By unanimous decision, a federal appeals court in Michigan last week upheld an American’s unalienable right to extend her middle finger.
A Michigan woman gave the middle finger to a police officer after receiving a ticket. The officer pulled her over again and upgraded the ticket to a worse offense.
It turns out that this is a violation of her First Amendment right to free speech.
For the record, I think it is so incredibly stupid that human beings consider the raising of a single digit to be so vulgar and offensive that it can’t be shown on television or would cause a police officer to even think about upgrading a traffic ticket.
It’s stupid, but it’s also weird.
I can raise my index finger. I can raise my pinkie finger. I can raise my arm. My elbow. My knee. My big toe. But the extension of my middle finger - absent any other digit - is so offensive that it must be blurred on television in the same way networks must blur genitals and women’s breasts.
According the FCC, the middle finger is just as inappropriate on television as an exposed penis. Both cannot be transmitted across the airwaves without blurring or pixilation.
It’s crazy. And stupid. And weird. Right?
It’s my middle finger. I should be able to raise it whenever I damn well please. This should not be an offensive or vulgar gesture.
Rude? Sure. Insulting? Yes. As long as the gestures continues to convey the same sentiment that it does today, I’m not arguing that the middle finger should be considered polite.
But so vulgar that it can’t be shown on network television?