Sunday, December 23, 2012

Day of the Shoe, Year of the Clown

This month is the fourth anniversary of “The Shoe and the Clown” incident.  

Back in December of 2008, President George Bush was at the Green Zone in Baghdad for reasons God only knows.  I suppose it had something to do with showing the world how safe he felt there and what a bastion of democracy Iraq had become since he and his Neocon thugs, Rumsfeld and Cheney, had destroyed the country and killed half its population.  Certainly, tho Bush’s boss in Israel understood, the average flag-waving bumpkin in America didn’t have a clue why this fool was there.  

Standing at the podium with Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki, Bush--acting a bit drunker than normal--made ready to field questions from the world's press, when . . . surprise! The Smirker-in-Chief had the smirk wiped off his mug when he soon found himself actively engaged in a new sport invented right there on the spot called "Dodge Shoes."

"This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog," shouted an outraged Arab journalist, Muntadar al-Zaidi, as he hurled the shoes--first one, then another--narrowly missing the president's noggin.

The would-be shoe assassin was quickly "wrestled to the ground" (as they used to say back in the days of Gerry Ford and Ron Reagan), but really!  Facing beatings, torture and death--and yet this young reporter still had to make that largely symbolic gesture.

According to witnesses, al-Zaidi was "severely beaten" by security officers after he had been dragged from the room.   As the man's screaming could be heard outside, Bush, ever quick with a quip, snickered in his own inimitable way, "That's what people do in a free society.  That's what they do to draw attention to themselves."  A "large blood trail" could be seen on the carpet in that "free society" where al-Zaidi had been dragged by security agents. 

A wise man (perhaps on drugs) once said that the history of the world could be told in a grain of sand. If so, then several large books could be written about this little shoe incident in the seemingly safe and secure Green Zone. I won't go into all the obvious--and all the not-so-obvious--elements of this affair (I am not being paid enough to do that), but will note a couple of thoughts:

1) Not sure if I am as startled by shoes flying at Bush's head as I am at how quickly that head dodged those shoes. Either Bush had advance warning that an attempt would be made upon his head by the thrown shoes, or that is surely one quick head. Not once, but twice, that empty coconut avoided the leather missiles as if this was its standard operating procedure ten times a day.

2) Equally surprising was al-Maliki. I guess it comes with the territory. Al-Maliki stands there during the barrage as if little or nothing has happened. "What, me duck from flying shoes when RPGs, rockets and bullets have been filling the air here for five years," he seems to be saying. "Ya gotta be kiddin'!"

The entire event seemed to sum up the Bush years nicely--his incompetence, his ignorance, his grandstanding, his smirking, but mostly his shameless groveling to appease Israel by starting one unnecessary war after another which had absolutely nothing to do with American interests anywhere; this slavish tap dance is what has dis-endeared Bush to millions of us in the US and this is also what has dis-endeared billions around the world to the US.  For those of you who hate Obama, don’t blame him; an Obama abomination was made possible by eight years (seemed like eighty) of the dunce preceding him.  After the Bush disaster, to many Americans Obama seemed like the Lone Ranger riding to the rescue.  The reality, of course, was quite the opposite.

Meanwhile, after his American torturers had finished with him, the shoe assassin was handed over to the Iraqis where he was sentenced to three years in prison for “assaulting a foreign head of state.”  Pretty damn quick, after realizing what a hero he was, not only in the Arab world, but around the world, the sentence was reduced to one year.   Eventually, al-Zaidi was sprung  after serving only nine months of the sentence. 

By the way, the deadly missiles used in the attack--the shoes--were destroyed by US “security” personnel (CIA) to prevent them from becoming holy relics and the centerpiece of a planned museum.  A huge bronze statue of a shoe erected in Tikrit, Iraq was likewise soon made to disappear. Indeed, there was talk in CIA circles of rounding up all the shoes in the world to prevent another such attempt on an American president’s head.  It was felt that only when all the shoes were confiscated and everyone was barefoot would the heads of Neocon war-mongers everywhere be safe.

Names in the News--Michelle showed me a newspaper item in yesterday’s business section.  The piece was an earth-shaking article (insert tongue in cheek) on Pepsi quietly changing its sweetening formula.  Spokeswoman for PepsiCo, Andrea Canabal, said that the new sweetener would be. . . . Huh?  Whoa!  Andrea what?  Canabal?  You gotta be kidding?  Nope.  Canabal.  Hmmm.  Damn.  Well.

Now, generally, we come by our names honestly.  Many of our names come from way back down the ancestral chain because of something our links did to make a living, e.g., some of our predecessors—apparently most, judging by modern phone books--either toiled and slaved with iron and metal and were dubbed Smiths, as in Leeathor the Smithy, or they sweated and slaved as bakers, as in Bunkrok the Baker.  Descendants of Leeathor today, of course, are known simply as Lee or Leanora Smith and those of Bunkrok are called Bill or Barb Baker.  Same with Raknon the Reed Weaver.  Today Raknon’s great x100 grandson is now known simply as Rudy Weaver, unemployed middle school art instructor.  There was Drudgemold the Laborer who today is Dick Workman, now retired after 30 years of digging ditches.  Some of us came by our modern names because someone down the line had a certain physical or personal characteristic, as per Young Lorrick the Fair became Larry Fairchild, the gay hair-dresser and poodle fancier.  Gibert the Stutterer became Bob Bedwetter, politically-correct liberal and social sissy man.  Argluk the Dark Hunchback became Andrew Brownback, doing a stretch in the state pen for stalking a sexy TV news reader.  Other names arise from an ancestor’s ethical predilection, as per Skulklor the Thief who became today merely Tyler Outlaw, petty criminal and church burglar.  Like wise, the lofty standards and brilliant success of Toggron the Noble and Wealthy was passed down and today we have Tom Goodrich.  And so on.

So, now, along comes Andrea Canabal.  Murder! Seems like some one along that troubled blood line stretching back to the days of caves and savagery would have ditched that tag.  But I suppose that, just like those folks named Pigg, Grubbs, Raper, and Flashfat, that if Andrea had her druthers she’d stick with the name, proud to the bone that she comes from a long line of cannibals.  Whatever, my advice to everyone during the next medieval famine that sweeps across North America is first check out the name on the address box before you go begging for crumbs door-to-door and make sure it is not the door of Jim Maneater, Bart Humanchewer or Andrea Canabal, else you might end being the very food you seek.  Remember: The fruit never falls far from the tree.


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