Monday, January 5, 2009

Inspiring Bravery vs. Just Mailing It In



Being one of those no-TV people, I'd managed to miss this footage until I went looking. Three things, for me, are striking. The first is Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi's amazing aim. The first throw was dead on, and the second, performed under extreme duress, was a little less forceful but largely on target as well. It looks to me that velocity was slightly sacrificed on the second throw for accuracy.

I've tried throwing a boot a similar distance, and it's not easy. That's the thing about terrorists. They have discipline. Even more impressive was the simultaneous verbal delivery, which the video censors.
"This is the farewell kiss, you dog!" as he threw the first shoe, and "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq" with the second.
Obsessive effort went into this. I'm visualizing Travis Bickle alone in his apartment, getting ready to kick some pimp butt.

The second is the President's remarkable reflexes. He's like one of those guys on the Matrix who sees bullets coming at him in slow-mo.

Finally, there's the fact that the man waited until Bush was looking at him. Just a moment before, while Bush was turned to the side, the shoe would have firmly connected with Presidential ear. But that would have been a sucker punch and comparatively cowardly.

This man didn't want ear. He was after nose.

The video footage clearly reveals this to be the action of a lone shoe-thrower. Had at least four shoes been thrown, possibly from varied trajectories, the outcome may have been different. We'll never really know.

This Saturday, at 1402 E. Pike from 11 am - 1 pm, you may join others in mailing your own shoes to President Bush as a parting gift. It's not as brave, nor nearly as satisfying, but you probably won't get both your hands broken and then face at least two years in prison, so, it's a trade-off.

This guy's my hero. Is it illegal to say that? I don't even know anymore.

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