September 26, 2011

President Obama and the rhetoric of shoes.

A couple days ago, speaking to the Congressional Black Caucus, President Obama said: "Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining. Stop grumbling. Stop crying. We are gonna press on. We've got work to do."



This shoe metaphor resonated for me. I know that that in 2007, candidate Obama told union workers that as President he would "put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself" and walk the picket line with them:



The reason I'm familiar with Obama's shoe rhetoric is that I saw references to it again and again during the Wisconsin protests. There were "Where's Obama?" signs with reference to shoes and even an effort to get people to mail shoes to Obama:



Let's think about the shoe as a political symbol. Where else have we seen that?

I ask that question out loud, and Meade says: Adlai Stevenson! Ah, yes. An iconic photograph:



And then I remember this one:



IN THE COMMENTS: Henry says, "Don't forget Nikita Krushchev." Still photo at the link. Here's video:



Molly recalls:
The word "sabotage" comes from a French protest of throwing shoes into a machine (mill?) so that it would break down.
The word comes from "sabot," which is a wooden shoe, but according to the Online Etymology Dictionary:
[T]he oft-repeated story that the modern meaning derives from strikers' supposed tactic of throwing old shoes into machinery is not supported by the etymology. Likely it was not meant as a literal image; the word was used in French in a variety of "bungling" senses, such as "to play a piece of music badly." 

77 comments:

rhhardin said...

"Shoes and slippers are female genitals" (1916-17, 15:158)

Freud

wv: cloot

Molly said...

The word "sabotage" comes from a French protest of throwing shoes into a machine (mill?) so that it would break down.

Expat(ish) said...

Great back story on the shoe/Bush thing.... I remember thinking at the time that it was amazing that the secret service didn't bury the guy, but apparently Bush waved them off.

Glad he was teh duuumest prezidant evar!

-XC

MadisonMan said...

Did someone say shoes?

Henry said...

Don't forget Nikita Krushchev

fivewheels said...

Nikita Khrushchev at the U.N. has to be #1.

edutcher said...

I have a feeling if GodZero knew anything about black people, he'd realize they haven't been in their slippers the last few years, but wearing out shoe leather trying to find jobs in his lousy economy.

Be interesting to know how that line "resonated" with black people.

WV "ginge" What Gilligan, the Skipper, and the Professor called Miss Louise after a stroll on the far side of the Island.

edutcher said...

PS Don't say, "shoes", to Imelda Marcos.

Fred4Pres said...

We need a song for this thread!

And good fashion sense ta boot!

Joanna said...

I'm more interested in Obama's Jew rhetoric.

AllenS said...

Joanna, he reversed himself and it became janitor rhetoric.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott M said...

"And I will bring all my shoes...so I will have them."

Ann Althouse said...

"Shoes and slippers are female genitals"

Then you should appreciate this.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Thanks, Sixty Grit. I don't feel so old now.

E.M. Davis said...

I hate to do this to you, but I can't help myself.

MadisonMan said...

I've always thought it would have been excellent if W had caught the second shoe, looked at it, said Not my size and tossed it aside.

James said...

The most insulting and offensive portion of the clip is the "shake it off" comment. Obama is imploring us to brush off or ignore the fact that his policies have badly hurt the black community and support his re-election bid.

I'm one of the roughly 5 percent who didn't vote for him and as his term progresses my decision looks even more prescient.

Georgfelis said...

I'm fairly sure that before Israel and the Pally's trade shoes, Israel will check for (and find) a lit fuse in the Innocent Pally shoes...

Hoosier Daddy said...

Dude is losing it.

sethink said...

Remined me of this photo of Obama's soles:
http://bagnewsnotes.typepad.com/bagnews/obama-shoes-400.jpg

EDH said...

Principal Poop: But don't worry! Don't worry! Your food, housing, insecurity, will be guaranteed by the Department of Redundancy Department and the Natural Guard...

And remember trust pressers will be persecuted. So please, stay where you are, don't move, and don't panic!

Don't take off your shoes.

Jobs is on the way.

Mick said...

It's PUTATIVE President, since he isnot eligible because he was born British of a British subject father. How does a "law prof" vote for a nan natural born ineligible candidate?

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Obama is imploring us to brush off or ignore the fact that his policies have badly hurt the black community and support his re-election bid..."

Well I would argue his policies are hurting the community known as the USA.

rick said...

The Whiner-In-Chief tells a whiner subset, the CBC, to quit whining. The Bamster will blame Bush until the he's drummed out of office.

Too funny.

James said...

BTW, the "shake it off" comment reminded me of Obama telling us to "Get that dirt off your shoulder.

For the uninformed "Dirt off you shoulder" is a Jay-z song.

Carol_Herman said...

Well, Adlai Stevenson PROVED that when you have a very intelligent man, running against a "legend" ... That Dwight D. Eisenhower carefully molded ... You'll see the intelligent man losing every time.

Back then, of course, the "reason" given is that Adlai Stevenson was divorced.

Molding an image is a very interesting affair. It's creating preceptions in others ... the way Brando and Olivier did this in acting parts.

The REAL YOU never shows up on the canvas!

As to what Obama just said to Black people ... (mostly the type who are now back to sitting on their couches ... in ways Oprah would recognize. But it's not good for getting the vote out.)

Obama asked for enthusiasm ... the way rabbis are now asking for donations to their temple. (Rosh Hashanah is coming. (One rabbi once said he wished his building was an accordion. Given how much more room he needs to seat everybody at this time of year.)

As the rabbi said, "now, or never." People who feel guilty give more.

Will the Black communities respond with more enthusiams? Nah.

But it's a great sentence.

And, Obama will be repeating it often enough. Where MLK Jr., made such a thing about his "dream." Obama is gonna rely on "take off your slippers. PUT ON YOUR NIKES. And, jump up for me ... so that my name's the winning name in the basket."

The GOP will be lucky if their nominee ends up with 47%. But the people who believe American politics is a religious experience ... expect too much from Jesus.

Henry said...

Bowling shoes

Fred4Pres said...

Happy Holidays!

dreams said...

Althouse, what about Krushchev's shoe-banging incident? Google it.

DADvocate said...

Nikita Khrushchev at the U.N. has to be #1.

I agree.

When I think of marching, I think of boots. Maybe that's Obama's problem. He doesn't know how to march.

EDH said...

Shoes for Industry, Compadre

Commercial Voice Over: Shoes for industry. Shoes for the dead. Shoes for industry

Joe Beets Hi, I'm Joe Beets! Hey, what chance does a returning deceased war veteran have for that good paying job, more sugar, and the free mule you've been dreaming of.

Well, think it over, then take off your shoes.

Now you can see how increased spending opportunities means harder work for everyone, and more of it too.

So do your part today, Joe. Join with millions of your neighbors and turn in your shoes.

Commercial Voice Over: For industry!

J said...

With the teabugs and TexPerry rallying--and yokels buying firearms at a record pace---BO's marching rhetoric's not that unpredictable. Rebel flags start flyin' ,and you get a response--dialectical-like

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I have a feeling if GodZero knew anything about black people, he'd realize they haven't been in their slippers the last few years, but wearing out shoe leather trying to find jobs in his lousy economy.

Actually, it is more like this:

Your tax dollars at work

Watch and weep for our country.

Calypso Facto said...

"Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes."

Maybe he had Milwaukee's streetcar proposal in mind, now that the Wisconsin Public Service Commission has said the city's portion of the construction cost is going up 700%.

James said...

Heh...

Congresswoman found speech to blacks 'curious'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Maxine Waters says she's not sure who President Barack Obama was talking to when he told black Americans to quit complaining and follow him into the battle for jobs and opportunity.

The California Democrat, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, says she found the president's language "a bit curious." She says Obama didn't address Hispanics in such a blunt manner and would never use that language in a speech to a gathering of gays or Jews."

AllenS said...

"Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes."

What a wierd thing to say.

Scott M said...

She says Obama didn't address Hispanics in such a blunt manner and would never use that language in a speech to a gathering of gays or Jews.

That was just his white grandmother talking.

edutcher said...

Carol_Herman said...

The GOP will be lucky if their nominee ends up with 47%. But the people who believe American politics is a religious experience ... expect too much from Jesus.

Hmmm...

Sounds an awful lot like America's Politico.

And, since we all think AP is really Titus, that can only mean one thing.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes."

And do ....what?

Is Obama calling for a race war?

Hmmmm?

DADvocate said...

BO's marching rhetoric's not that unpredictable. Rebel flags start flyin'...

Barack's flying Rebel flags? Wow!!

Or, is it the flag of Libyan rebels?

Calypso Facto said...

She says Obama didn't address Hispanics in such a blunt manner and would never use that language in a speech to a gathering of gays or Jews.

Good find, James.

Think it might be because more than 5% of Hispanics, gays, and Jews are a credible threat to vote for Republicans?

AllenS said...

I've often wondered if blacks will come to the realization that obama has absolutely nothing in common with them.

Scott M said...

I've often wondered if blacks will come to the realization that obama has absolutely nothing in common with them.

Quite a few that I work with already have, but don't like to talk about it with white co-workers. I'm not sure how they'll actually vote when alone in the booth, but they're not particularly happy about the way things are going any more than anyone else.

One thing that's conspicuous by it's absence, among the above-mentioned co-workers (truck drivers, dock workers, etc), is the "blaming whitey" line of argument.

J said...

DAD ,stupid f*ck---a bit beyond your reading skills. It's you, the anti-govt. teabugs, and yr hero Tex Perry flying the stars and bars. But the TPsters are even miserable as confederates--not RE Lees--rather, Jefferson Davises.

William said...

Black leaders never lose the black vote. They do, however, lose the black populace, or, at least those that can move out. See Detroit. If Obama wins another term, you will witness a vast migration of blacks to the Republic of Texas.....Bush never looked cooler than when he ducked that shoe.

SteveR said...

He's not acting like he's already the president. Of course the CBC are the paragon of the victim mentality, they have no angle but that so Obama is not challenged by giving a sophmoric and utterly unimaginative speech.

Pastafarian said...

AllenS: "I've often wondered if blacks will come to the realization that obama has absolutely nothing in common with them."

This is a great point.

Obama isn't the descendant of slaves. He's barely American, let alone African American. He's only half-black, and he was raised by whites, in Indonesia and Hawaii. He went to private schools in other countries, and was surrounded by radicals and hippies throughout his childhood and adolescence. He has zero in common with the vast majority of African Americans, other than having just a little more melanin in his skin than a Scotsman.

Herman Cain would be the first (real) African American president.

MarkG said...

He has zero in common with the vast majority of African Americans, other than having just a little more melanin in his skin than a Scotsman.

Yeah, but they still love him because he's black.

AllenS said...

Listening to his speech, I don't think that obama is comfortable around blacks.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Yeah, but they still love him because he's black

And that seems to be the trump card that gets played every time anyone gets close to the truth about the man.

Real American said...

Translation: get back on the Democrat plantation, or I'll crack the whip.

pduggie said...

the CBC is standing there, sipping a slurpee, and not helping us get out of the ditch

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... I've often wondered if blacks will come to the realization that obama has absolutely nothing in common with them..."

It should have been blindingly obvious when Biden made his clean articulate comment.

Look at the quote in its entirety and is not so much a slam on Obama but on the African American electorate as a whole.

DADvocate said...

J - can you believe it? Some people want to remove the statue of Jefferson Davis from the rotunda at the Kentucky Capital building!! Amazing!!

http://cyberhillbilly.blogspot.com/2009/08/time-for-jefferson-davis-to-go-from-kys.html

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J said...

GOP economic policies and the old trickle down: that be the plantation. But like reality never interferes with TP bloviating or Limbaugh-esque brainfarts.

They should take down Jeff. Davis monuments. No need to commemorate a bungler,liar ,thief.

Thomas said...

Robert Keegan told me that "sabotage" comes from the Belgian railwaymen's practice of unseating rails from their shoes (sabots) during the great strike of 1905. I have confidently offered that nugget up for nearly 20 years, so I hope it's right.

DADvocate said...

They should take down Jeff. Davis monuments. No need to commemorate a bungler,liar ,thief.

You don't think he was a racist?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

GOP economic policies and the old trickle down

So the trickle down economic policies of Reagan don't work? Then explain how the trickle down Obama policy of the Government raining money that they have confiscated from the pockets of those people who do pay taxes is going to work? Somehow it is special and will work when the government does it?

Does the Government have a magic trickle down wand?

Don't piss on us and tell us it is raining gold.

deborah said...

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/youth-gets-five-smacks-with-a-shoe-for-rape/809172/

J said...

No DAD dumbass Davis was a racist as well.


DBQ--you should stick to the recipes, or is it meth lab. Trickle down in Reagans' day helped the very wealthy mainly. And that's all it is--help the very wealthy by cutting their taxes and regs on business, and maybe they'll toss you some leftovers. Maybe not. It was only a blip for a year or so (and RR grew the deficit faster than any demo mainly via defense spending)

Oclarki said...

Why does Obama get to drop his g's when he talks, but when republicans do it they are stupid. He sucks.

E.M. Davis said...

J - can you believe it? Some people want to remove the statue of Jefferson Davis from the rotunda at the Kentucky Capital building!! Amazing!!

They should.

I don't know why we would build monuments to failed secessionists, or fly their flags. They lost a rebellious war (yes, I know about the Northern aggression) in which they fought against their own countrymen.

E.M. Davis said...

Some of us are waiting for the other shoe to drop in 2012.

cubanbob said...

DADvocate said...
J - can you believe it? Some people want to remove the statue of Jefferson Davis from the rotunda at the Kentucky Capital building!! Amazing!!

http://cyberhillbilly.blogspot.com/2009/08/time-for-jefferson-davis-to-go-from-kys.html

9/26/11 11:46 AM

You forgot to mention that ole Jeff Davis was a democrat. So were all of the rebs. Just saying. Heck Jim Crow was a democrat as well.

Shoes...rimes with Jews, gonna confuse poor old J and his jelly baby daddy C4.

E.M. Davis said...

Trickle down in Reagans' day helped the very wealthy mainly.

Like you would ever cite conclusive proof.

DADvocate said...

No DAD dumbass Davis was a racist as well.

Just making sure. Of all the things you called him, you left out racist. BTW - up until last year Tennessee has a bust (not his boobs) of Nathan Bedford Forest in its capital.

Looking at Ann's most recent post, you should check out Isthmus if you haven't already. You'd fit in quite well there.

but without the typical liberal hate-fest and name-calling.

Although, I'm not sure if you're actually liberal, but you'd fit right in with the hate-fest and name-calling part. (Which indicates you probably are a liberal.)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

DBQ--you should stick to the recipes, or is it meth lab.

It's OK J. I understand. You are just cranky because your Mom only throws you a bag of cheezy poofs once in a while and you don't have anyone making you real food.

:-)

ken in sc said...

Nixon is supposed to have made a joke about black men wanting only tight pussy, loose shoes, and a warm place to sh!t.

Psychedelic George said...

Do you mean shoes or Jews re: that Drudge post!

Wow.

Cedarford said...

Sixty Grit said...
I was reminded of Earl Butz.

===================
Had to look that up. The 1st thing listed in the joke was the extreme importance of loose, comfortable shoes to blacks.
Obama believes in that. Thinks his black audience joins him in it.

Is it possible Obama will work the other two elements listed in the Earl Butz joke into a program for the black folk?

Have things come full circle?

cubanbob said...

ken in sc said...
Nixon is supposed to have made a joke about black men wanting only tight pussy, loose shoes, and a warm place to sh!t.

9/26/11 2:27 PM

Nope. Earl Butz Ford's secretary of agriculture said that.

Ralph L said...

Butz told the joke on a plane trip, probably after a few. The creep John Dean squealed on him to the WaPo, IIRC.

About the same time, my HS French teacher told us that the revolting French peasants would tromp through their master's fields at night in their wooden shoes when they felt abused.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

the revolting French peasants would tromp through their master's fields at night in their wooden shoes when they felt abused.

Your Majesty, the people are revolting.

Unknown said...

Unmentioned is the Oval Office photo of Obama's soles directly facing the camera while talking to Bibi Netanyahu.

General P. Malaise said...

why would obama think they had to take off their slippers ...because they obviously do not work and are lazing around in slippers.

......at least he got that part correct.