The Three Fingered Salute
January 21, 2001 5:11 AM   Subscribe

The Three Fingered Salute I was going to post to ask if anyone knew what this was. I did some digging and it is said to be a sign of serb solidarity (different fingers), something meaning "read between the lines" and Geroge's way of saying 'W'. OH, and the scouts too. What is it really?
posted by fullerine (17 comments total)
double post
posted by xiffix at 6:50 AM on January 21, 2001

This is one of the cases where searching for the URL of one of your links ( before posting would have prevented the double post.
posted by pnevares at 7:38 AM on January 21, 2001

Pnevares; sound like my ex wife!
posted by Postroad at 8:00 AM on January 21, 2001

For the record, the Serbian salute, which because the Serbs allied with the Axis during WWII, and because of recent nationalism, has been labeled fascist; but it's much older, perhaps going back to Roman times. I am not aware of any more generally fascist salute that is three-fingered. There is the "Heil Hitler" salute with the arm upraised, and the Italian Fascist salute with the palm held flat facing out.

The three-fingered salute of international scouting is a normal forehead salute using three fingers.

So, from where I sit, Dubya's "W" isn't a fascist salute. Unless you want to go there with the GOP thang.
posted by dhartung at 8:58 AM on January 21, 2001

The previous post was about what mages of the New President to choose so all those pedants can kiss my "using the internet for over a decade" arse.

I know it's not the fascist Serbian Salute, I was just wondering why it is cropping up. It just seems weird. I was wondering if someone else had any ideas.

posted by fullerine at 9:11 AM on January 21, 2001

Huh? I don't get your question. You feel that it's not just Dubya's "sign"? I don't see what the mystery is.
posted by gluechunk at 9:29 AM on January 21, 2001

Cheers for the link Gluechunk.

I find the whole thing really odd, but it seems it's just me.
posted by fullerine at 10:07 AM on January 21, 2001

3 more years, 3 more years!
posted by Mick at 10:23 AM on January 21, 2001

By the way, in case any of you are suddenly elected and want to give a shout out to us during photo ops, I have developed the MeFi sign. With your right hand, create an M by pointing your first three fingers downward and spreading them out. With the left hand, use your index and ring fingers to create a backwards F (pointing to the M). You could also point the F fingers in the right direction, but that's less natural. Go practice.
posted by gluechunk at 10:36 AM on January 21, 2001

Do you think he thought of that himself?

I betcha there were hours of focus group meetings, several committees and a few marketing specialists involved. All in an effort to come up with an easily recognisable "sign" that the common American could identify with.

W = Dubya
W = Win

Indeed, it reminds me of Mao's little red book.

posted by aladfar at 10:51 AM on January 21, 2001

Sorry for the bum link - you can see the little red book photo here.
posted by aladfar at 10:52 AM on January 21, 2001

Exactly. Why is it cropping up? Because they decided to start having him use it at every damn campaign stop, that's why. His supporters loved it. What papers were you reading for the last year, fullerine?

During the "campaign after the campaign", there was a movement to write "W1" on currency. Get it?

Still, as far as political campaigns go, I miss buttons, bumper stickers, yard signs, and campaign songs. "Albert comes from Tennessee, he's the man, the man for me ..."
posted by dhartung at 12:27 AM on January 22, 2001

What papers were you reading for the last year, fullerine?

British ones
posted by fullerine at 1:46 AM on January 22, 2001

hey, i was reading american papers and i've never heard of the W sign thing. perhaps i was reading substandard news. was this (stupid) sign really so prevalent in his campaign? maybe i just covered my ears and wept silently whenever i saw his name.
posted by pikachulolita at 3:05 AM on January 22, 2001

British ones

For "British ones", check the front page of a recent Economist. From some time in November or December. I can't locate the edition now.

It's the sign for "W" (George "Dubya's" middle initial) and the sign for "Win". The Economist put Dubya's hand in the "W" configuration in front of the letters "in" on their front cover.

The problem with the Serb salute is that most Yugoslavians (and many Europeans in general) use their thumb as 'one' when counting on their fingers. 'Two' is represented by the upraised thumb and index finger, while 'three' is indicated by the upraised thumb, index and middle fingers (the same as the Serbian salute).

This means that if you wish to order three of something in Muslim or Croat Bosnia and reinforce your crappy Serbo Croat (Yugoslavian) language skills by indicating the number of items you wish to order with your hand, you will most likely end up offending everyone who sees you, and will have to explain that you honestly meant nothing by it.

Believe me, I was in this position recently (in Bihac, Bosnia), and they do not take that salute lightly.
posted by syzygy at 8:12 AM on January 22, 2001

I have an old tourist guide to Europe (from 1962) that counsels travellers that in order to avoid an accidental use of a potentially offensive hand gesture, the middle, ring and pinky fingers should be upraised to signify the number 3, and the ring and pinky fingers for the number 2. The index finger can be used for one, the book continues, so long as the gesturer is careful to keep the palm side of their hand facing toward the person that they are addressing.

Apparently 4 and 5 fingers are benign thoughout the continent; there is no direction on how to properly gesticulate the numbers 4 and 5.

Appropos of nothing, I know, but this thread brought it to mind.
posted by Dreama at 2:16 PM on January 22, 2001

So the bastards's flashing gang signs now, eh? I wonder if Wu Tang know about this...
posted by Hackworth at 5:14 PM on January 23, 2001

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