A guy just won a settlement in a free speech lawsuit. Turns out the constitution protects "the finger"!!!! It happened in Pittsburgh...35-year-old David Hackbart, of Butler, made the gesture at a driver in April 2006. He did it again when someone yelled at him, realizing only later the second person was a police officer. The American Civil Liberties Union sued saying Hackbart's gesture was constitutionally protected speech. Council gave initial approval to the settlement Tuesday, but must vote again next week to finally approve the 50-thousand dollar payment.
If we can't flip the bird at other drivers, why leave the house? And if I've ever done it to you, here in Northeast Pennsylvania, I'm sorry. But you made me mad.
Driving is one of those places where the consequences are not likely to fall upon the do-er. Once I did that to someone in front of me, because I was late for church (I used to play guitar and mass and sing the songs, until the Church said, don't bother unless you join the parish). Turns out it was the priest who was celebrating Mass! We both pretended not to know.
Hey Father! You're number one!!
In Gestures: Their Origins and Distribution, Desmond Morris and colleagues note that the digitus infamis or digitus impudicus (infamous or indecent finger) is mentioned several times in the literature of ancient Rome. Turning to our vast classical library, we quickly turn up three references. Two are from the epigrammatist Martial: "Laugh loudly, Sextillus, when someone calls you a queen and put your middle finger out."
(The verse continues: "But you are no sodomite nor fornicator either, Sextillus, nor is Vetustina's hot mouth your fancy." Martial, and Roman poets in general, could be pretty out there, subject-matter-wise. Another verse begins: "You love to be sodomized, Papylus . . .")
In the other reference Martial writes that a certain party "points a finger, an indecent one, at" some other people. The historian Suetonius, writing about Augustus Caesar, says the emperor "expelled [the entertainer] Pylades . . . because when a spectator started to hiss, he called the attention of the whole audience to him with an obscene movement of his middle finger." Morris also claims that the mad emperor Caligula, as an insult, would extend his middle finger for supplicants to kiss.
It's not known whether one displayed the digitus infamis in the same manner that we (well, you) flip the bird today. In another of his books Morris describes a variety of sexual insults involving the middle finger, such as the "middle-finger down prod," the "middle-finger erect," etc., all of which are different from the classic middle-finger jerk. But let's not quibble. The point is, the middle-finger/phallus equation goes back way before the Titanic, the Battle of Agincourt, or probably even that time Sextillus cut off Pylades with his chariot. And I ain't kidding yew.
Found this amusing...
Set me free why don't cha babe! Thank you for this song! I love it no matter who sings it but Vanilla Fudge really does it well!