The moving finger writes

Hats off to the BBC weatherman who flipped the bird on live TV. The raised middle finger of Mr Tomasz Schafernaker appeared on-screen after the news anchorman had made a snide remark about the accuracy of his forecasts. The camera then moved back to the newsreader, who squirmed in his chair like a man with a boil on his arse. 

There is no media functionary more deserving of a defiant gesture than the TV news anchorman. A pompous upstart who thinks that reading an autocue and pulling smug faces entitles him to esteem needs to feel the scorn of the masses. An erect digit sets the perfect tone for further affronts and aspersions. The weather presenter, by contrast, is an honourable and morally courageous actor. Those who make forecasts for a living, thereby running the risk of getting it wrong and looking like a pillock, deserve the respect of the righteous. 

When I mentioned this uplifting story to the manager of the safari camp, he missed the point entirely. 

“I don’t approve of men giving the weather forecast,” he remarked irrelevantly. “That’s a job for tasty girls in skimpy dresses. After watching the news, you need something soft and visually appealing.” 

“Would you like me to buy you a Teddy Bear?” I asked facetiously. 

He responded to my quip by raising his middle finger, which I interpreted as a laboured attempt at irony. He then ambled off to sit at his desk and play with his balls. 

I should mention, in passing, that I have nothing against female weather presenters. Back in my circus days, I remember a young lady called Ulrika Jonsson who delivered weather bulletins on a commercial TV station. She did her job competently enough, but I instinctively knew that it was merely a stepping stone for greater things. She later proved me right by having an affair with England’s football coach and saying the word “scrotum” on daytime TV. I believe she now has four children, each sired by a different father. It is a reproductive strategy that would make a female gorilla envious. 

Engaging though Ulrika was, I don’t recall her doing anything interesting with her finger on TV. Flipping the bird may have been too confrontational for a Swedish coquette, but there were other more feminine options. She could have appeared on a cookery program, sticking her finger into appetising dishes and sucking it clean, possibly while making ecstatic noises with her eyes shut. It’s little touches like this that persuade viewers to jot down recipes and look for the right ingredients in the supermarket. 

As for Mr Schafernaker, his intrepid finger has nothing more to prove. The cowardly executives at the BBC may banish him from the live studio, but a man of his calibre is bound to find another outlet for his talents. I would put him charge of the switchboard dealing with complaints from viewers about nudity and bad language. I’m sure he’d find novel ways of responding to their concerns in a sensitive and understanding manner. 

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