Cultural Differences, The Peace Sign

Discussion in 'Chatter' started by Mopar Dude, Dec 1, 2019 at 9:57 AM.

  1. Mopar Dude

    Mopar Dude Active Member

    I love learning new stuff like this..... At our church we open with what we call sharing of the peace where we get up, mingle and welcome new faces. Those of us up around the altar tend to stay put as it would be odd to walk across the alter, so we flash the old fashioned peace sign at each other.

    So today we have a visiting guest musician from England and he is sitting next to me. All the folks flashed the old peace sign towards him and he acknowledged all with a smile. I could tell that something more was going on and asked him about it...... I was stunned to find out that the old 1960’s peace sign meant to a Brit what a middle finger flip off means to a Yank. We were effectively flipping the man off!! He took it all in good spirit thankfully.

    I quizzed him further about it after the service. I knew I had seen images of Churchill showing the peace sign. My guest acknowledged that was the case and was in fact a salute to his enemy, Hitler. It seems this goes back to medieval times. When enemy archers were captured, they would not be put to death. Their punishment was to have those two archery fingers severed so that they could no longer fight. And over the years the sign became a negative image to a Britt.

    Learning this was quite enlightening to me. Anyway, I just thought I might share it. If you visit England, do not offer a friendly peace sign!
    CoinBlazer likes this.
  2. JohnHamilton

    JohnHamilton Active Member

    I always thought that the “V” sign was the symbol for “victory” when Churchill used it. I remember seeing him use it all the way into the 1960s when he was in his 90s. With Hitler long dead, I am not so sure about you British friend’s interpretation.
    Mopar Dude likes this.
  3. Mopar Dude

    Mopar Dude Active Member

    You got me quite curious and I had to educate myself via Google this morning. Seems there are two variations;
    • The V-sign with palms facing inward is what a Brit would call "flicking me off". Same difference as the American middle finger.
    • The V-sign with palm facing outward is in fact the V for victory sign.
  4. Recusant

    Recusant Member

    The Agincourt story is apocryphal and apparently appeared late in the 20th century. In medieval battles, generally only knights and other important combatants were taken prisoner by the winning side, because they were a profitable source of ransom. Usually, common soldiers were simply killed or escaped the battlefield if they could. Second, there is no historical account of any such mutilation of archers taking place, and definitely none which give this explanation for the two-fingered insult.

    "Was the V-sign invented at the battle of Agincourt?" | Agincourt 600

    In the UK, it is most commonly interpreted as "up yours," and is a specific gesture. As you say, Mopar Dude, the palm of the hand faces inward, not toward the person being insulted, and there is usually an upward thrust of the hand. It's really not all that similar to the peace sign. The musician in the church was giving the Yanks a hard time.
    Mopar Dude likes this.
  5. JoeNation

    JoeNation FOX Lies, GOP buys!

    Where is our resident Brit @De Orc when we need him anyway? :)
    Mopar Dude likes this.
  6. Recusant

    Recusant Member

    I hope De Orc is OK. He was dealing with some health problems last we heard.

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