Do you speak with your fingers?

Photo: iStock
A protester anti-Trump made a rude gesture at a group of supporters of the american president gathered in the Center of the San Diego convention in may 2016.

The man has always loved to talk with his hands, but in the era of everything digital, the millénariaux have erected the chanson de geste to the rank of art, and their fingers become slogans which refer quickly to the last century all of those who do not understand anything…

On October 28, Juli Briskman, mother of a family, fifty-year old native of Sterling, in the United States, is starting her bike tour usual when it intersects with the procession of Donald Trump. Neither one nor two, she draws a strong finger in front of the car of the american president. The image, immortalised by a photographer, made the rounds of the media.


When asked about the reasons for his gesture, she says : “He passed by and my blood has a beat. I said to myself : “it did remove advertisements for inclusion in Obamacare, only a third of the population of Puerto Rico has electricity, and it’s still in his damn golf…” “


Marketing analyst for a company in the service of the government, the new queen of the networks is also dismissed, because of his gesture. But receives a massive support : 450 000 job offers spontaneous and 120 000 dollars, with a prize pool of sociofinancement launched by an admirer, who proclaims : “Juli Briskman is an inspiration to us all. “


It must be said that Donald Trump is not the first insult digital. After his election, the égoportraits of the major stretched out in front of the Trump Tower became a small trend of social networks, even from the actresses to the ways polished now dared the gesture, such as Marion Cotillard, went directly to post on the account Instagram of the president a salute of fingers to honor colorful, version émoji. After all, this symbol is available on smartphones from 2015, so you might as well enjoy it…


Major honour


All the more that this gesture to the origins of others seems to have slipped from the registry transgressive posture ” cool “. Because the major is now everywhere : on t-shirts, jewelry, and even in an american film of 2016 with a superhero disguised as a finger, which has not really marked the box-office. Frédéric Beigbeder has also done the poster for his latest film, Thierry Ardisson, the flailing front-facing camera each time it evokes a critic and the architect, octogenarian Frank Gehry has tended to be a journalist when he received a prize from the hands of the king of Spain.


As of 2012, the british designer Paul Allimadi was amused, in a column in Huffington Post, see the finger of honour to become a mode, identifying a countless number of young ladies of beautiful areas to brandish their major, with a great smile, on the social networks… It is that, in order to enroll in this millennium, it is better to learn a new language digital which the variety of émojis on smart phone reflects the rich : the thumbs-up to the “shaka” of surfers (thumb and little finger raised means that you will also send you good waves), the horns of the devil made with the index finger and the little finger (gesture from the middle rock, which means that today we spend just a good time), the slang of the fingers continues to grow… and, like all slangs, which escapes the uninitiated who dare to venture there without control codes.

The greeting of the gladiators to the codified gesture of rappers, hand expression has a function of recognition within a group. Psychologically, it plays on the mirror effect, and can safely say that we share the same values or the same knowledge of initiation.
Nicolas Adell, anthropologist

Slogans sign


In full presidential campaign, at the end of 2016, the mayor of Bordeaux Alain Juppé was found in a video mocking of the show Daily, Yann Barthes, after having tried to imitate a gang of teenagers in the process of executing the ” sign of Jul “. This gesture, created by the rapper of the same name, consists of forming two pistols with his hands, before tapping the one against the other. To connotation of ” cool “, it proved a massive hit in the course of recess and the soccer stadiums… And is obviously well laugh millénariaux when papy-boomers are trying their hand.


But if the millénariaux love slogans digital, they invented nothing. Because symbolic gestures exist since, always according to the anthropologist Nicolas Adell. “All societies have shared rituals to strengthen their ties, and the expression of the hand is part of it, he notes. The greeting of the gladiators to the codified gesture of rappers, hand expression has a function of recognition within a group. Psychologically, it plays on the mirror effect, and can safely say that we share the same values or the same knowledge of initiation. This process can express several records : the respect, prayer, belonging to a tribe, the insults… “


These actions that are highly symbolic are distinguishable from what the anthropologist calls ” the palaver gestures “, that is to say, all the gestures that one performs going through the motions with the hands as soon as one expresses them with passion and ” that serve only to support visually the speech, without saying much of anything. They are mere punctuation marks “. Punctuation, however, efficient since, according to the american psychologist Geoffrey Beattie, a specialist in non-verbal communication, gestures increases 60 % the reach of posts, as they have a direct link with our emotions. Reason for which, moreover, they often accompany the struggles, such as the raised fist, a symbol of revolt as much as a unit that has gone through the story and fights, from communists to Black Panthers. And which one of the evolutions has given the famous check, or fist bump, which is to greet each other by bumping fists.


Digitus impudicus


The original emblem of solidarity in the face of racial discrimination, such as the traces Shake It Out — a fascinating documentary that is devoted to him, the check is then moved to a rallying point in the counter-culture, hip-hop, before being, again, recovered by the all-from, up to turn into a game on the playground…


But iconic gestures do not have all have a story as strong, while some do not hesitate to embroider the legends. This is the case of the finger, which you can read here and there that the origin dates back to ancient Rome, where it would have carried the name of digitus impudicus (the finger immodest) and would have been cherished by Caligula. A legend that makes you smile Nicolas Adell : “It is always very difficult to establish the historic route of the gestures, and the finger is without a doubt democratized much later “, says he. All the gestures are rarely the same meaning from one country or culture to another, as already explained, the anthropologist Desmond Morris in the late 1970s in a vast anthology of human movement around the world (key of gestures, Ed. Grasset). The Twenty-first century, in the west, in any case, a digitus impudicus can bring in $ 120,000 to its author…