Fingers Of Mass Destruction.
August 1, 2005 7:08 PM   Subscribe

Bush Flips Out. Or does he? Debate is raging throughout the various interweb cliques over whether or not Bush gave reporters the finger. Even Jay Leno did a monolouge on it. But did Bush really flip reporters the bird? Possibly. After all, it's not the first time he's done it. Or was whatever it was he was doing with his hand simply some sort of innocuous gesture? Metafilter decides, inside.
posted by Effigy2000 (55 comments total)

For what it's worth, I'm leaning towards Bush not having flipped reporters the proverbial bird. But I'm apparently in the minority. Over to you, Metafilter!
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:12 PM on August 1, 2005

I've seen the video and it seems really unlikely to me that it's his middle finger--I think it's his thumb. He is an arrogant, arrogant man...but he's not quite that dumb.

He's given us the finger figuratively, oh, countless times, just now with Bolton's recess appointment. Much much worse.
posted by zardoz at 7:13 PM on August 1, 2005

For fuck's sake, your first link even agrees it's a thumb. This post sucks. < flips effigy the bird>
posted by keswick at 7:13 PM on August 1, 2005

*squats on effigy's face, petitely toots out bean gas and sauce*
posted by loquacious at 7:16 PM on August 1, 2005

It's obvious what it is. Reminds me of Al Capone leaving a courthouse, or today's flavor of rapper/celebrity/actor leaving a place with their "entourage":

Fuck you, America, the camera is on me.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:22 PM on August 1, 2005

It's a thumb, not a middle finger, unless he has really really narrow hands.
posted by bshort at 7:25 PM on August 1, 2005

Soooooo.... um.... you saw this controversy erupt last week all over the blogs and said "Oh man, that's good and topical - but I'll save it for August 1st so it'll be in contention," right?

Metafilter decides, inside, that it's alredy decided.
posted by soyjoy at 7:27 PM on August 1, 2005

With the Blue States watching Leno, is national unity far behind?
posted by unsupervised at 7:27 PM on August 1, 2005

First impression: The bird. OMG the Prez just flipped the bird.
Subsequent viewings: Definitely his thumb. The give away is the alignment of his hand. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a moron.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:30 PM on August 1, 2005

MorAn you mean?
posted by Elim at 7:33 PM on August 1, 2005

Look at the extruded digit on the downward swing. It's clearly his thumb, unless his middle finger can magically migrate to the side of his palm.
posted by limbostar at 7:56 PM on August 1, 2005

It's his thumb, people. He's definitely dumb, but let's give the man one ounce of credit. He's not going to flip off reporters!
posted by apple scruff at 8:04 PM on August 1, 2005

posted by mrblondemang at 8:05 PM on August 1, 2005

Even if it was the middle finger... who cares?

As far as I'm concerned, presidents have free reign to swear and gesticulate in whatever manner they choose.
posted by mosch at 8:08 PM on August 1, 2005

Didn't look like the palmish physiognomy of a thumbish from Thubya to me, but I wasn't there.

However, here is a QuickTime clip that shows the President presenting without a doubt what he likes to calls his "one finger victory salute."
posted by Dunvegan at 8:26 PM on August 1, 2005

"To hell with them. When history is written, they will be the sons of bitches - not I." - Harry S. Truman

Also, what zardoz said.
posted by Pseudonumb at 8:28 PM on August 1, 2005

Now why would we think that he WASN'T flipping America the bird? Because it's the 5'th time?
posted by Balisong at 8:43 PM on August 1, 2005

If he did flip the bird in that footage, that would have been one of the best executed bird flips I've ever seen.

So if I was him I'd take credit for it.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:11 PM on August 1, 2005

Stay tuned for the next Important Metafilter Discussion: Is J.Lo pregnant? Full story at 11!
posted by Anonymous at 9:24 PM on August 1, 2005

If Bush was flipping the bird on air, a lot of networks would be in trouble with the FCC. We can safely assume the FCC wouldn't confirm Bush's hand gestures with fines, so there's nothing to worry about, citizen.
posted by Rothko at 9:32 PM on August 1, 2005

That's a damn long thumb, and it's interesting that it's positioned to the left of another finger.
posted by Citizen Premier at 9:39 PM on August 1, 2005

Not the incident in question, but this is pretty unmistakable:

posted by mrbill at 9:39 PM on August 1, 2005

(darnit, Dunvegan beat me to it sorta)
posted by mrbill at 9:43 PM on August 1, 2005

No idea how much longer imageshack will keep this up.. heh. First time I saw this I thought "OMG! He didn't!" After seeing it again (and adding my annotations to the image above, ahem), I'm 99% sure it was a thumb.
posted by socratic at 9:46 PM on August 1, 2005

(btw, though the image is a joke, I really do think it's his thumb.)
posted by socratic at 9:47 PM on August 1, 2005

Ah, but thank you for tendering brevity via editing, mrbill.

Dunvegan, she is the lazy...mrbill, he is the man.

Oh no!
posted by Dunvegan at 9:49 PM on August 1, 2005

Dunvegan - I've actually had that animated gif around for a few months, waiting for a chance to be used... I guess the Quicktime clip is from when he was (or was running for) governor?
posted by mrbill at 9:53 PM on August 1, 2005

Alright I see the thumb now. Stupid me.
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:01 PM on August 1, 2005

And thanks for the gif, Mr Bill.
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:02 PM on August 1, 2005

What we're missing here is the fact that in some cultures sticking your thumb up in the air is equal to saying "Shove it up your ass." Or so I'm told.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 10:47 PM on August 1, 2005

And the A-Ok sign also means, in some cultures, "you are so worthless, I will kill you tomorrow (because I can't be bothered to kill you today)." Communication between cultures can often be akward; imagine telling a classroom of kindergarteners that you're a Kickapoo Indian.
Also, didn't Reagan give the victory sign while boarding a plane in Australia? I've heard that's the same as the finger here.
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:18 PM on August 1, 2005

What we're missing here is the fact that in some cultures sticking your thumb up in the air is equal to saying "Shove it up your ass." Or so I'm told.

The Sri Lankans are one. Or so I'm told.

And back in the day in Oz this also used to be the case. I think the Fonz might have come onto our TV sets and confused things too much, but I can clearly remember the pre-bird days where the rude signs were either the thumb or "the forks."

In fact, the first few times I saw the bird I'm like, "What is this made-up fad?! It will never replace the forks!"
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:21 PM on August 1, 2005

How does one make "the forks?"
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:45 PM on August 1, 2005

...but let's give the man one ounce of credit.

That's too much, by exactly one ounce.
posted by wsg at 12:00 AM on August 2, 2005

How does one make "the forks?"

Reverse peace sign. Slight upwards motion. Fingers often "hooked" ever so slightly.

There are a few famous pictures of Sir Winston Churchill giving the forks. So I'm guessing the reverse peace sign wasn't considered rude back in the 40s(?)

As a young boy I remember being very confused as to why Winnie was being so rude.

get a dogupya!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:01 AM on August 2, 2005

Also called the "V".

I've heard it dates to the battle of Agincourt (? or something else) in which the british archers used their new longbows to decimate the french knights, and the V is the fingers used to pull the bowstrings. Not sure if this is true but its the version I tell at bars.

And also: it's his thumb. The lump on his back, that was conspiracy worthy, this is just garbage.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:58 AM on August 2, 2005

I've heard that too, BlackLeotardFront, and I can't believe I forgot it when I gave the above description. I'm light on the specifics, but I think if a British archer was captured, the common practice was to cut off those two fingers.

However, I can't remember which way the taunting went. Either "Ha ha I'm about to cut these two fingers off" or "Ha ha I've still got these two fingers and I'm about to shoot an arrow in yo' ass."

On preview: Ah, bugger it. I'll just Google for it…

after felling a French soldier with an arrow, an archer would raise his two fingers, just to show that he was still in the game. The battle where this first happened was likely to have been Crécy in 1346.

… OK then, it appears to be the latter.

Hmmmm. Makes me wonder now. Winnie was a clever man. Maybe it wasn't a peace sign he was giving after all?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:13 AM on August 2, 2005


*shakes head*
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:21 AM on August 2, 2005

*hears odd "gravel inside a canteloupe husk" sound*

i think that winston churchill is just flashing a "v" for victory there, ya'll. i'll allow he might have made that other gesture from time to time, but applying the shaving-type-instrument of william (from over there by occam), we see that, in this instance, much like bush's thumb being mistaken for his arrogant little middle finger, you're mistaking churchill's frequent inclination to flash the victory sign for something "profane."

to wit.
posted by Hat Maui at 2:16 AM on August 2, 2005

I think we all know that the conservatives secretly want Bush to flip off any reporter who gives him a hard time.

This is something the two warring sides should be able to get together and agree on, find some common ground. Bush hates reporters, what's there to argue about?
posted by Space Coyote at 2:35 AM on August 2, 2005

Hat Maui: You heard that too? What the fuck was that?
posted by loquacious at 2:54 AM on August 2, 2005

rude gestures worldwide
posted by anastasiav at 5:25 AM on August 2, 2005

The guy is famous for flipping the bird. He did it regularly as Texas governor. And several times as president.

He is a classless boob, rather like some MeFites who respond with "fuck off" as soon as they are challenged (hi Paris). The irony is of course that he's Andover and Yale educated, the son of immense wealth and privilege, and only pretends to be a redneck with a chainsaw and a truck. He thinks the tough guy act is like that truck, and it's very clearly because he has some serious anxieties about masculinity. In the end, I sometimes think that's why we are enmeshed in this senseless and endless war. My god, we could use a real man (or a woman) in charge around here for a while.
posted by realcountrymusic at 5:29 AM on August 2, 2005

Because clearly, being a redneck is about being uneducated and poor....... Spoken by someone who has obviously not spent much time in the panhandle.

As far as flipping the bird.. I'm just absolutely outraged......ahem.. next.
posted by rulethirty at 5:41 AM on August 2, 2005

The way he quickly retracted it made it seem more like his middle finger than his thumb, not to mention if it was a thumbs-up, wouldn't he want to turn around and show a smile or something?

Maybe if someone shouted "Hey Prez, how ya feelin'?" and he just gave the thumbs-up... that would make sense.

Either way, the guy's a classless jerkoff, so who cares?
posted by r3tr0 at 5:50 AM on August 2, 2005

With all due respect Hat Maui, Occam's Razor would have to be one of the most abused and overrated laws, erm, I mean, razors on the internet.

Winnie Churchill was a very smart man. He knew that was a rude sign. Had to know. That's the simplest explanation. Hey, wadderya know. Occam's Razor. I must be correct.

Do ya reckon he was having a little dig at Frenchie? "Look who had to come and save your bacon, Frenchie!"
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:22 AM on August 2, 2005

Spoken by someone who has obviously not spent much time in the panhandle

Actually, spoken by someone who spent the better part of a decade doing research for a book about working-class Texans, including plenty of time in the Panhandle (though more in South and Southeast TX). To be clear about what I think, it's not about being "uneducated," but about the kind of education one has. I'd love to see our president actually change the head gaskets on his big macho truck. As for being poor, well, it's more about being working-class, which doesn't necessarily mean poor (though it usually does). The "rich redneck" thing is exactly the irony I'm pointing out here.
posted by realcountrymusic at 6:29 AM on August 2, 2005

Fuddle Duddle.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:25 AM on August 2, 2005

I'm sick of a cowboy President. I want our next President to be a pirate, or a robot, or something.

"Scott, what plans does the President have for this weekend?"

"Well, he will be receiving several diplomats from Central America to discuss CAFTA on Saturday On Sunday, the President has stated that he would like to spend the day building a fort out of the sofa cushions, and he also has plans to further modify the cardboard box he likes to call his 'robot suit.'"

"Such as?"

"He'd like to cover the eye-holes with some sort of clear plastic, possibly cellophane, and also devise a nerf missile launcher which could be operated from inside the suit."
posted by iron chef morimoto at 9:10 AM on August 2, 2005

Whichever finger it is, the print of it must be embossed in Karl Rove's prostate by now.

Carry on.
posted by digaman at 9:22 AM on August 2, 2005

I disrespect and dislike GWB as much as a person can, but I gotta say that after careful & repeated viewing, it looks like a thumb to me. The angle of his arm, the position of his hand, etc. Next!
posted by tula at 10:20 AM on August 2, 2005

posted by Smedleyman at 10:39 AM on August 2, 2005


Desperate lame post.
posted by tkchrist at 2:01 PM on August 2, 2005

I think it's his thumb.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:42 PM on August 2, 2005

Enough already.
There are several trillion ways this asshat is really flipping us the bird... Let's move on to one of those.
posted by numlok at 3:52 PM on August 3, 2005

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