President Bush showed off his reflexes during a press conference wherein an Iraqi journalist showed his displeasure for Bush by hurling two shoes (presumably his own) at the President.
The first shoe had an accurate trajectory and the President narrowly avoided being hit. The second shoe was thrown slightly outside the strike zone, at which point the pitcher was out of shoes and the President was therefore able to escape the ordeal unharmed and unsullied.
Video of the incident is here:
The journalist in question, Muntadar al-Zaidi, called the President a “dog” before dramatically ridding himself of his footwear. Though his exact reasons for the attack are unknown, it’s speculated that al-Zaidi is upset due to having been kidnapped and beaten by a militia.
While some may find the choice of shoes to be a curious weapon, in Arab culture projectile shoes are considered a serious insult. It would seem that the attack was in fact a symbolic gesture rather than one intended to inflict actual damage – Iraqis also threw shoes at Saddam Hussein’s statue after his overthrow.
Iraqi officials called the incident “shameful” and detained al-Zaidi for questioning. This prompted thousands of Iraqi citizens to assemble in Baghdad to demand the release of the shoeless journalist they call a “hero.” The fate of al-Zaidi is as of yet unknown; however, Iraqi officials have noted that he is being interrogated to determine whether someone paid him to throw his shoes. (Note to footwear companies: product placement of this nature is probably A Bad Idea.)
The President himself laughed off the incident, noting that the scintillating facts of the matter are that the shoes in question are a size 10. No word on whether the President will adopt the Japanese shoe tradition for future press conferences overseas.
And so we hand out 2 Fantasy T-Wearers today: President Bush gets the “Don’t Shoe Me, Bro!” t-shirt (or sweatshirt, as he wishes), and Muntadar al-Zaidi gets the commemorative “I threw my shoe at George W. Bush” t-shirt, at right.