Social Question

JaneraSolomon's avatar

Should the government be policing people who hold up their middle fingers?

Asked by JaneraSolomon (1142 points ) February 7th, 2012

The government is up in arms because rapper “MIA” held up her middle finger during the Superbowl. Would we and should we tolerate such behavior, even from our commander in chief?
http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r6/hiroprotagonist50/Misc%20junk/obamaflippingthebird.jpg

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46 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Don’t see how the government would become involved. There is no article in your link, BTW.

bkcunningham's avatar

I hadn’t heard any comments about the government getting up in arms over the finger. What agency? The FCC?

Blackberry's avatar

Right behind her, were dancers on the ground thrusting their hips in the air. So one is ok and another isn’t? Of course I think it’s BS and will go away soon, but we all know there are a lot of wannabe puritans in America.

They’ll blow off their steam and people will forget them.

TexasDude's avatar

There are a lot of things the government should stay out of. Rude gestures is one of them.

HungryGuy's avatar

Hand gestures come under the umbrella of free speech, IMO.

If anyone should be up in arms over it, it should be the promoters of the Super Ball.

XOIIO's avatar

This is what the big fuss is over.

Seriously, what the hell?

SavoirFaire's avatar

When the finger is outlawed, only outlaws will have fingers.

I love how much cognitive dissonance is involved in this “scandal.” Listen to the song that’s playing: the line being sung while M.I.A is giving the finger is “I don’t give a shit.” So somehow that’s not offensive, but a hand gesture you have to slow down the footage to see clearly is offensive? Ridiculous.

And just to be clear: I don’t think either of these things is offensive. I mention the lyric only to point out how selective the reasoning surrounding this incident is.

SavoirFaire's avatar

P.S. Here is a link to the image from the OP.

bkcunningham's avatar

What big fuss? I hadn’t heard any comments from “the government.” Whatever that means.

Symbeline's avatar

No. All great answers above concerning that. Even if I was for censorship or other policing methods that would be related to such instances, it’s all got its ass backwards anyways. @Blackberry and @SavoirFaire gave good examples of this. It’‘s like when you watch a movie on cable, and the swears are bleeped out, yet all the violence is left in. It’s one way or the other, for fuck sakes.
Even if I thought policing and censoring people was right, I sure as hell wouldn’t praise the system we have now for these things. I’m glad it works like crap, for the sake of expression, haha. The middle finger, no big deal.

There’s other more pressing and important social issues that the government should tackle, anyways…

rebbel's avatar

You mean the as-we speak-tens-of-thousands-of-people-around-the-globe-are-giving-it-to-each-other be-it for-fun-or-with-the-intention-to-provoke-only-since-it-is-not-seen-by-100-million-people-(cause-being-made-in-the-‘saftey’-of-their-houses) gesture?

Michael_Huntington's avatar

I’ll tell you what is obscene
the new spiderman movie trailer

King_Pariah's avatar

@Michael_Huntington oh shush, it’s holding more true to the original story line than Toby Macfatfatbabyface’s spider man ever did

As for this… I’d say in modern society, there is a place and time for the bird and public television happens not to be the place for it considering it is the equivalent with the expletive “fuck” which has also been deemed by modern society as a “mature” rated action.

And what’s wrong with shit? It’s just another four letter way of saying poop.

filmfann's avatar

I don’t think it’s a bad idea to try and protect children from thinking such a rude display is acceptable.

Think of the children! Won’t somebody think of the children!

Blackberry's avatar

Think of the children parenting.

XOIIO's avatar

@filmfann I think most priests do, sick bastards.

FutureMemory's avatar

I hope the network is sued for 100 billion dollars.

sliceswiththings's avatar

No one’s saying anything about the fact that she said “shit” while doing it!

jerv's avatar

The way I see it, those who get up in arms about that little thing are in no way equipped to handle life in the really real world. The government has interfered as much as it should when the words, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” were put onto paper and ratified.

@filmfann Somebody is thinking of the children

john65pennington's avatar

Its a law violation in Tennessee.

It comes under the Obscene Gesture Law.

Birds fly in the sky, not out of someones hand.

jca's avatar

I think the problem is the fact that it was over the airwaves, i.e. TV.

I worked for a major radio/cell phone manufacturer about 20 years ago. We had a radio in the office and the vans all had radios in them. We used to call the guys in the vans on the radio and tell them lunch orders, work stuff, etc. One day I said “fuck” and my supervisor almost fell over. He said the FCC monitors airwaves and if they were listening, they could fine the company. Like what they were trying to do to Howard Stern more recently. Not saying it’s right, but it’s probably what the issue was with the Super Bowl.

rooeytoo's avatar

I didn’t know poor taste and lack of propriety was against the law.

Blondesjon's avatar

MIA was fingering herself?

Disgusting.

Aethelflaed's avatar

So, wait, Miss Deaf America wasn’t shown at all signing the anthem, but the real infraction was that someone flipped the audience the bird for half a second? Really? Man, we are not so much with priorities.

wundayatta's avatar

It was scripted, I’m sure. This is the kind of publicity money can’t buy. The superbowl thrives on scandal. Every year since Janet (YSJ), each performer has been trying to create their own “wardrobe malfunction.” The NFL is happy to deny it has anything to do with it, and is equally happy to raise the profile of the superbowl that much more.

You guys are all acting like the NFL’s patsies. Shame on you!

Snicker, snicker.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@wundayatta All of us who didn’t watch the Super Bowl and are downplaying this “scandal” are playing into their attempts to play up the incident to get people to watch the Super Bowl? Does not compute.

wundayatta's avatar

@SavoirFaire I don’t see anyone seriously downplaying it. Anyone who wanted to downplay it, wouldn’t talk about it. The talk generates the further interest. It doesn’t matter what your position is. If you talk, you’re playing, and if you’re playing, you’re helping the (publicity) cause. Remember, there is no such thing as negative publicity. Everyone (well, more people, anyway) will be watching next year just to see if anything happens.

People watch the superbowl for a lot of reasons. Nowadays, people who watch for football are probably a minority. There are people who watch for the commercials. There are people who watch for the halftime show. There are people who watch for social reasons. There are people who watch for scandal.

This question is the kind of publicity you can’t buy for love or money.

jonsblond's avatar

so sad that y’all are talking about MIA’s finger and not the fact that the Patriots receivers couldn’t catch a damn ball. so sad that this is what the Super Bowl is remembered for (oh wait, I’m on fluther. that’s right. most of y’all hate football. carry on) :P

King_Pariah's avatar

@jonsblond I just didn’t like the teams playing though Nicks (it’s Nicks right? one of the giants’ reciever?) made some awesome receptions

SavoirFaire's avatar

@wundayatta You’re talking about it as well, though, so your desire to be judgmental seems a bit hypocritical. Regardless, I think “there’s no such thing as negative publicity” is bullshit—Oscar Wilde witticisms notwithstanding. There are some rather famous cases of it, though I suppose citing any of them would just seem like promotion to you. In any case, the suckers who are going to watch next year to see if anything happens aren’t going to be motivated by a Fluther conversation. The media discussion will have already inspired them.

@jonsblond I’m originally form New York. I have no problem with the Patriots’ inability to catch a damn ball!

jonsblond's avatar

@SavoirFaire haha. I’m a Broncos fan. I also have no problem with the Patriots’ inability to catch a damn ball. I was very happy to see them lose to the Giants. ;)

ucme's avatar

“Oh heaven’s to betsy children, shield your eyes from the glare of the TV. Cardinal sins lie there within & the devil’s finger will corrupt your gentle soft souls.”
I believe Jesse Jackson said that about the Brady Bunch, or was it Ozzy Osbourne?

mattbrowne's avatar

The police has to investigate if someone presses charges. That’s the law. So if someone calls someone else an asshole or holds up the middle finger it all depends on this someone else feeling an insult and presses charges or not.

If there are witnesses it makes the case easier. A middle finger might cost a couple of hundred euros in Germany if this goes to trial. More if the offender has a record.

wundayatta's avatar

@SavoirFaire I’m talking about it, but then, I love football. I love controversy. I think this is marvelous! I can’t believe people would get all heated up about a fuck you finger, but am delighted that they do so. I’m also delighted that the Giants won. I grew up in New England, but they aren’t my team any more. Neither are the Giants, but my team did beat the Giants twice this year, which comforts me some, not that it means anything otherwise.

And I don’t believe fluther does nothing. I think that we are a reflection of society to some degree, and I know that stuff that shows up here often shows up later on in more public venues. It may have nothing to do with fluther, but it does prepare me with information before most other people have even heard of something.

The conversations we have here will almost certainly be duplicated later, elsewhere. You’ll remember what I’ve said the next time this topic enters your life. You have my condolences for that! ;-)

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne What is Germany’s equivalent of our First Amendment?

bkcunningham's avatar

Are you a deadskins supporter @wundayatta? And you are right, it means nothing. We are the World Champion New York Giants! Smack-talking on Fluther, thanks to the middle finger of MIA.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@wundayatta Well, I guess I have nothing to say if you’re willing to turn on a dime like that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The thing I hate about TV is you don’t get to see it coming.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne Article 5, Section 2 is broad enough to effectively nullify free speech :/

jca's avatar

I think in the case of the Super Bowl, the issue is not free speech, it’s “obscenity over the airwaves.”

SavoirFaire's avatar

@jca Indeed, but the FCC’s authority to censor networks in ways it cannot censor cable channels has come under increasing scrutiny, especially in the wake of the digital conversion. It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

jerv's avatar

@jca But they allow Michelle Bachman and the WBC on the air….

Seriously though, what is “obscenity”? I consider Fred Phelps’ existence to be obscene, but I tolerate it and the fact that he sometimes hits the airwaves merely because I also have the right to do something he considers obscene, like support gay rights.

mattbrowne's avatar

@jerv – Yes, an elementary teacher is not free to talk about his night job as a porn director in front of his students. And hate speech and holocaust denial is illegal too. But that’s about it. I know it’s hard for Americans to understand. But in reality if you watch German tv or read German newspapers you’ll find 99.999% of what can legally said or printed in America as well. The actually difference is tiny, although in theory it could be bigger. And yes, when exactly does hate speech begin? I’m not trying to paint a rosy picture here.

But I’m glad that we don’t have hate speech in Germany, and if it happens, we can press charges.

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