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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Parsing gestures

Posted by: Hammer / 3:21 PM

I'm concerned about Antonin Scalia. Supreme Court Justices just shouldn't be in the news much. Not individually. Not like this:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia used an Italian hand gesture when questioned by a reporter after attending church this past weekend. The Boston Herald reported Monday that the justice made "an obscene gesture under his chin" -- which prompted some online reports that Scalia had used his middle finger.


"It was a hand off the chin gesture that was meant to be dismissive," Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.

Scalia wrote a letter, quoting a 1996 guidebook:

To back his interpretation of the gesture, Scalia in his letter quoted from Luigi Barzini's book, "The Italians:" "The extended fingers of one hand moving slowly back and forth under the raised chin means 'I couldn't care less. It's no business of mine. Count me out."'

Is that what the gesture means?

Or does it mean "I don't give a damn"? Is it the equivalent of flipping someone off? I don't know. But I do think our Supreme Court Justices should conduct themselves with a little dignity.


"Buzz off" or "To heck with you" as your source cites is definitely NOT the equivalent of the middle finger salute. That is much more to the point. I wonder: Had it been Ginsburg or Souter or Breyer, would it have been as much news?

By Anonymous therealrepublican, at 4:54 PM  

1. I don't think Ginsburg or Souter or Breyer would behave so injudiciously.

2. What if Scalia punctuated his gesture with Vaffanculo?

By Blogger Hammer, at 5:42 PM  

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