It used to be mightier than the sword.
We should mark December 14 of last year as the start of the slow demise of an old adage that inspired writers, poets, and journalists for centuries together to wage war, but with their words. Thanks to Muntadhar al-Zaidi, journalists around the world are now discovering a new medium of expression at press conferences. After the Iraqi journalist, Martin Jahnke and Jarnail Singh each took up the initiative to target a high profile politician for a cause they were deeply concerned about.
It turns out now that it is the shoe that is mightier than the pen. This, in my opinion, is an important paradigm shift for world journalism. Judging by the images relayed on television comparing both the events, there clearly is a decrease in the intensity at which Singh threw his shoe, in fact, it was more of a toss. Singh’s fling was lesser of a throw than an under-arm bowling action. This is probably indicative of the fact that shoe-flinging now is a metaphor of ‘protest’, as the Sikh journalist put it. Effectively this means that a shoe suspended in mid-air, belonging to the interviewer, and travelling in the direction of the interviewee, signals the fact that the interviewee is being strongly disagreed with.
What if this new form of expression were to leave the confines of the press conference and seep into other walks of life?
Out here in Tamil Nadu, the term ‘Seruppaal Adippen’ will develop a whole new meaning altogether.
Shoe-pen-knife could be the new rock-paper-scissors.
We could be looking at a situation where footwear could be banned at all public fora. Corporate culture would require all employees to leave their footwear outside meeting rooms, or much worse, discourage them from wearing any at all. Traffic signals/roundabouts/junctions may see the occasional shoe-fight, and the traffic police would require to be trained especially to dodge the occasional Identified Flying Object.
Fashion designers would be delighted to release their next barefoot-themed line-ups, including shoe-less corporate and party wear. Of course, all is not lost for the shoemakers themselves, who would definitely cash in on the opportunity to make newer ‘aerodynamically’ designed shoes with specially designed grooves to allow for easier grasping, thus allowing a shoe to travel quicker through the air for a stronger impact. If nothing at all, at least certain brands will experience a sudden rise in sales.
Wikipedia, as always, has made a head start on the turn of events with an article on shoeing. With shoe-flinging becoming such a common event within the space of 4 months, could it be only a matter of time before mud slinging becomes more than just a metaphor?