Things you can do with a shoe on a rainy day

Written by Admin. Posted in Politics

Published on May 12, 2009 with No Comments

Mickey Glantz

shoe_bush21) You can show displeasure with political leaders or with anyone else. For example, just about everyone in the world watched an Iraqi news reporter throw his shoes at President Bush during a Baghdad press conference. Videos of the incident are all over the Internet, eg, U-tube.

Shoe used as a political projectile, an act of protest in some cultures  ^

President Bush managed to dodge two shoes. The press conference continued, as the shoeless shoe-tosser was dragged out of the room and to a jail cell.

Another form of protest using a shoe was the striking of the statue of Saddam Hussein with a shoe. This took place following Saddam’s defeat by the “coalition of the willing”.

Yet another use of the shoe-as-protest occurred in the United Nations General Assembly in October 1960 when Soviet Union’ leader, Nikita Khrushchev, took off his shoe and banged it on the table top in protest of comments made about Soviet imperialism in Eastern Europe.

shoes_politicSo, one thing you can do with your shoes is to show displeasure with leaders or policies you do not agree with.

2) I attended an undergraduate university commencement exercise this month (May, 2009), the first one since June 1961 which was when I got my BS degree at the University of Pennsylvania. Honestly, I only recall a few mental memory clips or episodes from that graduation but I do remember it as a positive event in my life.

At this graduation, it was great to look out at members of the graduating class dressed in their regalia, watching beaming faces as they receive their diplomas.

I had the honor to give a short keynote talk to the 250 or so grads and another 750 or so families and friends. I was not sure what they would want to hear, as they entered that morning the last few minutes of their undergraduate education. I chose not to talk of my lifelong accomplishments, or about topics related to my research. Instead, I decided to talk about some things I had learned during the 48 years from my graduation to near-retirement. My talk was titled “ 9 things I know now that I wish I knew when I was graduating”. The reason for this theme was to give the graduates some tips about their future jobs — not words of wisdom but words of ordinary knowledge.

During the reception that followed the graduation ceremony, one of the graduating seniors told me that she had wanted to take notes from my talk but did not have any paper to write on. So, she decided to take notes on the bottom of her shoe. I was surprised and amazed that she took the effort to do so. I was so amazed in fact that I gave her the paper copy of my talk. The writings on her shoe made me think of another use of a shoe.

shoes_gradshoe3) A third thing you can do with a shoe on a rainy day was inspired by the graduating student’s innovative use of her shoe. You can write a political message of displeasure about a policy on the sole of the shoe of your choice and toss it to a politician.

Most likely, the person tossing the shoe to the politician would be arrested, as happened in Iraq (Note: the Iraqi who tossed his shoes at Bush got a 2-year prison sentence; many have protested this sentence. Some even claimed that the reporter was a good person with bad aim at his target — a ‘bad’ president). Actually, there have been other incidents involving tossed shoes and politicians, as noted in the following news account:

“New Delhi: Following today’s shoe tossing incident, which seems inspired by the infamous incident involving Bush when he was in Iraq, the journalist was detained.” A large crowd gathered at the Tughlak road police station on Tuesday after hearing news that a Sikh journalist from a Hindi daily, Jarnail Singh, had been taken to the police station after he had been detained.”

I would assume that the shoe tosser would expect repercussions from his or her action. So, one can assume that he or she had weighed the benefits against the costs of the toss. Nevertheless, once the commotion died down following the actual shoe toss, it is very possible that the person to whom the shoe was tossed would sit down in the office and read the shoe’s message. That way he would find out why the shoe had been tossed in the first place. The message on the sole of the shoe would eventually be leaked to the news media worldwide.

This seems like a win-win situation for all involved. The tosser of the shoe gets jail time and the tossee gets a bit humiliated. Though not very pleasant, this type of shoe-tossing could become a legitimate way to protest a politician or bad policy.

To my knowledge no shoe tosser to date has had the foresight to write messages to the person to whom he or she has tossed a shoe out of protest. But politicians are not to be outsmarted and soon they would make sure that glass barriers are in place to protect them from shoes.

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