flicking your hand under your chin

Spain- US
#1
There has been a lot of controversy about Supreme Court Judge Antonino Scalia in answering to a reporter flicking his hand under his chin and say Vaffanculo(?) I like to ask our italian friends: Is this gesture considered obscene or sort of dismissive, and what about Vaffanculo, what does it mean?
Opinions as far as the gesture, are divided, some say obscene others say no big deal, depending if you are , Napolitan, Sicilian etc.

Would somebody clarify?

Thank you
 
  • TrentinaNE

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    #2
    :warn: :warn: vaffanculo :warn: :warn: has been discussed in several other threads. It's more-or-less equivalent (in tone if not exact meaning) to :warn: :warn: fuck you :warn: :warn: If Scalia actually said this to the reporter, in a Catholic church of all places, then he's a bigger douche-bag than I thought.
     

    DiFossa

    Senior Member
    United States of America English|Italian Dialect
    #4
    When I taught Italian students and we would go on excursions, I would frequently hear them using that phrase... and I subsequently asked one of the students why they would use that remark over something truly mundane and she replied, it's no big deal. It's not that offensive. Perhaps it's becoming trendier and more acceptable by the youth? It is unnerving to hear it being used to liberally.
     

    cas29

    Senior Member
    Canada/English
    #5
    I think it is a lot like f*ck in English - for some people it is not a big deal, especially younger males, though increasingly for younger women too.

    However I think that for mature, mainstream speakers of English or Italian f*ck you and Vafa... are simply very rude and disrespectful.
     

    cas29

    Senior Member
    Canada/English
    #7
    While I don't think it is very nice for people to call each other names - I think going to court about name calling is pretty sad.

    A sign of the times, but not a good one!
     

    victoria luz

    Senior Member
    italy
    #8
    Just for truth's sake, and leaving aside any judgment about Mr. Scalia, his "elegance", his language, his deeds, his opinions, his whatever.

    I find it pretty amusing how this thing could raise hell, jam blogs, make the bold title of countless articles, without anyone questioning the authenticity of what reportedly was the meaning of the gesture itself.

    I appreciate TMoore (this thread's starter) asked about it, although he/she is already expressing a judgment by reporting inaccurately the scene. According to all I found (and there's a lot) about the incident, Mr. Scalia said no swear words at all, no V....lo, no anything.
    He made the gesture and explained it was sicilian. That it had to be oscene was the reporter's questionable deduction, and all the readers' blind belief :D (Oh, the power of the printed words. Oh, the power of prejudiced thinking. If uttered by a despicable person, any word/gesture can get an ugly meaning. Ugliness is in the eye of the beholder.)

    Well, as most Sicilians and southerners in general can easily recognize, the gesture is NOT OBSCENE at all, it is rather common (at least here) and it means "I don't give a damn, I don't care, Not my thing, Not my business".

    Gesto ---> la mano, con il dorso verso l'esterno, le dita verso l'alto, si agita sotto il mento con un movimento in avanti - tipo a ventaglio.
    Quello che si userebbe dicendo "Non ne voglio sapere".

    By the way, if the gesture was obscene, and if he said something offensive, how come there's no picture, no clip of it?

    My personal conclusion: se si vuole combattere qualcuno, bisognerebbe sempre farlo sul campo delle posizioni e delle opinioni. Le cacce alle streghe sono indice di malafede. Ce ne sarebbero di cose da rimproverare a Mr. Scalia...allora perchè inventarle?
     
    Spain- US
    #9
    I appreciate TMoore (this thread's starter) asked about it, although he/she is already expressing a judgment by reporting inaccurately the scene. According to all I found (and there's a lot) about the incident, Mr. Scalia said no swear words at all, no V....lo, no anything.


    I was simply asking for information, I had no idea of the meaning of the word already mentioned, I am not expressing a judgement, I am repeating
    what I read in the newspaper. See for yourself

    http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=132932
     

    ElaineG

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    #10
    Ragazzi,

    Let's discuss the phrase and the gesture, not the man or the incident.

    I agree that I was guilty myself of saying "he's losing it", and Nino certainly provokes passions of all types, but a discussion of the attitudes of the press etc. would certainly go over better in Cultural Discussions.

    Thanks,

    Elaine
     

    victoria luz

    Senior Member
    italy
    #11
    Thanks for the URL, TMoore. Strange how the reference to the word only appears here. I mean, I've read hundreds of reports and commentaries about the incident (all of them being in varying degrees VERY critical) and still no mention of it. Again, the fact that something was twisted makes me doubt also the rest. That is what I meant by the countereffect of "cacce alle streghe". If you need to make up things, people will tend to not believe even the true ones you might say.
     
    Spain- US
    #12
    victoria luz said:
    Thanks for the URL, TMoore. Strange how the reference to the word only appears here. I mean, I've read hundreds of reports and commentaries about the incident (all of them being in varying degrees VERY critical) and still no mention of it. Again, the fact that something was twisted makes me doubt also the rest. That is what I meant by the countereffect of "cacce alle streghe". If you need to make up things, people will tend to not believe even the true ones you might say.

    I agree with you, Victoria Luz, it could be that the reporter added the word up to give more emphasis to his charge.In many instances, the newspapers report according on which side they lean.
    I have no grudge against Judge Scalia, just reporting what I read
     

    uinni

    Senior Member
    Italy, Italian
    #13
    ElaineG said:
    And the gesture also means f*ck off (or at least non mi frega niente), at least where I lived in Sicily.:warn:
    In what I could define the "common" Italian perception of this gesture, it is preceived only as a way to indicate what victoria luz has already said in her post #8: I do not give a damn, I don't care.
    It is certainly not necessarily an offensive gesture (unless the "answer" di per sé is deluding the interlocutor personal expectations, of course :) )
    Also the person doing that gesture would do it to express his/her disappointment/disillusion about the situation his/her answer is all about.

    Uinni
     
    Top