bit too hard and got unfairly hammered. Singh is closer to someone like Marc Emery, who despite his pasty appearance and thoroughgoing Anglo heritage is about to be shipped out to a foreign country's prison.

#185 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2008, 07:42 PM:

News of the Weird future headline: "Pieces of the True Sole Edge Out Keys to Heaven in Popularity".

#186 ::: EdKed ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 06:24 PM:

Anticorium
I was under the impression (last I read) that Marc Emery's extradition had hit further snags, and was further away than at any point since his arrest; furthermore a recent ruling (that would make his sentence in the states look ludicrously long compared to what a Canadian court would hand down) supposedly has given his legal team new ammo with which to fight being turned over.

#187 ::: Emily Malone ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2009, 02:14 AM:

I last heard that it was being determined whether Zaidi should be charged or assaulting or INSULTING Bush.

It's nice to know that Bush's plan for democracy in Iraq is working out so well.

#188 ::: Paul A. sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2012, 05:37 AM:

#188 - generic text, suspicious link, added long after thread wound down. Also, the view-all-by shows only one other post, which has similar problems (and isn't visible in the actual thread, which if memory serves means it's also aroused suspicion).

#189 ::: Cadbury Moose sights spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 07:55 AM:

This moose advocates "stanchion bases" having his moustache pulled out using hydraulic jacks as a penalty for (a) linkspamming and (b) giving me a nasty "Habitation One" flashback.

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

Post a comment.
(Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

HTML Tags:
<strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
<em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
<a href="http://www.url.com">Linked text</a> = Linked text

Spelling reference:
Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.















(You must preview before posting.)

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.