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FW: History of the Middle Finger

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  • Lewine, Mark
    OK- I received this from one of my research interns; valid or part of the academic mythology? Or both? ... From: MORRIS, SCOTT [mailto:SCOTT.MORRIS@DFAS.MIL]
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 7, 2003
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      OK- I received this from one of my research interns; valid or part of the academic mythology? Or both?

       

      -----Original Message-----
      From: MORRIS, SCOTT [mailto:SCOTT.MORRIS@...]
      Sent:
      Friday, July 04, 2003 2:28 AM
      To: 56Chevy; Buffalofart; Cowboy; HubbleMan; Prof Lee; Lewine, Mark; SherlockBones; Sherri; HOHF, ALAN; Teegh-Mo'; Tufts Brian K A1C 366CMS/MXMV; Two-Rock Tony; Wm o' Hiram; WonderWomen!; XEROS, NICK
      Subject: History of the Middle Finger

       

       

       

       History of the Middle Finger

       

      Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over
      the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English
      soldiers.

      Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw  the renowned
      English longbow and therefore be incapable of fighting in the future.

      This famous weapon was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of
      drawing the longbow was known as "plucking the yew" (or "pluck yew").

      Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and
      began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French,
      saying, "See, we can still pluck yew! PLUCK YEW!"

      Over the years some 'folk etymologies' have grown up around this symbolic
      gesture. Since 'pluck yew' is rather difficult to say (like "pleasant mother
      pheasant plucker," which is who you had to go to for the feathers used on
      the arrows for the longbow), the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning
      has gradually changed to a labiodental fricative 'F', and thus the  words often
      used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute are mistakenly thought to have
      something to do with an intimate encounter.

      It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows that the symbolic
      gesture is known as "giving the bird".

      See, you should have listened in History class! 



    • anthropmor@AOL.COM
      In a message dated 7/7/03 11:54:05 AM Central Daylight Time, ... Isn t this enough of a clew - PLUCK YEW ???? I ll check the urban legends reference page, or
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 7, 2003
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        In a message dated 7/7/03 11:54:05 AM Central Daylight Time, mark.lewine@... writes:



        This famous weapon was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of
        drawing the longbow was known as "plucking the yew" (or "pluck yew").


        Isn't this enough of a "clew" - PLUCK YEW ????
        I'll check the urban legends reference page, or Jan Brunvand - but I'm pretty confident this is a gag.
        Best Wishes- MIke Pavlik

      • Popplestone, Ann
        Additional info http://www.urbanlegends.com/misc/middle_finger.html ... From: anthropmor@AOL.COM [mailto:anthropmor@AOL.COM] Sent: Monday, July 07, 2003 5:45
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 7, 2003
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          Message
          Additional info
           
          -----Original Message-----
          From: anthropmor@... [mailto:anthropmor@...]
          Sent: Monday, July 07, 2003 5:45 PM
          To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
          Cc: ANTHRO-L@...
          Subject: Re: [SACC-L] FW: History of the Middle Finger

          In a message dated 7/7/03 11:54:05 AM Central Daylight Time, mark.lewine@... writes:



          This famous weapon was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of
          drawing the longbow was known as "plucking the yew" (or "pluck yew").


          Isn't this enough of a "clew" - PLUCK YEW ????
          I'll check the urban legends reference page, or Jan Brunvand - but I'm pretty confident this is a gag.
          Best Wishes- MIke Pavlik



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