Hit & Run: Let your finger do the talking

The dig to the ribs by the guy next to her told Rose Schlossberg her great uncle's funeral procession probably wasn't the best place to be seen giving someone the finger.

Footage shot during the ceremonies to commemorate Senator Edward Kennedy appears to show JFK's granddaughter raising a middle digit. It's not clear what provoked Schlossberg, 21, but the Harvard graduate joins a long line of pissed-off people who have raised eyebrows by "flipping the bird".

For rock stars or inebriated pop starlets, offering the universal and unequivocal signal (usually to the paparazzi) is no big deal but, in the wrong hands, the "one-finger victory salute", as George W Bush once called it, has the power to shock as well as embarrass. Bush gave the "salute" defence when he realised the cameras were rolling as the then Texas Governor flipped the bird at an aide (in jest, judging by his smile) before an interview. The clip emerged during Bush's presidency and provided ammunition for critics portraying him as a smirking frat boy.

As likely to be seen on the football terraces as in the Kennedy cortege, "the finger" has a remarkable ability to penetrate all levels of society. During a 1976 political rally, the then Vice President Nelson Rockefeller was photographed thrusting a particularly turgid finger at anti-Vietnam hecklers. Meanwhile in 2007, the Czech Prime Minster, Mirek Topolánek, had some explaining to do after he, too, was caught making a deposit at the finger bank – in Parliament.

Anthropologists have offered various histories of "the finger". Some authorities take the Freudian view that the raised finger is a phallic-aggressive gesture that predates Homo sapiens. More recently, there are records of raised fingers in Ancient Greece, and the Romans used a digitus impudicus (impudent finger) in much the same way we do. It does not, as countless websites attest, date back to the Battle of Agincourt, where British archers supposedly raised one or two digits at the French, who had threatened to cut off their bow fingers.

So if Schlossberg is compelled to explain herself, she can claim she is in the company of Roman emperors (Caesar is said to have dismissed entertainers with a wave of his middle finger), that she was satisfying a primal urge, or that she was being friendly; the Schlossberg-Kennedys have their home on Manhattan, where "the bird" is also known as the "New York hello". Simon Usborne

Marriage of convenience – and office essentials

As a way of raising the funds for starting a new business, it certainly beats having to plead your case in front of the bank manager. A Silicon Valley couple have decided to use their wedding as an opportunity to get their start-up off their ground, by asking their guests to forgo the usual wedding gifts – china, silverware, and a blender no-one will use – and instead donate money to the newlyweds.

Thankfully, Drue Kataoka and Svetlozar Kazanjiev, from Palo Alto in California, didn't abandon romance completely by demanding cash straight-up. Instead, their unusual wedding list consists of various items their new company, Aboomba, requires, together with a partnering price which well-wishers can then donate via PayPal. Therefore, guests are able to contribute the cost of their utility bills for a month ($53) or give them the money for a copy of Microsoft Office Professional Edition ($205.17).

They could also gift the rate for renting a friend's garage for a month ($250), or buying coffee for a week for a team of five (the price of this varies, depending on whether it comes from Starbucks or the slightly more expensive Peet's). Intriguingly the couple – who were married on Saturday at Stanford University – have not released any details regarding the company itself, although they say it won't be launched for several months. It's sure to be a success, though, with these keen business minds behind it. Toby Green

The Force will be with you... if you remember the batteries

Welcome, young Jedi. Today's lesson will be learning to control the power of the Force using only your mind. Oh, and a slightly dorky-looking headset plus a plastic tube with a ball in it. Confused? A Jedi is never confused. You see, these tools make up the 'Star Wars Force Trainer' (£99.95, Firebox.com), a kit that gives would-be Yodas the ability to make a polystyrene ball float using the power of the mind (EEG sensor technology it has). Hit & Run has spent some time trying to master the Force's secrets using it, but must confess that it didn't realise that the universe's metaphysical and ubiquitous power needed quite so many batteries to get going. Adventure, excitement, a Jedi craves not these things. But a packet of AAs would be nice. Rebecca Armstrong

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried