Titanic Fingering

                                       Can you confirm the following? It sounds rather fishy to me: "In
                                    the film Titanic, the character Rose is shown giving the finger to Jack,
                                   another character. Man people who have seen the film question
                                   whether 'giving the finger' was done around the time of the Titanic
                                  disaster, or was it a more recent gesture invented by a definat seventh
                                  grader. According to research, here's the true story:
                                  'Before the battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory
                                  over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured
                                  English soldiers. Without the middle finger it would be impossible to
                                  draw the renowned English longbow and therefore [soldiers would]
                                   be incapable of fighting in the future. This famous weapon was made
                                   of the native English yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow
                                    was known as "plucking the yew". Much to the bewilderment of the
                                    French, the English won a major upset and began mocking the
                                     French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French and
                                      saying, "See we can still pluck yew!".
                                                           'Over the years some folk etymologies have grown up
                                      around this symbolic gesture. Since "pluck yew" is rather difficult
                                       to say, like "pheasant mother plucker", which is who you had to go
                                        for the feathers used on the arrows for the longbow, the difficult
                                        consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a
                                        labiodental fricative "f", and thus the words often used in
                                        conjunction with the one-finger salute are mistakenly thought to
                                        have something to do with an intimate encounter. It is also
                                        because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows that the gesture is
                                        known as "giving the bird".
                                                             "And yew all thought yew knew everything!"'
                                                                                                                                     -Adam Koford,
                                                                                                                             Salt Lake City, Utah

                              Uh-huh. Now for the facts. The "one-finger salute", or at any
                             rate sexual gestures involving the middle finger, are thousands of
                            years old. In Gestures: Their origins and Distribution, Desmond
                            Morris and colleagues note that digitus infamis or digitus
                            impudicus (infamous or indecent finger) is mentioned several times
                           in the literature of Ancient Rome. Turning to our vast classical
                           library, we we quickly turn up three references. Two are from the
                           epigrammatist Martial: "Laugh loudly, Sextillus, when someone
                           calls you a queen and put your middle finger out." (The verse
                           continues:"But you are no sodomite nor fornicator either, Sextillus,
                            nor is Vetustina's hot mouth your fancy." Martial, and Roman
                            poets in general, could be pretty out there, subject-matter-wise.
                            Another verse begins: "You love to be sodomized, Papylus...").
                                                    In the other reference Martial writes that a certain
                             party "points a finger, an indecent one , at" some other people. The
                             historian Suetonis, writing about Augustus Caeser, says the
                             emperor "expelled [the entertainer] Pylades... because when a
                              spectator started to hiss, he called the attention of the whole
                              audience to him with an obscence movement of his middle finger."
                               Morris also claims that the mad Emperor Caligula, as an insult,
                                would extend his middle finger for supplicants to kiss.
                                                     It's not known whether one displayed the digitus
                               infamis in the same manner that we (well, you) flip the bird
                               today. In another of his books, Morris describes a variety of
                               sexual insults involving the middle finger such as the
                               "middle-finger down prod," the "middle-finger erect," etc, all of
                                which are different from the classic middle-finger jerk. But let's
                               not quibble. The point is, the middle-finger/phallus equation goes
                               back way before the Titanic, the Battle of Agincourt, or probably
                              even that time Sextillus cut off Pylades with his chariot.
                             And I ain't kidding yew.

                                    If you want more such trivia , check this out.