Five Reasons to Give Your Middle Finger a Break

At last night's Brit Awards, Adele won the award for Album of the Year. And she seemed pretty psyched about it -- until she was cut off in the middle of her acceptance speech. In response, she flipped the bird...

...which, of course, made us flash back to M.I.A.'s Super Bowl halftime performance, during which the singer hoisted a middle finger of her own, for reasons beyond anybody's comprehension, perhaps even including her own...

...which, then, reminded us of the guy in the bright yellow SUV who cut us off on I-95 the other day, the one who still had the gall to change lanes, slow down beside us, and give us the finger, all while smiling behind some ridiculous Ray-Bans.

Case in point: Even if you're America's British sweetheart, when you present the one-fingered salute, you align yourself with douchebaggery. That means it's time to retire the middle finger.

It's ugly.
Ask yourself: Have you ever been turned on by anyone flipping the bird? Unlikely. That's because raising your middle finger also has disastrous consequences for your face -- scrunchy, scowly, middle-finger-specific consequences that are in no way attractive. And let's be honest: even if you're telling a real jerk to fuck off, you need all the help you can get in the looks department.

You look like a child.
It's hard to argue with the immaturity of the middle finger. After M.I.A. flipped off all of Footballwatchingdom, Madonna called the gesture a "teenager" move. Y'know what else teenagers are known for? Acne and body odor and Justin Bieber fandom. If you really want to piss a person off, just blast that "Baby" song at him until it's stuck in his head.

Better gestures exist.
Where's the creativity, y'all? The Finger is ubiquitous; it has virtually no impact. We'd like to bring back the good old days of obscene gestures: the under-chin hand flick, the cross-arm fisting pantomime, the classic, hip-thrusting screw-off. What if the next time someone offends you, you did an interpretive dance inspired by how that made you feel? Now that's a lasting statement.

It's for douchebags.
We love Adele and M.I.A., but a complete survey of folks known for flipping the bird shows that they're in the minority -- most chronic bird-flippers are, in fact, douchebags. Just browse through this slideshow. There's Ashton Kutcher. There's Avril Lavigne. There's effing Kid Rock, and Criss Angel, and Kanye West, and we can go on. Do you really want to join that club?

It's over.
Adele flipped the bird, you guys. Adele. The all-knowing musical queen of love and sympathy. If you don't think that's a sign the middle finger has run its course, well, we don't need our middle fingers to tell you to fuck off.

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ciara LaVelle is New Times' former arts and culture editor. She earned her BS in journalism at Boston University and moved to Florida in 2004. She joined New Times' staff in 2011.
Contact: Ciara LaVelle