Thumbs Up is not always a Good Thing

I thought I would post this as part of my worldly education since a number of our loyal readers find us internationally ignorant because we say its OK for Goku to be played by a white guy and that I had never heard of Korean pop sensation Rain. The article talks about Seven Innocent Gestures that can get you Killed Overseas. Sounds like a Borat movie Title, but the article has very little to do with movies. Except this part: says this about the common “Thumbs Up” gesture:

What you think you are saying:
“Ayyyyy! I’m the fuckin’ Fonz!”What you are actually saying:
“Ayyyyy! I’m going to jam my thumb in your anus!”

What the hell?
It’s not just the Middle East. This seemingly universal gesture is also hideously offensive in West Africa and South America, whose citizens would doubtless get really confused if they ever watched Ebert and Roeper. “This movie is great, Bill! So great that I’d like to anally rape it with my thumb!”

The thumbs-up sign has been confusing people for thousands of years. Contrary to Hollywood legend, Roman gladiators were not spared by a thumbs-up, but by a hidden thumb. If the origins of both gestures are linked, we can only assume this meant, “Do not kill the prisoner, he seems the perfect solution to the emperor’s arthritic finger.”

I found this very amusing and despite the popular belief of a very small minority I am fascinated with other cultures and their etiquette.

Some of the things we do or say in North America (or even smaller subcultures) are just as bizarre to other cultures, but with the global dominance of the Hollywood machine I am not surprised that most North Americans presume these commonplace gestures would have the same meaning somewhere else.

I wonder if “flipping the bird” is somehow considered a polite gesture somewhere?

The Ebert and Roeper of Botswana give this movie 3 flailing middle fingers and a steaming pile of fresh deification. In other words… we loved it!

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