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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Very interesting article, but Cockney rhyming slang is probably the most stupid and pointlessly elaborate slang ever invented--and I should know, because I am a Londoner! The only brilliant, and actually poetic, phrase is "a dig in the grave."

The late great Peter Cook was appearing on a TV chat show some years ago when he mentioned some social blunder he had recently made: "I looked a right Sir Anthony."

Richard Brown

London, England

Dec 15 2008 - 4:58pm

Web Letter

"Sucking out of your thumb" is actually a Dutch expression "Uit je duim zuigen." As you probably know, "Afrikaans" is a variation of Dutch. From that it is literally translated to English.

Cornelis Gijsberts

Den Helder, The Netherlands

Dec 15 2008 - 12:07pm

Web Letter

Small point of clarification: Nixon's "V" for victory sign is not the same thing as a Harvey Smith. In Britain the two-finger victory signal was made famous by Churchill. However, when the hand is reversed so that the back of the hand is facing whomever it is that the person making the gesture is facing, the meaning is the same as the extended middle finger in the USA.

Harvey Smith was a champion show-jumper in the 70s, who caused turmoil in that staid and snooty world by giving the judges what was then called a "V-sign" to express his displeasure. It made the cover of most of the newspapers.

paul schwartz

Nyack, NY

Dec 12 2008 - 4:47am