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Alex Watson: The middle finger is a protest for the powerless, not MPs

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16.07.2022

I love swearing.

I’ve written about it before. And, if you’ve spent time with me, you’ve probably heard the proof.

I get a gleeful thrill when someone who shouldn’t or usually wouldn’t slips a casual curse word into the mix. When my big boss or my dad – always so careful to keep it clean – drops an F-bomb in front of me? Joyous.

In those moments, I see a spark of kindred spirit. I see passion, fallibility and a little bit of rebellion. Vulgar language is pretty punk.

So are obscene hand gestures. In fact, if I think of giving the finger (or fingers), the Sex Pistols materialise in my mind, or that famous photo of Johnny Cash sticking one up to the camera in San Quentin prison. I think of musicians, artists and activists, sick of the establishment and keen for the world to know it.

In their case, swearing was a universally understood expression of frustration, designed to shock – a tiny but powerful, one-person protest that many others could relate to.

I’m no pearl-clutcher. I consider myself compassionate, but not easily offended. And, yet, I’m still thinking about Andrea Jenkyns defiantly sticking her middle finger up at crowds outside Downing Street last week.

I’ve seen the footage and the stills from every angle; it’s old........

© Evening Express


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