Saturday, May 30, 2009

The bird = the word. (everybody knows)

I love a grouchy dude...

and I was thinking,

why do we* raise our middle finger to express
anger/contempt/"fuck you"-ness?

It turns out it's a phallic thing. Ah, of course.
(You boys and your penises, I swear to god...

"The first written record of the insult occurred in ancient Greece [2500 years ago], where the playwright Aristophanes made a crude joke mixing up the middle finger and the penis. Even back then, the bird was considered an aggressive, phallic put-down.

It has been argued by anthropologists that the finger is a a variant of a classic "phallic aggressive" gesture used by primates. By jabbing a threatening phallus at your enemy like a wild animal, you aren't just belittling him, but also making him your sexual inferior.

When the Romans imported the art, music, and culture of the Greeks, the finger came along, too. Roman Emperor Caligula, a pioneer in perversity, frequently shocked his citizens by forcing them to kiss his middle finger instead of his hand. One of his subjects, Cassius, who Caligula often taunted as being too effeminate, finally had enough humiliation and assassinated him."

During the Middle Ages, the Catholic church did all it could to bury the gesture and convince people they were upsetting God by using it, since the middle digit was supposed to be holy in the Mass. With the invention of photography in the 19th century, however, it enjoyed a new surge in popularity that has not waned to this very day (why hello there, 8 jillion debauchery documentation websites!). So basically we all are witnessing a magically intimate moment, a sexual-performance/penis-size-off every time 2 dudes say fuck you to each other with nothing more than their hands.

NO, NO, Lyor. Your form is ALL WRONG.
Smiling is not allowed in conjunction with the gesture.
Best believe that I will need to address this with you
when you meet me and Russ for dinner at Cipriani.

not me, of course--it's not ladylike. But I like it when you do it.

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