Great moments in spin

Posted by Rob Walker on December 16, 2008
Posted Under: Politics

So here’s an interesting exercise in attempting to reposition the symbolism of an unexpected incident.

Bush is over in Iraq, and a guy gets up and hurls his shoes at the president’s face, as hard as he can. Then he does it again. Bad PR moment!

But no. Bush says, “That’s what people do in a free society, draw attention to themselves.”

Condoleeza Rice says the incident “is a kind of sign of the freedom that people feel in Iraq.”

Excuse me? Do we enjoy our democracy by hurling objects at each other’s heads here in the Land of the Free? I’m pretty sure that if you go out and throw a shoe, or any similar item, at someone’s face, you’re going to be arrested. As well you should be! Throwing a shoe at someone’s face, even in America (even in your own home, for that matter) is not a sign of freedom, and it is not “what people do” in any free society. It’s attempted assault.

As for what happens when people like the show-thrower “draw attention to themselves” and how much it’s a “sign of freedom,” I think it’s worth considering the NYT’s deadpan description of what was happening while Bush riffed on the positive symbolism of the moment: Once the shoe-thrower was tackled and taken away by security, the President spun the incident away — “as the man’s screaming could be heard outside.”

Points for trying, though. I didn’t think there would be a way to reposition a guy throwing shoes at the President’s face as a victory for the American idea. But I guess there is.

Also, points to GWB for agility: He looked quite spry as he ducked that first shoe in particular. Here’s BoingBoing’s roundup of amusing GIF reactions — which is how we really express our freedoms in the home of the brave these days.

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

Re: what Bush said about a “sign of freedom”: umm…if that’s true, then the Iraqis must have more freedom than we do. Here, people generally don’t get to be in the same room with Bush unless they’re prescreened and their questions are handpicked–precisely because someone might do something like this Iraqi reporter did!

Also, if in his mind, being free means doing reckless things and drawing attention to yourself, nevermind the consequences, maybe that explains a lot of Bush’s actions over the last 8 years.

Good call on the typically delusional Bush spin. And thanks for the hilarious Boing Boing link!

Written By rebecca on December 18th, 2008 @ 11:59 pm

Revisionist history strikes again.
What makes this guy (GWB) so agile, so deft so spry, so quick witted?
Its the shoes man. Its gotta be the shoes!

Written By Lawrence Cobb-El on December 21st, 2008 @ 3:05 pm

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