Commentary by H.G. Listiak
Be Careful Where You Express Yourself
Welcome to my world, where many times people express themselves with gestures. A wink of the eye, a shake of the head, a shrug of the shoulders, gestures can mean many different things, with one glaring exception. The bird, the disgusting digit, you know ... the finger. Now I really don't know how it started, or evolved, but I know it's more than just an American gesture of disdain and displeasure. The finger is a worldwide, international expression. The seriousness of the sign varies. Here in the U.S. it's pretty well accepted as disgusting and low brow, but it's accepted. In other countries it's taken as damn near treason when flashed before any official of the State. Recently an American Airlines pilot learned the lesson the hard way. He had just landed his airliner in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where you must be photographed and fingerprinted before entering the country, Brazil's revenge for similar rules when it's citizens, who need visas to enter the country, visit the U.S. The pilot smiled at the camera and raised the middle finger. Quickly, he and his ten member crew were detained. The pilot was arrested for showing contempt to authorities, which carries a penalty of an almost 13 thousand dollar fine or two years in prison. The pilot, released on his own recognizance, copped a plea and paid the heavy fine, thus avoiding charges and jail time. He returns to America where even though dispicable, the finger is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution as freedom of speech, or in this case, expression. For the most part, many of us have flipped the bird, even inventing new ways to present it, I mean like, he who is without sin let them case the first finger, but be careful where you express yourself, as I see it ... I'm H.G. Listiak.