Monday, November 10, 2008

The Earnest Politician

This hand gesture, first brought to my attention by President Clinton, has got to be the most ridiculous hand gesture ever invented. I call it the Earnest Politician. It strikes me as something contrived by political strategists as a gesture to demonstrate the strength of a closed fist, but without the menacing impact.

I noticed it again when Sarah Palin started using it during the Presidential races this year. Note the limp thumb cradled firmly and straight by the index finger. Also note the broken wrist. A straight wrist would be too intense. In the photo, I'm wearing my sleeves rolled up to show that I am a politician who likes to "go to work."

Here is a better view of my rolled up sleeve, to reassure all you Joe Sixpacks out there who might be afraid that I'm just another desk jockey. As you can see I'm a non-threatening politician who is earnest about what I'm saying, and I'm not afraid of rolling up my sleeves.

Have you ever seen anyone who is not a politician in front of a camera making this gesture? It is a stupid bit of political correctness. It conjures up nothing but images of test groups to me. "So, how does this hand gesture make you feel? Threatened? Assured? Do you feel like you can trust this person? Now let's compare this hand gesture with an open palm and a closed fist." Blegh!

And woe betide any man who stands before the power of the DOUBLE Earnest Politician, where both hands are poised sternly to deliver a firm but non-threatening message! It's difficult to imagine a more impressive display of patriarchal strength without feeling overwhelmed.

Next topic: the politician's "thumbs-up," which is actually only half of a thumbs-up, with the thumbs pitched forward at a 45 degree angle, for some reason. This one I truly don't even understand. Is a thumbs-up somehow threatening? Why does it need to be modified? See examples...

That one by Obama where he's wearing the jacket has got to be the weakest thumbs-up I've ever seen. That's shameful.

A proper thumbs-up requires a strongly clinched fist with the thumb vectoring orthogonally away from the arm line. What is with these people? Maybe it's that clinched fist they think would just be too much for the public to handle. Could be. Whatever. Seems pretty lame to me.


skmckinn said...

OMG! (Yeah, I've been looking for a way to say "OMG.") My knowledge of Renaissance literature FINALLY comes in handy. This gesture, back in Shakespeare's day, was called the "fig" and was a female version of the now-popular "bird." (I say "female version" not because females USED it, but because it represented female naughty parts, whereas the bird represents know.)

Isn't that WEIRD??!!! They're shaking twats at us!!!!

(I guess that's not so weird for Bill Clinton. Actually, when you hink about it, it's kind of appropriate, but for different reasons, for BOTH Clintons. But Hillary doesn't do it, I don't think.)

skmckinn said...

PS I think you've cheated and gotten a few "Thumbs Up"-s in your pictures, there.

Digitizdat said...

That is fascinating! Why would that gesture ever fall out of popularity? Perhaps I'm reading too much into it. These politicians are actually showing us how PROGRESSIVE they are by flapping the fig at us. Also, I'll never look at a fig the same way again. Also, I never realized that the bird actually represents male genitalia.

And on the thumbs up pictures, yes they're definitely thumbs ups, but wimpy politician ones. I think you must've missed the last paragraph, where I changed the topic, foreshadowing another blog entry about the politician's thumbs up. This blog entry was kind of a twofer.