"I can see why tiger aphorisms don't catch on."
It seems that a hand gesture involving a character lifting his or her hand, and sticking up the index finger, is often associated with the idea that said character is saying something profound and/or philosophical, whether according to the character, the author, or both. Especially Narm-y
if the character closes his or her eyes while doing this, suggesting self-satisfaction.
Often parodied to the point of subversion or even inversion, though.
Not to be confused with Giving Someone the Pointer Finger
, a declarative use of another finger
, or an admonishing finger wagging
Anime and Manga
- Calvin and Hobbes has this done frequently by at least Calvin and his dad, and by Hobbes, who provides the page image.
- Also pretty common in Peanuts, except that there a character would raise his or her entire fist. (Apparently, Charles Schulz didn't realize that this is a common socialist gesture.)
- Garfield does this a lot, especially when addressing the reader.
- A folk tale has a peasant be mistaken for a doctor through a series of misunderstandings. When several scholars visit to test the renowned intelligence of this doctor, he lies in bed pretending to have lost his voice. One of the scholars goes in and holds his finger up, ready to launch into a long speech on how there is only one God. The peasant thinks it stands for "I'll poke your eye out", and responds with holding three fingers out for "I'll poke out both your eyes and cut off your nose". The scholar returns astonished, for as he was about to prove there was only one God, the doctor cut it short with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
- Kamen Rider Kabuto: This pose is part and parcel of Souji Tendo's Catch Phrase, where he points to the sky as he relates a piece of wisdom from his grandmother.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "Hush" the Scoobie Gang have had all their voices taken away, so Giles does this as Mr. Exposition when making a dramatic point.
- Stargate SG-1 has a humorous instance where the Asgard Thor drops in on an international meeting discussing the Stargate:
: Senator Kinsey. O'Neill suggested that I send you to a distant planet for your actions here today
, but I am reasonably certain his statement was in jest.
Kinsey: (holds up one finger) I'm sure it was, Commander-
Thor: (copies the gesture) Supreme Commander.
- Fuller House : DJ frequently mixes this with a Finger Wag.
This finger? It's ninety per cent of parenting.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic does this in the "Dare To Be Stupid" video. Of course, this being Weird Al, he was emerging from a large pot with mashed potatoes in his hair, expression completely deadpan, while proclaiming "Mashed potatoes can be your friends."
- King Harkanian from the Zelda CDi game Faces Of Evil, does this while saying "mah boi, this peace is what all true warriors strive for!" See context here.
- Another CDi example, this time from Hotel Mario: "If you need instructions on how to get through the hotels, check out the enclosed instruction book."
- Henry of Fire Emblem Awakening does this perpetually, whether he's cheerful, nervous, cheerful, calm, or cheerful. His calm expression really mimics most examples of this trope, though. (Every expression has his eyes closed, save for the nervous one.)
- Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender, had one when he was impersonating his Uncle giving him sage advice.
Zuko: How am I supposed to convince these people that I'm on their side? What would Uncle do? [Impersonating his Uncle, pacing and holding up his finger] Zuko, you must look within yourself to save yourself from your other self. Only then will your true self reveal itself. [Dropping the impersonation and getting frustrated] Even when I'm talking for him I can't figure out what he means!
- Ferb Fletcher of Phineas and Ferb is typically depicted in this pose◊.
- The Smurfs: Brainy Smurf does it every time he lectures the other Smurfs.
- Practical Pig in Disney's Three Little Pigs. The finger point, in fact, was very common in the early days of The Golden Age of Animation, as mentioned on The Illusion of Life. Animators were starting to animate dialogue, and the pointing finger was the most popular way of hitting the accents on the voice track. As their skills improved and found more sophisticated ways of matching the vocals, use of the finger was curtailed as too cliche.
- Frequently used by Dexter on Dexter's Laboratory.
- Subverted in the infamous episode "Dexter and Computress Get Mandark!", where Dex puts one up, but doesn't say anything because the child narrator can't think of anything/forgot his line.
- In South Park, Towelie does this when dispensing towel advice.
- Baymax from Big Hero 6 does this frequently when making a declaration.
- Used in The Ren & Stimpy Show. Often, keeping in tune with the show's style, the finger will be ridiculously larger and more detailed than the rest.
- This probably goes back to Plato (the quintessential Western philosopher), as depicted on the famous fresco The School of Athens by Raphael. In fact, Plato's upward-pointing finger is contrasted by Aristotle's downturned palm, which symbolically depicts Plato's idealized view of nature and Aristotle's more materialistic way of thinking.
- Socrates, the philosopher guru who taught Plato, is depicted as this in this famous depiction of his death◊. Artistically, the painter was making heavy use of lines, particularly the strong lines and right angles of Socrates' pose, for logic and order.
- Depictions of biblical prophets and apostles often put them into this pose.
- Fidel Castro, of all people, was caught on camera doing this while scolding fellow Latin strongman Hugo Chavez for his occasional anti-Semitic statements.
- Bill Clinton: "I did NOT have sexual relations with that woman."