A cultural dilemma

December 15th, 2008 § 3 comments

The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب:

To throw the shoe, or not to throw the shoe: a cultural dilemma. Don’t you love it when Western reporters explain to their readers differences between their culture and Arab culture? I don’t know about you, but I really love it. Here is from the New York Times: “During the argument, heated words were exchanged and shoes were thrown, a severe insult in the Arab world.” So throwing a shoe at somebody is a “severe insult in the Arab world” but not anywhere else? How exotic. Tell me more, o culture experts of the New York Times. So today, I wanted to test this theory. So I got out of my house with a bag of shoes: I started throwing them, shoe by shoe, at my neighbor, aiming at the face. My neighbor laughed, and could only say nice things to me as a good neighbor. He then explained: you see, o Arab neighbor, in our American culture, throwing a shoe at somebody is not an insult at all. In fact, it is taken as a sign of affection. I returned back to my house, having learned about American culture, what I knew not before. Thanks to you, New York Times (and your intelligent and culturally informed reporters).

§ 3 Responses to A cultural dilemma"

  • Glad you pickd up on this, I can’t stand the twat who threw the shoes but I also can’t stand the endless banging on about how this is a real insulting thing to do in the Arab world, my reading of this obsession was not so much ignorance but making the gesture seem something other than pathetic and futile.

    Which is most certainly was.

  • Sim-O says:

    I don’t know the journalist in question.
    Firstly, the act itself, although futile and yes pathetic, strikes me as an act of frustration borne out of impotence.
    It might not do much good, but sometimes you just gotta give the other guy a bloody nose.

    Secondly, you’re right about it being blown up out of all propertion. The throwing of a show is an insult in Arab lands, just as throwing anything at anyone is an insult.

    Some people throw shoes, others throw eggs.

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