When Pope Benedict XVI abdicated his papacy and was succeeded by Pope Francis, one particular fact seemed to delight the press — and Benedict-haters — more than any other: Francis was not wearing the red shoes!
Google his red shoes (once incorrectly reported and forever incorrectly misunderstood to be Prada-made) and it feels like more was written about them than Benedict’s encyclicals, his books, his travel, his kissed babies. Those red shoes drove secularists, and some Catholics crazy, and the throwing up of hands in grateful hallelujah to see them gone was evidence of one of the strangest fixations we’ve seen by press members, secular or sacred.
Over the past few days, however, we have watched the press and various pundits go into a state of ecstatic fervor over the footwear of another public person: the pink sneakers worn by Texas State Senator Wendy Davis during her pro-abortion filibuster are the new must-haves, and some media folk are nearly orgasmic. So besotted are they with Wendy’s pink that the legendary Washington Post — and er, TIME Magazine — filed stories about…wait for it…the comments on the shoes, left by Amazon customers. Seriously.
And reading those comments, it seems that while it’s fine to just #standwithWendy but if you’re a true believer — if, like Nancy Pelosi, you believe banning abortion at 23 weeks gestation is “ending all abortion”, even though you cannot make a moral distinction between said abortions and Gosnellian infanticide, and if you do not think that “women’s health clinics” should be required to meet the same standards of cleanliness and equipage as ambulatory surgery outlets — then you have to #standwithWendy in pink, actually “rouge red”, sneakers.
Well, I agree; I think it’s perfectly sound; footwear can be instructive and meaningful, and golly, even inspiring.
A pope choosing to wear red shoes reminds us that Peter, in every iteration, proceeds through the blood of those who have gone before him — the martyrs who have been slain and are still being slain for the sake of Christ.
Likewise, a pro-abortion flame-fanner choosing to wear #standwithWendy pink — “rouge red” — sneakers reminds us that she proceeds through the red blood and shredded pink tissue, sucked out brains, collapsed skulls and snipped necks of those who will never be — human beings who have been slain, and are being slain, martyrs for the sake of…well…not Christ?
You can tell a lot about people by the kind of shoes they mock and sneer at, and the kind they celebrate and gush over.
Fascinating to consider, as well, which person you would trust with your life, or the life of your child, or the life of your elderly mother.
The distraction of the shoes. If you talk about the shoes, and get other people talking about the shoes, you don’t actually have to talk about what the wearers are saying.
Who knew shoes could be so instructive? Lessons worth absorbing.
Melinda Henneberger: Wendy Davis: Tough, Cool and Wrong
Related I: It’s linked in the text but don’t miss this piece by Mollie Hemingway
More abortion fashion ideas