The shoes make the pants.

I believe that the right pair of shoes can change everything.  If you don't believe me, you clearly were not paying attention during the once-a-year Wizard of Oz television-viewing-extravaganza that was a mainstay of the American childhood pop culture experience.  Too bad for you, because this story has a really good moral.  Maybe you thought "...Oz" was about how only bad people are ugly. (And I quote, "I'm a good witch.  Only bad witches are ugly").  Maybe you thought it was a documentary about the exploitation of flying monkeys (poor monkeys, they're probably a lot less scary in their natural habitat). Maybe you thought it was about scaring little kids into taking better care of their mangy little pets, or else get taken hostage by a green skinned shut-in with an hour glass of death and an acute case of aquaphobia.  (No bubble baths for her, I guess.  I wonder if she can brush her teeth.)

Maybe you thought those things.  You'd be wrong.  The Wizard of Oz is actually a story about how, because she had the right pair of shoes, Dorothy was able to annoy powerful people, get to where she wanted to go, became a hero to millions of oppressed people (namely low-wage laborers in the Lollipop Guild and Lullaby League) and look really pretty while doing it.  If you still don't believe me that it's all about the shoes, perhaps it would interest you to know that Dorothy's shoes in the book The Wizard of Oz were silver, but silver isn't exactly a cha-cha color on screen and so...  the Ruby Slippers were born - and the theme of a political satire was lost.  Shoes trump politics every time.

Of course, the magic shoe voodoo all depends upon Dorothy keeping the shoes on her feet.  Apparently no one bothered to tell that to Muntadhar al-Zaidi.  In December 2008 Muntadhar al-Zaidi took off his shoes and threw both of them at then President Bush at a press conference in Iraq as a response to the "occupation" of his country.  Fortunately for President Bush, he is a lot quicker than he looks and does a mean "bob and weave".  Unfortunately for Mr. al-Zaidi, although he achieved the "annoying powerful people" and the "becoming a hero to millions" parts of the Oz lesson, the "getting to go where you want to go" lesson... not so much.  Unless, of course, he wanted to go to an Iraqi prison... for three years... for assaulting a Head of State.

I must admit that, although I don't subscribe to shoe-throwing myself (even though it would make an amusing carnival dunk-tanky kind of game), and I'm deeply conflicted about the war in Iraq with all its accompanying baggage, I think this guy has guts...and a little bit of crazy - which I respect.  Although less guts and less crazy than the guy I read about on the Google that threw a shoe at the Iranian president this month.  Or the guy that threw one at him in December of 2006.  Never heard of them?  Shocker.  I'm betting that they didn't get any 3 years in prison either.  

I think that the fact that we all know this man, and know where he is now proves some things.  Even in places where it wasn't before, it's now OK to disagree with, be angry at, and show your disapproval of your government without blowing yourself up in a public market killing babies, children and old people.  You can still be heard and even be a little famous without destroying yourself and your home.  I'll take a couple of oxfords over an IED any day of the week - and I'm betting President Bush would  too.  This is hope, people.  Hope that catches on like a red, sparkly pair of high heels in a black and white movie... and there's no ignoring red, sparkly high heels.  Pretty soon everyone will want a pair. I know. I own some (patent leather, not bedazzled).

Which brings me to my second point.  The right shoe (and sometimes the left shoe, too) can change everything.  Like when you put them on and send yourself  home, or like when you take them off and hope to send someone else to theirs.  Yep, shoes trump politics every time - even the Wicked Witch of the West knew that.

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Valerie said...

Oh, you're speaking my language. Go here:


and you'll see what I'm talking about. My red patent leather shoes give me superpowers!

pixie cut said...

Testify sister, testify.

Alyson Broberg said...

You are such an amazing writer. I think my next pair of shoes will be red and high-heeled, inspired by your rant, and I will see WHAT I CAN DO.

Rachael said...

You are so funny! I'm glad you found the diaper link on my blog. Bumgenius are my favorite but there are lots of different ones to choose from. You can even look on craigslist for some. They hold up really well through a few kids.

Alyson Broberg said...

I must add here--I've never read any of Salman Rushdie's more controversial writings, but he wrote an excellent essay/review of the movie of The Wizard of Oz for the New Yorker magazine years ago. Among other things, he asserted that the real message of the movie had nothing to do with "There's no place like home," or any of the other morals inserted throughout, but more to do with the kind of independence you associate with the shoes. It's worth looking up!

Toni said...

I don't wholeheartedly agree, but I do see a great piece of creative writing here. And you expressed your point of view quite nicely. Kudos and TFS.