I got flipped off yet again on Friday.
I have no idea why…I was doing the speed limit, I stayed in my lane, I used my signal, I did not litter.
However, the big haired mom in the mini-van felt inclined to call me #1.
Maybe I am.
And yes, the car was full of kids.
It got me to thinking, “Why do we do that?”
You know, flip people off.
The finger has been around all my life, and I wondered where it came from. Who thought it UP. And why, just why do we do that.
A researcher, W. S. King, back in 1949, called the ‘middle finger salute’ the most widely known symbol among the people he studied – mostly college students.
Most widely known?
He called it a joking symbol of contempt, but admitted that it was an obscene gesture as well. The specific obscenity is of course, the suggestion of phallic aggressiveness. If the gesture doesn’t make it clear enough the verbiage that usually accompanies it does.
Work with me people…I’m trying to make this clear with out quoting Cee Lo Green.
As popular as the gesture is in the US, it’s not at all an American invention.
The Romans used it 2000 years ago. Of course, they had a fancy name for it; digitus impudicus which – and I didn’t take Latin – means finger without shame. Fancy name or not, it meant the same thing then as it does now.
The prettier version is “UP yours”. (You knew that was coming.) And the visual has been translated in to as many languages as those tacky Danielle Steele books have. The British have a similar sign, that is of course less offensive, and most European countries have a variation from the forearm jerk of Italy to the two fingered backward V of the Germanic tribes. The Russians have their version, which is even more obscene, which I did not think was possible.
At any rate, it’s crude, vulgar, tasteless, obscene, and tacky – and of course sometimes right on the mark!
So, now you know.