I want my symbols back

Sometimes it is easiest to use a shortcut hand symbol to react to something. The good old thumbs down or thumbs up sign is reputed to go all the way back to the Roman Empire in gladiator contests. Thus it is recognized universally. After Trump used it reflexively during his campaign it became inextricably tied to his image. Not getting into politics here, but it felt uncomfortable to use that “thumbs up” symbol and still stay independent. So I had to consider some alternative hand symbol to respond wordlessly. What to use, what to use?

It seemed an easy choice. The old familiar “OK” sign seen here. But recently this has been hijacked to indicate “white power.” How? Look closely, the three top fingers are meant to stand for “W” and the arm and other two fingers make up the “P.” Huh? There is even an investigation into allegations that the recent Army-Navy game showed cadets flashing the sign as a secret code. Okay, people, knock it off. Stop taking perfectly simple hand symbols and making them into signs offensive to other groups. What is a person to do now?

So I turn to a favorite symbol from my past – the good old “peace sign” that started out as a “V for Victory” sign and was hijacked itself by my generation to stand for peace instead. But use care here also. It is acceptable to make the sign with palm toward the viewer but if reversed, with the back of the hand toward the viewer, it is regarded as offensive in Britain. Hard to win now-a-days. I’ll just keep my hands in my pockets. Harumph.

As always you can find more on http://www.walterthinnes.com and on Twitter @walterthinnes

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