BEIJING, CHINA - Here it is, the foam hand with one finger "pointing up to God". Reportedly, 100,000 have been received from the North Korean manufacturer for the start of the 2008 Summer Olympics.
"50,000 of them are to be used in the opening ceremonies, mostly by school children.", according to the Daily Redundancy. The children are scheduled to use them in a rousing rendition of the "Happy, Happy Work Song" on Olympic Stadium Field.
The U.S Olympic Committee has voiced an informal concern, and China's Minister of Cultural Enforcement, Xau Xauzing has responded with a statement: "No one should be offended. This is our way of telling the world 'we are number one', and everyone else can have number two."
Elsewhere, Olympic organizers tried to downplay the incident, citing "...ethnic ignorance" and "cultural ambiguity". Some have been openly skeptical of the purported "defective foam fingers", though, and rumors circulate of formal complaints being filed from the Canadian delegation.
According to the report in the Daily Redundancy, some American officials remain privately skeptical that the foam fingers were a manufacturing error and oversight. "I think they are trying to send a message.", said one senior Defense Department spokesman who wished to remain anonymous. "Look at who they distributed them to."
Chinese officials acknowledged they were distributed to the athletes of the entire Chinese delegation, as well as the delegates from Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria and France. The French spokesman has said, "No comment.", and no word yet has been received from the other delegations.
What do you think?
Is this truly, showing "the finger" to the rest of the world, or simply an error on the part of Kim Jong-il (who is the only other government official to comment)? He has been quoted extensively as saying, "I know I'm an object of criticism in the world, but if I'm being talked about, I must be doing the right things."