Giving Australia the finger


I think the expression ‘giving someone the finger’ is roughly the same in America as it is in Australia. It’s a simple gesture: raise your middle finger with palm pointed inwards and gesture vigorously upwards to express some contempt or cheeky aggro to someone who has caused offence or annoyance. Or, in the case of Australians, it can be an expression of endearment. But we’re just strange like that. Do be careful, though, as not everyone is equally comfortable with the symbolism.

But the notion took on a very different turn here in Australia this week thanks to the Prime Minister’s live-in partner.

Tim Mathieson – as First Bloke – seems a fairly genuine and genial fellow. He’d need to be to tolerate the denigration directed as his missus; Julia Gillard. She has copped more flak than most PMs in Australian history and Tim appears to have learned to be quite stoic.

He’s just learned another lesson and it seems to have been quite painful.

Tim was asked to speak at a function with the PM and he commented on the need for men to seek prostate examinations. Cancer of this appendage is a major killer and Tim did the right thing by highlighting our general reluctance to go get the  big prod.

So, he cheekily suggested that when we men do so, we should choose a diminutive, female Asian doctor to conduct the hands-on examination.

Well, didn’t that bring the house down! Oh, they leapt on him from every direction with all manner of commentators and public figures condemning him for inappropriate comments.

Even the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, mounted his high horse and denounced Tim in terms that made him seem like a murderous paedophile rapist.

I think all these detractors are pathetic. Sure, it was a comment that might best have been left unsaid – not because it was in any way not suited to the task at hand – but simply because of all the tight-arsed, clenched-sphinctered turkeys who seem to think Australia should have abandoned its characteristic risqué approach to humour. Bugger them!

If anyone is to persuade Aussie males to get the big finger, then it is going to take some humour to register the point, And Tim did just that.

I think he did bloody well and he does not deserve the condemnation that rained down on him from every direction today. Including from his missus who failed – abjectly yet again to provide leadership – by not standing by her man.

As one who has refused to get an examination for fear of the finger, I can readily identify with Tim’s attempt at humour. And I’m proud of him for doing so.

Go, you good thing, Tim.