Giving someone the finger is never a polite thing to do, no matter the reason or how much of an idiot the bird-recipient may appear to be (too often the irony is lost on the owner of the offending finger, who remains annoyingly oblivious as to which one the idiot actually is).
In western nations like the USA, the bird tends to be employed a lot while driving. It’s not nice of course, but generally doesn’t result in serious consequences for either party. Occasionally something funny happens, like in this recent video of newly famous idiot, Jeffrey Travis White, whose skillfully timed demonstration of redneck road rage/instant karma has amused millions.
Cultural sensitivities can be, well, sensitive I guess, and in some cultures giving someone the bird can have serious consequences. In the Sultanate of Oman for example (a happy, peaceful Middle-eastern nation where rude hand gestures are punishable by law – hence all that politeness), giving someone the finger is not a great idea.
I was amused and a bit surprised then by this month’s ‘Mother and Me’ catalogue from the supermarket chain, Lulu’s (I’m an avid reader of Mother and Me), which offers perhaps the cutest published demonstration of the bird I’ve seen… especially in the Arab world.
I had to throw this in here, because of the hundreds of times I’ve been reminded by friends and colleagues not to offer the finger on the unpredictable Middle eastern highways… and ’cause it’s so damn cute. It’d be easy to miss, but I’m sure the photographer had a bit of a laugh before slipping this one past the editor.