…and giving the finger means “I am unhappy that you cut me off, fellow motorist”
Scalia gives us a lecture on Italian hand gestures:
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in a scathing letter to the Boston Herald, accused the newspaperâ€™s staff of watching â€œtoo many episodes of the Sopranosâ€ for interpreting a hand gesture he made at a cathedral as obscene.
The Boston Herald reported Monday the justice made â€œan obscene gesture, flicking his hand under his chinâ€ in response to a question about whether lawyers might question his impartiality in matters of church and state. The incident occurred after he attended Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
But Scalia wrote in a letter to the editor that the gesture was not obscene at all, but dismissive. Scalia said he explained the gestureâ€™s meaning to the reporter, to no avail.
Scalia quoted from â€œThe Italiansâ€ by Luigi Barzini: â€œThe extended fingers of one hand moving slowly back and forth under the raised chin means â€˜I couldnâ€™t care less. Itâ€™s no business of mine. Count me out.â€â€™
Scalia wrote that the reporter concluded it was offensive because he initially explained his gesture by saying, â€œThatâ€™s Sicilian.â€ He blamed the mistake on excessive exposure to the HBO crime family drama.
â€œFrom watching too many episodes of the â€˜Sopranos,â€™ your staff seems to have acquired the belief that any Sicilian gesture is obscene â€” especially when made by an â€˜Italian jurist.â€™ (I am, by the way, an American jurist.)â€ Scalia wrote.
Who just happens to use Italian gestures.
But, sorry. I’m as Italian as Nino (but without the cool Italian first name) and the gesture is one of contempt and is generally taken to mean: vaffanculo!.
It’s not surprising that the reporter saw it that way since that is Scalia’s attitude towards anyone who disagrees with him.