Posted by Smokey Stover on December 15, 2005
In Reply to: "thump your chest" posted by Bob on December 15, 2005
: : : : What does "thump your chest" mean?
: : : : e.g. It may be smart to thump your chest and critize your friend.
: : : Actually, it may be *hypocritical* to thump your chest while criticizing your friend. In the old days (pre-1965 or so), when Roman Catholic Mass was in L@tin, the congregation would say together "Mea cula, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa", while striking the chest three times. The phrase means roughly "I have sinned, I have sinned, I have sinned terribly".
: : Culpa means fault, guilt or blame, as in culpability or exculpate.
: : So mea culpa is "my fault, my fault, my most horrendous fault".
: : You are always at fault in Catholicism, the result of being born into sin and they ( top management ) don't let you forget it.
: I think of that stuff as "breast-beating." I thnk of "Chest thumping," on the other fist, as the stuff that apes (and, um, Tarzan) do to bellow in a testosterone-soaked intimidation ritual. Self-assertion on steroids.
Why does Bob always have to be right? Anyway, he is this time. Breast-beating is a variety of the self-flagellating that used to be so popular among the devout. But I can't agree with Bob's implicit scorn for chest-thumping. For apes (and Tarzan) it's probably an important tool in the effort to assert dominanced, and thus establish some kind of order in the tribe--and perhaps help catch girls. Every
species has its version of chest-thumping, not excepting ours. SS