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Thursday, June 15, 2017

'The Finger: A Comprehensive Guide to Flipping Off' Give Dad 'The Finger' for Father's Day


Aside from the awesomely juvenile premise, the greatest thing about the book "The Finger: A Comprehensive Guide to Flipping Off" is that it is a reality after a presumably drunken evening during which the co-authors think to document the history and every other aspect of an act in which most of us engage to varying degrees. The best way to describe the appeal of the book is that 90 percent of us who have extended said digit in the face of an offensive individual say that we find it immensely satisfying; the other 10 percent are liars.

This tome with a nifty lenticular image of the titular act presumably graces the shelves of some Spencer's Gifts; it definitely is available through a Seattle-based online retailer that both shall remain nameless and deserves to be the frequent recipient of the gesture around which the book is centered.

One can further speculate that real-life Greendale College (or Grant College for children of the '80s) Evergreen State College either has or will offer a course based on this book. If so, attending the final exam is worth flying to Washington state.

The heavily (and hilariously) illustrated book begins with an overview of the subject and goes on to discuss the centuries-old origin of the gesture that modern society knows and loves. This portion of the book also dispels a long-standing myth regarding the topic.

One of many notable elements of "The Finger" is  documentation of covert use of this form of communication; this includes a photo of a 19th century team photo and a propaganda image that demonstrates that POWs remain loyal to truth, justice, and the American way.

We further see photographic proof that puttin' on the Ritz is not the only activity of Rockefellers and other household names. The context of the latter often involves paparazzi or the heat of a sports competition.

Wonderful humor relates to an extensive section on foreign variations of hand gestures that express great disdain; beyond being informative and entertaining, this provides a chance to enhance travel experiences with plausible deniability in the form of being a stupid American who alleges that he (or she) knows not of which he (or she) expresses.

A related portion of "Finger" addresses variations of the American method for indicating that someone is "Number One." This extends well beyond the "I'll turn up the volume" technique that the book reminds us that the '80s film "The Breakfast Club" highlights. (A personal variation from high school days is the quilt-o-gram in which the gesturer is shrouded in a blanket and tells the offensive peer that he or she has a special message before turning to that individual and delivering the communication.)

The authors add genuine substance regarding covering legal proceedings surrounding the making of the gesture (almost always involving a driving incident and often having an element of interaction with a law-enforcement official.) The gist of this is that said gesture MOSTLY does not violate obscenity laws and OFTEN receives protection under freedom-of-expression principles. However the wisdom related to an abundance of caution suggests not doing the crime unless you are willing to do the time.

A desire to not further run the risk of a reader vigorously extending his or her offensive digit at his or her screen regarding spoilers as to this book is prompting concluding this review with a hearty endorsement of it.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Finger" is strongly encouraged to email me; you alternatively can connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.