Fingering the finger
As much as the hermeneutic and theoretic aspects of the matter matter, there may also be practical and consequential situations in which the gesture and its intentionality are complicated beyond simple transparency of gesturer->gesture->interpretation.
"He's a lost soul," she said. "I hope he gets the help that he needs." [That would be Mark Foley, REP FL, disgraziato].Voting, like gambling, is a gesture - a motion of the hand culiminating in a giant voxpop finger pointing to and thereby legitimating one electoral contest-winning political animal.
Beyond the scandal, the resignation suddenly puts a safe Republican seat in jeopardy. Democrats need just 15 U.S. House seats nationally to take control of the House.
President Bush won Foley's district with 55 percent of the vote in 2004, but Florida's election laws for replacing a candidate will make keeping the seat a challenge for the GOP.
The state Republican Party is likely to name a replacement for Foley next week, but the state Division of Elections said Friday it's too late to take Foley's name off the ballot. Under Florida law, any vote for Foley will go to the candidate named to replace him by the state GOP.
"A vote for Foley is a vote for the new guy, which is really going to provide another interesting twist to the election," said Division of Elections spokesman Sterling Ivey. St. Pete Fecklessness*.
Pointing then can be a kind of act - not quite a speech act, but an act nonetheless: a gesture causes something new to occur.
Now factor in Florida's election law. The name (intentional object) on the ballot is and will be "Mark Foley." And no voter who points to Foley will be pointing to Foley. We don't yet know who will be the designated receiver of that gesture.
We are summoned, we make a gesture, the gesture is an act, yet within all that, the play of substitution makes any simple construction of gesture as intention somewhat less simple.
* "St. Petersburg Times reporters obtained the original e-mails last fall and interviewed two former pages, but didn't write a story."