Friday, June 7, 2019

Square Finger 'Splainin'

The Square-Finger Gesture
If you watch politicians and media folk use their bag of on-camera gestures, one that is quite popular now is what I call the "square-finger" gesture.

It is common to all political party members and TV channel media members.

When I first noticed the wide array of spontaneous uses, I began to count how many times a day over the past year it was used during an interviewee's response/explanation to an interviewer's question.
... and ...
and ...
and ...
and ...
and ...
and ...
and ...
Not even this much ...

The square-finger gesture is used to "help explain" subject matter of many types.

It does not seem to matter which pundit, what time of day, what type of TV news or talk show, what subject matter you are viewing, or whether the square-finger gesture is used to man-splain or woman-splain what the splainer is 'splainin'.

No, the square-finger gesture is ubiquitous and shows up spontaneously.

After going through the mini-shock of even noticing the phenomenon in the first place, then seeking to make sense of it by attempting to count how many times a day it occurs, I next tried to make more sense of the square-finger gesture by determining the context in which the square-finger gesture was used.

I haven't finished that research, but at the moment it seems to be used when the 'splainer has some degree of fear attached to the subject matter being 'splained.

That is, it is used to minimize some aspect of the subject matter at hand by indicating "this subject matter is only this big, so I am in control of it" a la "Comparing a Group-Mind Trance to a Cultural Amygdala".

I have not yet finished my research on this, so help me out on this one by informing me and fellow Dredd Blog readers if you too have noticed the square-finger gesture (and don't forget to keep sending in your annual helpful responses to "My First Science Fiction Novel").

While doing so, remember that football is played on both sides of the ball (How to control the TV with gestures).

The phenomenon has not made it to one particular online site yet:
"Gestures are a form of nonverbal communication in which visible bodily actions are used to communicate important messages, either in place of speech or together and in parallel with spoken words. Gestures include movement of the hands, face, or other parts of the body. Physical non-verbal communication such as purely expressive displays, proxemics, or displays of joint attention differ from gestures, which communicate specific messages. Gestures are culture-specific and can convey very different meanings in different social or cultural settings. Gesture is distinct from sign language. Although some gestures, such as the ubiquitous act of pointing, differ little from one place to another, most gestures do not have invariable or universal meanings but connote specific meanings in particular cultures. A single emblematic gesture can have very different significance in different cultural contexts, ranging from complimentary to highly offensive. This list includes links to pages that discuss particular gestures, as well as short descriptions of some gestures that do not have their own page. Not included are the specialized gestures, calls, and signals used by referees and umpires in various organized sports. Police officers also make gestures when directing traffic. Mime is an art form in which the performer utilizes gestures to convey a story.Charades is a game of gestures."
(Wikipedia, emphasis added).

1 comment: