virus: Fw: Socrates gets flipped off

Tim Rhodes (
Wed, 24 Feb 1999 08:56:04 -0800



Let’s thank the Greeks. They gave us Plato. They gave us Socrates. … And they gave us The Finger. I’m talking about the middle finger. That dirty digit. The one that tells it like it is. The one they call, “The Bird.” In The Finger: A Comprehensive Guide To Flipping Off" (Acid Test Productions), authors M.J. Loheed, Matt Patterson and Eddie Schmidt trace The Finger’s long, pointed history as far back as 423 B.C. in an early version of Aristophanes’ The Clouds.

Of all people to receive the first documented Bird, it was Socrates. The great philosopher was locked in an argument, when his opponent flipped him a good one. It’s hard to tell what Aristophanes expected, but the audience hated it. The Clouds finished last in an Athenian theater competition, and the playwright deleted the dirty segment from the classic finished version. “Then, just like now, the finger wasn’t considered high-minded. But it was clearly part of the society,” said Schmidt. “In some Greek theater, the actually hit each other with leather phalluses. This was actually a step up.”