Did you see the video in December of the guy throwing his shoes at President Bush in Iraq? Amazingly, the Prez deftly dodged both shoes (if he hadn’t ducked they’d have hit him in the head). But, now shoes are flying everywhere! Last Monday a protester threw a shoe at Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during a speech at Cambridge University in England. Also, this week, Israel's ambassador to Sweden, Benny Dagan, became the latest target of shoe-throwing protesters at Stockholm University (they also threw books and other objects).
When I was a fifteen, Nikita Khrushchev (Communist Party Chairman of the Soviet Union) took off his shoe and pounded the lecturn at a UN meeting. In an odd way, it was funny and scary at the same time. I concluded that the guy was a mad man because no sane person would conduct himself in that fashion.
What does the current shoe-business mean today? If you are an Arab, throwing a shoe at someone is the ultimate insult. I was not overly surprised that a barbaric people who think suicide bombers are heroes would go so low as to throw shoes at the US President. But, I do expect more intelligent and articulate behavior from our Western University students. Why would they stoop to such demeaning, anti-intellectual, mindless mob behavior?
I suspect that the motive of the students was that throwing shoes would get international media attention (which it did). A protest of mere words would not be noticed. This latest shoe-business is really just show-business. The YouTube Generation values their video clip on the internet above self-respect and civility.
Civility is necessary to civilization. Without it, barbarism will run rampant to the detriment of us all.