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March 30, 2006

Recommended reading

The Guardian NewsBlog on Wrigley's research institute dedicated to establishing the health benefits of chewing gum.

A White Bear on empiricism.

Kevin Hayden: Scalia's lie exposed!

Scott Lemieux on Dan Savage on Iraq.

Martin Wisse on negerzoen.

Robin Varghese on Cultural Determinism and Democracy.


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Regarding Justice Scalia's hand gesture to a journalist:

I'm Sicilian. The hand gesture of flicking the collected fingers under the chin has always meant, "Who cares!", or its equivalent. Sometimes the gesture is a single, emphatic, forward thrust of the hand in a clear demonstration of disdainful indifference. I have never known it to be obscene. The worst it can be interpreted is as an insult of great dismissiveness.

Scalia accompanied the gesture with the assertion that his critics could>vaffanculo--which means something like "go take it up the ass."

Scalia probably though that was very witty for a split-second, given what many of his critics think of his opinion on the Lawrence sodomy case.


The hand gesture and the word, "Vaffanculo", are two separate idioms in a vernacular lexicon. The hand gesture is not obscene, but can range jn intent and interpretation from innocuous to insulting. "Vaffanculo" is definitely obscene and can range in usage from spirited banter to a literal expression of where you can shove "IT." The usual hand gesture that accompanies "Vaffanculo" is raising the right arm while holding the upper arm with the left hand, just above the bending joint. A great demonstration of this was offered by Marcello Mastroiani in the first of the three-part, short-films collection, "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow," by Vitorio De Sica.


It turns out that the actual comment made to Scalia was something like this, "Judge, a survey of 20 jurists and legal scholars who agree with your 'originalist' view of constitutional interpretation has produced 20 different interpretations of how the 'originalist' view should be applied. Scalia's response is now known to the public.

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