Tongue Jutting: McCain’s Tell

Back about a week or so, I ran across an interesting item in my feed that was shared by ***Dave. It was a funny little detail Stephen Colbert lampooned: McCain’s weirdly reptilian tongue flicking gesture that was picked up by someone as a classic “poker tell.” Electoral Projections Done Right: The Tongue Jut

Tongue-jutting behavior is a gesture used by people who think they have gotten away with something or are “caught” doing something. I have seen this behavior in flea markets both in the United States and in Russia, among street vendors in Lower Manhattan, at poker tables in Las Vegas, and in business meetings. In each case, the person made the gesture – tongue between the teeth without touching the lips – at the conclusion of some sort of a deal or as a final nonverbal statement. This behavior has several meanings – depending on specific situations – but is usually associated with one of these: I got caught (taking candy from a drawer), gleeful excitement (look at what I just did, Mom), I got away with something (and I didn’t get caught), I did something foolish, or I am naughty.

Today, also shared by ***Dave, there’s a video showing McCain getting testy in a discussion with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register. And in the one section, McCain does the “tongue jut” a couple of times, but there’re a lot of quick edits so it’s impossible to say if there might have been more.

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Immediately after insisting that his campaign has the documentation proving that Barack Obama advocated comprehensive sex education for kindergartners, the tip of McCain’s tongue flicks straight out.

Immediately after insisting he’s always provided “100 percent absolute truth” and saying “and that’s been my life of putting my country first,” his tongue flicks straight out again.

Oh ho ho. Think about that last one after reading Rolling Stone’s excellent story, “Make-Believe Maverick.”

Have fun watching the debates… does Obama have a “tell?”

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