Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Controversial issues and the finger

A writer on American Dad made an interesting observation: the big problem in the show is not the political issues, like a whole show drastically making fun of gays (seemingly), but, get this, whether a character is allowed to wave his nose at somebody! Or much worse, to give somebody the finger. (Though they are four-fingered.)

This is interesting to me: you just can't show a middle raised finger on US TV. Why is this gesture so incredibly offensive? The guy being interviewed did not even make the gesture, I guess he knew it couldn't be shown, he just waved his hand a bit up, and we all immediately knew which gesture he was referring to.

You can feel it too: I don't think you can give anybody in the Western World the finger and not immediately grossly offend them.
I am realizing I have no idea if it has the same meaning in the Eastern World, anybody know?

Even bigger "fingers".


Yucel said...


It's the whole idea of what is obscenity. We can show people getting blown up, have to be careful of showing people being created (the jesture you mention can lead to creation of more people...)

I wrote about this for what consistutes art versus porn in photos here:

eolake said...

Thanks. I think your article had some very good points.

"Some people find any kind of sensuality abhorrent.
Some people find almost any degree of sexuality acceptable."

Joe said...
I am sure it could be another reason, but we could blame it on the French.

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers. Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore [soldiers would] be incapable of fighting in the future. This famous weapon was made of the native English yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as "plucking the yew." Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French, saying, "See, we can still pluck yew!"

Anonymous said...

It goes back a lot farther than the Battle of Agincourt.