All hail Adele:
I flung the middle finger. That was for the suits at the Brit Awards, not my fans. I’m sorry if I offended anyone but the suits offended me. I was about to thank the British public for all their support but they cut me off. So thank you very much for all your support. It’s amazing, so thank you very much.
We’re speaking, of course, of the Brit Awards, where Adele flicked the bird outside her hand, flipped nothing but the bird at you, too, gave the finger! to the crowd!, where rumour has it you’re the one she’s flinging–yeah, we’re done here. Of course Adele apologized, because everybody does; of course she said “sorry if I offended anyone,” because every celebrity apology demurs that way. And of course she turned it into a second verbal middle finger to the suits, for two reasons: first, she’s Adele and is awesome; second, she had many reasons. Besides host James Corden calling her a “tranny” (please don’t use that word, not even as a hosting gag), she was cut off during her acceptance speech thanks to Blur’s lead singer hogging the mic. It’d be insulting even if the Brit Awards hadn’t provided one of her breakout moments last year. And we’re only editorializing her as much as the award organizers did, considering their own apology:
“We regret this happened and we send our deepest apologies to Adele that her big moment was cut short this evening due to the live show over-running. We don’t want this to undermine her incredible achievement in winning our night’s biggest award. It tops off what’s been an incredible year for her,” the statement went on to say.
Now then. It’s easy to grumble “oh, but M.I.A. flipped the bird at the Super Bowl to mass hand-waving freakoutery and, very possibly, career consequences, while Adele gets apologized to.” That was my first reaction. But there are so many complications to that: the ceremonies’ respective audiences, the countries’ respective cultures, the Super Bowl already having reclaimed the suffix “-gate” for new generations of scandals, Adele being directly provoked and M.I.A. either illustrating her lyrics (i.e. prior planning) or being spontaneous (i.e. no reason)–and yes, probably the two artists’ personalities and/or looks, even if it’s just Adele being known as cheeky and M.I.A. being known as political. Instead, let’s just see this as a great moment: a great moment in awards-show defiance, a great moment in measured media reaction (except for that one bit by Corden; there could stand to be a little more HWFO about that) and a great moment in Adele history. Never forget.