Giving Someone The Middle Finger Dates Back 2,500 Years
The next time someone flips you the bird, consider that you're now part of a tradition stretching back millennia. The act of raising that particular lone digit to insult someone was first documented in ancient Greece, where it appears in a play written by Aristophanes in 419 BCE. Around that time, philosopher Diogenes the Cynic (who would undoubtedly be prolific on Reddit today) used his middle finger to express disdain toward an Athenian politician -- a moment that has been immortalized in at least one statue.
For context, the middle finger was supposed to represent a penis, with the rest of the hand being some very deformed testicles. More specifically, in ancient Rome, the finger became synonymous with the anal penetration of men -- literally "Fuck you." The Romans even had a special name for the middle finger: digitus impudicus, which translates to modern English as "the indecent finger" or "the unchaste finger." Either way, great names for punk bands.
The middle finger eventually managed to find its way to America through Italian immigrants. The first documented use in the U.S. (and the first ever picture of someone flipping the bird) was in 1886, when legendary baseball player Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn decided to give the camera the old Bronx salute while posing with a rival team.
Wiki CommonsThe middle finger was redundant. That mustache clearly says “Fuck you.”
So technically, when you give someone the finger, you're citing the works of ancient Roman philosophers. Ain't you a classy motherfucker?
People Were Walking Into Walls While Staring At Mobile Gadgets In The Victorian Era
Mobile phones have placed the world at our fingertips ... at the cost of making us the most inattentive generation ever. This is how mankind ends: not with a bang, or a whimper, but by wandering into traffic while looking at pictures of kitties. But this is not a new problem at all. Urbanites of the Victorian period were also constantly walking into walls while staring at the hottest new mobile device of the day: the kaleidoscope.