I was avoiding work one day, mindlessly perusing Facebook photos when I found my editor’s page, replete with pictures of him hanging backstage with a galaxy of guitar greats. I noticed roughly half these rockers had one or two hands lifted in the horn sign.
It got me thinking, what does this hand gesture
mean? After thousands of hours of painful
research done exclusively online, here’s
what I’ve found. (Let me preface this next
statement: As you well know, gentle reader,
nobody would post anything on the interwebs
without exhaustive research that proves
each statement 100 percent accurate—which
makes my finding nothing short of shocking!)
Apparently, rock stars, celebrities, and
our world leaders have quietly formed an
alliance in order to serve both Satan and
the Illuminati, which will eventually destroy
America and Christendom.
This hand gesture—let’s just call it The Sign
of One’s Allegiance to Satan and All that is
Unholy (or the gesture, for short)—has been
around for centuries. In 1897, Bram Stoker
referenced it in Dracula. (Keanu Reeves’ acting
in the 1992 movie remake is a testament
to the hellish nature of this work.) It first crept
into our musical culture with John Lennon’s
cartoon figure on the cover of Yellow
Submarine—let’s just blame Yoko for that one
and move on.
The gesture grew in popularity when Ronnie
James Dio joined Black Sabbath in 1979. I
was unwilling to travel to the depths of hell
to interview the recently departed Dio, but I
did find a 2001 interview with him on Metal-Rules.com, in which he said, "It’s not the
devil’s sign like we’re here with the devil. It’s
an Italian thing I got from my grandmother
called the 'Malocchio.' It’s to ward off the Evil
Eye or to give the Evil Eye."
I was raised by an Italian mother, and the only
hand signal I ever saw was the sign of the
cross after the blessing or maybe the swift
motion of a hand swinging toward my head if
I ate before grace. Judging from the horned
devil whipping the drowning priest on the
cover of Dio’s solo album, there may be a bit
more to the gesture then he is letting on.
Gene Simmons first introduced the gesture in
1977 on the cover of Love Gun. The 'Knight
in Satan’s Service'—whose song "God of
Thunder" freaked me out in third grade—insists that he got the gesture from Spider
Man. Likely story, coming from a forked-tongue,
blood-spewing fire breather.
So how did the gesture become mainstream?
Ask former president George W. Bush, or
any other Texan, what it means and they’ll
tell you it stands for "hook ’em horns," a
sign of allegiance to the University of Texas.
I’ll buy that—Texans are pretty obsessed
with football. But how does one explain the
Obamas, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Pat
Robertson using the gesture? Is the gesture
all they have in common with Metallica,
Tenacious D, Kid Rock, Beelzebub, and the
like? There are no less than millions of online
rants claiming that politicians, celebrities,
heavy metal bands, rebellious 12-year-olds,
animated characters, and super heroes consciously
make the gesture as visual shorthand
for "Hail, Satan."
My guess is that rockers use the gesture as
shorthand for, "I want to rock and roll all
night, and party evv-ur-reeee day." It also
serves as a convenient, but disguised middle
finger to the establishment, as well as a salute
to those about to rock. Political figures do it
because a PR person told them that making
the devil-horns sign would help them appeal
to a younger demographic (or Texas fans). In
short, they sell their souls to look cool.
In photos since about sixth grade, I’ve always
been more of a peace sign guy (thank you,
Ringo), but of late, I’ve found my pinky and
pointer finger extending, almost as if powered
by some invisible force. Maybe I’m just trying
to appeal to a younger, edgier demo, too.
John Bohlinger is a Nashville guitar slinger who works primarily
in television and has recorded and toured with over
30 major-label artists. His songs and playing can be heard
in major motion pictures, on major-label releases, and in
literally hundreds of television drops. Visit him at:youtube. com/user/johnbohlingerorfacebook.com/johnbohlinger
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