Re: how many bastards are there, anyway?

Kim Moser (
Fri, 06 Sep 1996 15:56:23 -0400

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.

I wonder what the earliest photograph is in which someone can be seen
playing the "rabbit ears" joke on the person next to them? (Not counting
"victory" photographs from WWI in which it would be difficult to tell
whether someone was indicating rabbit ears or the victory symbol.)