having people not gesturing with all five fingers

tphuong122002

Senior Member
Vietnamese Vietnam
Hi All,

After an Iraqi reporter had thrown his shoes at President Bush, the President said, "Let me talk about the guy throwing his shoe. It's one way to gain attention. It's like going to a political rally and having people yell at you. It's like driving down the street and having people not gesturing with all five fingers. ..."

What does having people not gesturing with all five fingers mean? Is it bad? How does it look like? Could anyone help explain?

Here is the link: http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/14/bush.iraq/index.html

Many thanks!
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    If they are gesturing with less than five fingers, they are probably gesturing with only one finger - the middle finger raised in the typical "F.U." position. It's called "giving the finger" and you may see a [photo] of President Bush himself, giving what he calls the "one finger victory salute" here.
     
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    masatom

    Banned
    Japanese
    Hello.
    Just a question.
    How many fingers do you have?

    In Japanese, we have five fingers in each hand. But I was taught that you have four fingers and a thumb in English.
    In other words, do you call a thumb as a finger?

    According to this context I think you do.

    Thanks in advance.
     
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    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    If I'm talking very generally, Masatom, I have 10 fingers. If I want to draw particular attention to the existence of thumbs, I have 8 fingers and 2 thumbs.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Member Emeritus
    English - England
    So five-finger exercises are exercises for one hand on the piano. I'm not sure that's right. I've seen them in two clefs. I think the point may be that you start in a position for each hand, probably an octave apart, and practise playing without moving the hands. The expression bears out what Ewie is saying, I think.
     
    Come on, people; this was a Dubbyaism. It doesn't have a meaning!

    And I'm not being facetious. There is no reported precedent for the phrase "gesturing with all five fingers"

    Surely, it isn't being suggested that President Bush has become so subtle of speech that he was conjuring up a single-finger salute by denying the use of all five fingers, is it?
     

    Æsop

    Banned
    English--American (upstate NY)
    Does this reasonable question have to become an excuse for Bush-bashing? If he said it, it looks to me like a clever circumlocution for "giving the finger." I am sorry that Mr. Beach is pained by the idea that Mr. Bush might violate Mr. Beach's assumptions about him.
     
    Does this reasonable question have to become an excuse for Bush-bashing? If he said it, it looks to me like a clever circumlocution for "giving the finger." I am sorry that Mr. Beach is pained by the idea that Mr. Bush might violate Mr. Beach's assumptions about him.
    When trying to understand somebody's use of language, it is necessary to consider their background and precedents. President Bush has a track record of many verbal gaffs, particularly when under pressure. I'm afraid he doesn't have a reputation for eloquence, articulacy or bons mots. Usually, what has gone before gives clues about what is yet to come. It is therefore my opinion that this was not an example of "clever circumlocution" but another piece of clumsiness.

    That said, this exchange will probably get deleted.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    When trying to understand somebody's use of language, it is necessary to consider their background and precedents. [....] Usually, what has gone before gives clues about what is yet to come. [....]
    If we can make sense of what someone says by using our ordinary understanding of language and social conventions, I see no reason to resort to an ad hominem argument.
     

    panjandrum

    Senior Member
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Taking into account everything I know about President Bush, I believe that he is very familiar with one finger salutes. I find nothing strange, obscure or inconsistent about his using the expression having people not gesturing with all five fingers to allude to having people making one-fingered gestures.

    KB may not be aware that this is not the first time the President has used this expression.

    "I frankly felt like the reception we received on the way in from the airport was very warm and hospitable, and I want to thank the Canadian people who came out to wave - with all five fingers," Bush said with a smile.
    November 2004 LINK
     
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    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    When I was looking for a photo of GWB* giving the one-finger salute ... I was spoilt for choice: it seems to be a favourite gesture of his. I believe his use of having people not gesturing with all five fingers may have been what is called humor.


    *George W.Bush, of course.
     
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