Thursday, 5 February 2009

Shoe protests: a spotter's guide

In recent months we've all seen a new weapon in the armoury of your common-or-garden political activist. The shoe protest. It's been a perennial favourite among the shouty classes in certain countries for some time, but a couple of recent events have helped to push footwear fulmination into the stratosphere.

First there was the Iraqi journalist slinging his slip-ons at previous US President George W 'The Decider' Bush. And most recently we've had some home-grown high jinks, with the Chinese prime minister being on the receiving end of a rather poorly-aimed training shoe while giving a speech at Cambridge University.

I suppose it was too much to expect an Oxford brogue.

Having said that, such a choice in payload would have said more about the sender than the recipient. A hand-tooled shoe with heavyweight welted sole denotes the more thoughtful type of protester. The type whose main gripe might be the scheduling on Radio 4 or the willingness, or otherwise, of the local deli to stock free-range couscous.

And so, as a service to political leaders behind lecterns worldwide, and following the tradition for which this blog is known, I offer below a guide to translating the message behind the shoe.

The Croc - quite frankly, whatever the thrower is protesting about, you can happily disregard them. They clearly let slip the bonds of sanity some time ago.

The deck shoe - hmm. Have you threatened to close down a marina recently?

The Nike High-Top - are you John Lithgow and have you recently banned dancing in your local town? In which case, look out for Kevin Bacon in the audience.

The Manolo Blahnik slingback - actually, this might not be a protest at all, more of a request to join the thrower in the bar afterwards for a Cosmopolitan.

The Doctor Marten boot - you've pissed off a Goth. He'll probably be too dissolute to do too much else. But be careful in case there's a patchouli oil follow-on.

The sandal - a tricky one, this. It depends very much on where you are. If you're standing at a lectern in a temperate climate, then this is a bit of a classic, if stereotypical, case. Expect something involving furry creatures or CO2. However, if you're in a warmer country, somewhere sandy, perhaps, then quite frankly you're on your own, sunshine.

Any shoes in a pair - this isn't a protest. You have taken a job in a bowling alley.


City Girl said...

Given the opportunity, I'd have whipped a football cleat at Bush.

I don't think I could bring myself to gently toss a house slipper at Obama. :o)

Such a nice change!

David Edgar said...

If you get Wellies, then does it mean the local farmer has spotted your Collie showing off in the field worrying the sheep.

Country Girl said...

Okay, I have to go look this up. TELL ME Kevin Bacon was wearing Chucks.

fatboyfat said...

Country Girl: you're right. OK, make it Michael J Fox and include some reference to hover-boards instead.


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