Peoplewatching : The Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language

Peoplewatching : The Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language

Language: English

Pages: 400

ISBN: 0099429780

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Paperback: 400 pages Publisher: Vintage (2002) Language: English ISBN-10: 0099429780 ISBN-13: 978-0099429784 Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.6 x 7.8 inches Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

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to a great deal of social damage and disruption. Unhappily, redirected aggression is a widespread phenomenon. Indeed, it probably accounts for the majority of aggressive incidents. The reason for this is clear enough: only an individual who is fairly safe from retaliation is going to permit himself the frequent, open expression of his hostility. The boss insults his assistant, knowing that the assistant dare not reply. The assistant withdraws, smouldering, and turns on his secretary. The

insulter's thumbnails, or the Punjab 'snake-tongue' sign, in which the insulter flickers an extended forefinger back and forth like the tongue of a snake. 286 10. Dirt Signals. In a survey of nearly 200 tribal cultures around the world, an attempt was made to find out whether there are any globally accepted elements of human beauty. It was discovered that the only aspect of human body appeal which applied universally was cleanliness and freedom from disease. Because filthiness means ugliness,

nonplussed at the total failure of this sign when directed, say, towards an Italian driver. The chances are that the victim of this gross abuse will smile happily and wave, before speeding off. The explanation, of course, is that to the Italian there are no subtle distinctions to be made between the two palm postures. All he sees is the V-shape made by the first and second fingers thrust aloft, and for him this can only spell victory. It is intriguing that the Englishman's worst obscene gesture

that most Mediterranean peoples gesticulate more freely than northern Europeans. The trend is not so 85 PEOPLEWATCHING BATON SIGNALS much national as geographical, and the obvious implication is that it has something to do with temperature differences but, as yet, no one has been able to explain why this should be. Class differences may also exist, but these have been exaggerated. It is true that upper-class Victorians frowned on all forms of social disinhibition and the lively use of the

scuffles on the borderlands between the two rival territories. This is particularly clear at football matches, where the fan-club headquarters becomes temporarily shifted from the club-house to a section of the stands, and where minor fighting breaks out at the unofficial boundary line between the massed groups of rival supporters. Newspaper reports play up the few accidents and injuries which do occur on such occasions, but when these are studied in relation to the total numbers of displaying

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