Thursday, July 10, 2008

The underappreciated finger

The finger is the world's most underappriciated political statement. Used against people it's merely an insult. Used against powerful entities such as governments, political parties, religions or corporations, it's a statement of personal freedom. This is my life, my space, leave me alone. It works on two levels, it not only rejects a set of beliefs but the language they are expressed in. Of course we do need government and even quite a bit of it, and there's nothing inherently wrong with large corporations or religions. The finger is not the whole of the message, it is the beginning of it, it puts authority on the defensive, forced to justify further invasions of our lives. "Fuck off. Now explain to me again why you need to read my e-mail." There are more elegant ways to express the same idea, but polite wording strips this beautiful idea of much of its power. The finger is also the only appropriate response to bullshit, the language of PR and spin. A statement that has been carefully manufactured to manipulate you through emotion, evasion and ignorance does not deserve a rational response, it deserves only the finger. There's no need to actually show it, (and who would you show it to?), but it is important that you think it, that the image of the finger is the first thing to pop into your mind when powerful entities want to mess with your life, and that you let that image guide and inspire your reaction.



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