Monday, December 15, 2008

shoes have magical powers

If you've grown up in the West and/or are familiar with Hollywood movies, you will read Dorothy's ruby red slippers as absolutely magical. What this pair of shoes can do!

even Miss Piggy agrees that "shoes have magical powers."

Shoes are read in many different ways, depending on historical and cultural context. They are gendered and classed and imply all sorts of meanings. Dorothy's glittery shoes magically take her places in The Wizard of Oz. This empowering potential of red shoes has been used as a creative metaphor for women, including the RedShoes on Court writing group I belong to.

The Red Shoes with Norma Shearer, is one of the best films of all time, and worth a watch.

And who can forget the message of Karen in The Red Shoes?

Shoes can be disempowering. Like with Karen, shoes can hobble you and prevent you from running or even walking. Shoes can deform your feet. Shoes pick up dirt. When something is trod upon, underfoot, it is crushed. To step on someone is not a meaningless metaphor.

The bottoms of shoes, like the bottoms of purses, are the most vile filthy surfaces, even dotted with fecal bacteria and other unpleasantries. Thus whacking someone with your shoe symbolizes the lowest of the low contempt you hold for that person, which shows you see them as less than human, as does throwing your shoes in disgust --- at the most idiotic president of the US and everything his corrupt regime represents and has done.

My husband and I laughed so hard and cheered on Iraqi journalist, Muntather Al-Zaidi, who recently threw his shoes in disgust at Bush when he visited Baghdad and began his blather:

"...[His] appearance at a news conference here was interrupted by an Iraqi journalist who shouted in Arabic — “This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog” — and threw one of his shoes at the president, who ducked and narrowly avoided being struck.

As chaos ensued, he threw his other shoe, shouting, “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.” The second shoe also narrowly missed Mr. Bush as Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki stuck out a hand in front of the president’s face to help shield him."

Arabwoman, as well as many others, places what Muntatha Al-Zaidi has done as an act of resistance, long overdue. In this one non-high tech act of throwing his shoes at Bush in public, Al-Zaidi cuts across the pretensions of office and exposes the lies and the dirt of the Americans.

Seriously, a high class act. With a used pair of shoes! Such a loss of face for the US in the entire Middle East and Arab world.

What the out-going Bush and his wicked cronies need is to be buried under a pile of stinking shoes:

"NOTE: Speaking of shoes and the White House, Skip Mendler of Honesdale, PA has a great idea. He suggests that everyone who is disgusted with the outgoing Bush/Cheney administration send a shoe to the White House. Just imagine a pile up of a million smelly old running shoes in the White House mailroom! I think he's got something. Spread the word!"

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