Obscene hand gesture in newsreel?

Discussion in 'General' started by Karambalaya, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Karambalaya

    Karambalaya Junior Member

    There's this small detail in the newsreel(*) for the liberation of Oslo that I've been wondering about. One of the brits can be seen doing an energetic V-sign, but his knuckles are outward, making it the obscene hand gesture (especially in a british context). Churchill did the same mistake, but shouldn't someone in the RAF be more aware of its offensive meaning? What do you think?

    * Frigjøringsdagene 1945 - YouTube (at 3 minutes, 11 seconds)

    [​IMG]
     
  2. kiwigeordie

    kiwigeordie Senior Member

    Looks like it could be a case of, "The war's over. I've survived. Up yours Adolf!

    On the other hand, he could just be dyslexic.:D
    Pete
     
  3. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Karambalaya

    Obscene hand gesture in newsreel?
    There's this small detail in the newsreel(*) for the liberation of Oslo that I've been wondering about. One of the brits can be seen doing an energetic V-sign, but his knuckles are outward, making it the obscene hand gesture (especially in a british context). Churchill did the same mistake, but shouldn't someone in the RAF be more aware of its offensive meaning? What do you think?

    * Frigjøringsdagene 1945 - YouTube (at 3 minutes, 11 seconds)


    Firstly, welcome to the Forum !

    Now, as to your suggestion that the young man was making an obscene gesture may I respectfully suggest that in this case you are probably 100% wrong.

    Here this lad is, smoking a cigarette, and he responds to the cheers of the crowd by putting his cigarette down and making a "V for Victory" sign.

    He doesn't have time to think about where to place his knuckles....he just waves two fingers in the air in what he thinks is a fair representation of the V for Victory sign and, blow me down, 67 years later you are having a go at him :)

    Never mind...... thanks for drawing our attention to this terrific footage and do enjoy your stay here !

    Ron
     
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  4. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum karambalaya - enjoy!

    I agree with Ron, but just maybe the RAF man was annoyed at the 'free' (or is it 'Fri') exploitation of his image rights by the newsreel... :smile: Nah, different times!

    Did you see those British troops marching into town, proud... and a lot clearly pleased for the Norwegians.

    Excellent post!

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Who invented the V for Victory sign during WW2?

    I always thought Churchill did it the 'offensive' way deliberately
     
  6. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    'Fred' was certainly popular wasn't he! :D


    interesting point, Andy. Dunno if you're like me, but
    I always think the two fingers is such a beautifully
    English gesture... the double 'opposites' meaning
    created during WW2 (Victory/Up Yours - as illustrated
    below) expanded it wonderfully... and was the work of
    genius. Then, not forgetting, during the Sixties it went
    on to become the sign for 'peace, man'...

    [​IMG]

    "The first unambiguous evidence of the use of insulting V sign
    in England dates to 1901, when a worker outside Parkgate
    ironworks in Rotherham used the gesture (captured on the film)
    to indicate that he did not like being filmed." Wiki

    great post with a good find, Karambalaya. Welcome
     
    Stormbird likes this.
  7. Ednamay

    Ednamay wanderer

    Is it not a lot older? Didn't the English show it to the French to prove they still had the fingers for their bows?

    Edna
     
  8. RemeDesertRat

    RemeDesertRat Very Senior Member

    Is it not a lot older? Didn't the English show it to the French to prove they still had the fingers for their bows?

    Edna

    correct, see here - and Churchill originally used the knuckle outward V sign as a gesture of victory - until someone explained to him what it meant!!!
     
  9. Alan Allport

    Alan Allport Senior Member

    Is it not a lot older? Didn't the English show it to the French to prove they still had the fingers for their bows?

    Almost certainly a modern urban legend, albeit an amusing one. As that wikipedia article points out, the first reference to this Agincourt-'explanation' dates to the 1980s. The V-sign itself is probably Victorian in origin.

    Best, Alan
     
  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    If you look at some German photographs of British POWs recently captured,you may find that the British reacted to their photograph taken by giving the authentic V sign in a casual sort of way but not too vigorous as to cause the photograph not to be published.

    I would think that the authentic V sign was the more prevalent gesture by the nation as an whole because of the British spirit, it conveyed.

    Interesting to see the recorded reaction of passive and active resisters in the occupied countries when the Germans tried to use the V symbol for themselves.It was often defaced,it wasn't their intellectual property to use, as you might say.
     
  11. Paul Pariso

    Paul Pariso Very Senior Member

    Lt Jack Reynolds, 2nd Battalion S. Staffs, showing a German photographer what he thinks, shortly after being taken POW at Arnhem..........:)
     

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  12. MarkVdK

    MarkVdK Junior Member

    Yep, mr. Reynolds 'V' is the best one in my humble opinion, and it if you read the story the Germans were really p*ssed of about him making it towards the photographer who accidentally made this beautiful picture at the right moment!
     
  13. wowtank

    wowtank Very Senior Member

    Just a thought the V sing did not come from medieval archers. (FACT).

    When did the loosely made fist waved at you come to mean what is does? Did people in would war 2 use the "W" word... _
     
  14. son of a rat

    son of a rat Senior Member

    Funny thing these hand signs.
     

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  15. Blutto

    Blutto Plane Mad

    Regardless of intent, the term 'obscene' is rather sensationalist and akin to the terminology used by the bottom-dwelling media. Rude maybe, but obscene?
     
  16. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    LOL just this morning I saw a member of the Syrian Free Army suddenly "catch himself on" mid-gesture and make the gesture the RIGHT way round to a Sky News camera!
     
  17. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just seen this & thought it'd go well here.
    A British soldier gives a V-for-Victory sign to German prisoners captured at El Alamein, 26 October 1942.


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