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"thump your chest"

Posted by Brian from Shawnee on December 17, 2005

In Reply to: "thump your chest" posted by Smokey Stover 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

Well, at least my hunch was right that it's not "smart", at least in a non-ironic sense. Here's the quote the original poster is referring to, from a speech given by U.S. Ambassador to Canada Paul Wilkins, criticizing Prime Minister Paul Martin's criticism of the U.S.:

'"It may be smart election-year politics to thump your chest and criticize your friend and your No. 1 trading partner constantly," Wilkins said in a speech to the Canadian Club at the historic Chateau Laurier Hotel, next door to Parliament Hill.'