Thursday, March 30, 2006

Res Ipsa Loquitur

CNN reports that Supreme Court Justice Scalia has castigated the Boston Herald reporter regarding "The Gesture," in Reporter misread hand gesture. As the comical controversy has grown, (see my post Because It Won't), Scalia decided to try to get the last word by writing a letter To the Editor of the Boston Herald.

There is no dispute that Scalia used "a" gesture upon leaving a Catholic Church in Boston after a Red Mass (a mass where lawyers pray for themselves). Only dispute is whether it was "The Gesture" or "The Finger." Scalia says all he did was give the "chin flick," a mild Italian gesture, explaining "that's Sicilian." So he says, what's all the fuss about? Even worse, despite the fact that he's the one using the Italian gestures and phrases, now he's annoyed that the Herald referred to him as an "Italian American Jurist." No More Mr Nice Blog has a similar take here and here.

In it's latest article on the issue, Scalia seeks Justice over gesture, the Boston Herald describes it best:

Famously feisty Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia yesterday denied that he made an obscene gesture Sunday inside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, accusing the Herald staff of 'watching too many Sopranos episodes.'
But that's not the end of the story. Although I noted yesterday that the Catholic paper, the Pilot, refused to publish the picture that was taken of Scalia making "The Gesture," the photographer must have missed that word. Apparently, the Photographer has spoken.

The Herald has reported, in Photographer: Herald got it right, that "the freelance photographer who captured the moment has come forward with the picture." It notes:
"It's inaccurate and deceptive of him to say there was no vulgarity in the moment," said Peter Smith, the Boston University assistant photojournalism professor who made the shot.

Despite Scalia's insistence that the Sicilian gesture was not offensive and had been incorrectly characterized by the Herald as obscene, the photographer said the newspaper "got the story right."

* * * *

Smith was working as a freelance photographer for the Boston archdiocese's weekly newspaper at a special Mass for lawyers Sunday when a Herald reporter asked the justice how he responds to critics who might question his impartiality as a judge given his public worship.

"The judge paused for a second, then looked directly into my lens and said, 'To my critics, I say, 'Vaffanculo,' punctuating the comment by flicking his right hand out from under his chin, Smith said.

The Italian phrase means "(expletive) you."
You think maybe this guy didn't like the fact that Scalia lied about what happened? Gee, I bet he went to Catholic school and was taught that lying was a sin.

When contacted, Scalia's PR person said that the Letter to the Editor "defending his gesture at the cathedral ' speaks for itself.'" (Legal translation = Res Ipsa Loquitur). It sure does. I also wonder what gesture Scalia's going to make when he reads this latest entry into the frey.

For the non-Italians of the world, the meaning of the Italian expression 'Vaffanculo,' quoted above, can be found at Urban Dictionary.


No comments: