February 7, 2012, 11:56 am
I can’t help but be fascinated by the bizarre nature of bad words and naughty gestures. Some words we can’t say because they’re just plain offensive, like the “n” word or now the “r” word. In my house, the “r” word is a point of contention between my daughters since one says it cannot be uttered while the other says it just to annoy her older sister and poke holes in her holier than thou attitude. As you can see, the whole situation is a slippery slope that makes us skate around painful histories and structures that imbue these insults with such power.
What words can be said and what can’t remains a thorny legal and cultural issue and Super Bowl Sunday clearly brought this to the surface. By now, everyone knows that MIA shot up her middle finger while dancing to Madonna’s “Give Me All Your Luvin’.” According to a BBC article,
The middle finger is documented to have expressed insult…