Re: how many bastards are there, anyway?

Truly Donovan (
Fri, 06 Sep 1996 22:09:44 -0600

Kim Moser wrote:
> N.R. Mitchum wrote:
> > [...]
> > The OED accepts that "cuckold" comes from an old Germanic word
> > for "capon." A wide field for speculation opens here.
> >
> > When posing with friends for a photo, have you ever stuck two finger
> > up behind the head of the person beside you? I wonder if this might
> > not go all the way back, somehow, to this phrase.
> I doubt it, since photography wasn't invented until the mid-19th century
> and the practice of holding up two fingers, rabbit-ears-style, behind
> the head of the person next to you probably didn't come into practice
> until well after that (e.g. the beginning of the 20th century). I don't
> know when "old Germanic" came about but I'm sure it was hundreds of
> years before.

Do you really believe the gesture necessarily came after the invention
of photography? Or that the gesture only has meaning if someone takes a
snapshot of it?


Truly Donovan