Open Hand, Closed Fist

Consider the relevance of this:

… another traditional medieval and Renaissance piece of iconography: the open hand of rhetoric versus the closed fist of logic. The open hand and closed fist is a dual metaphor about the presentation of material, either as the hard, aggressive, and unapproachable fist of logic, or the gentler, welcoming, and open hand of rhetorical. The first threatens, the second offers aid and gifts. — From “The Iconography of Rhetoric” by Terri Palmer

… when examining this image by Daniel Mitsui:

I’d like to think this “dual metaphor about the presentation of material” cleverly touches on Korrektiv’s core modus operandi.

Furthermore, there’s the Blemmyes reference, which I admit bothers me a little. Is Mitsui poking a little fun here? Yes, I think so, and that’s all right. But I also incline towards a more sympathetic interpretation: “Sometimes I feel like a naught, sometimes I don’t.” In the Blemmyes, Mitsui hit on a pretty good image for that sentiment. Brainless, or all brain, or, better yet, a unity of heart and brain.

An overdue thank you to Mr. Mitsui.


  1. Matthew Lickona says

    I think he just meant you were probably a cannibal. Nobody’s seen hide nor hair of Rufus McCain in a coon’s age.

    Good catch on the open hand/closed fist, though.

  2. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    Good eye, Mr Potter; good hand, Mr Mitsui.
    Good eye, Mr Mitsui; good hands, Mr Potter.


    Re ‘the Blemmyes reference’, and your thoughts thereon:

    I remembered C.S. Lewis’ phrase ‘Men Without Chests’, from The Abolition of Man. A phrase that does not apply to a Blemmye, and does not apply to you, sir.


    ‘Those fingers, dear hearts, is always a-warring and a-tugging, one agin t’other.’

    You know that, in the cultures of the Far East, one core idea is the pervasiveness of yin and yang, the complementary opposites: negative and positive, cold and hot, dark and light, passive and active, curved and straight, etc.

    In my father’s school of martial arts, the ‘default’ stance is to have the right hand closed in a fist, and the left hand open (fingers together, but extended). The right arm is for punching; it shoots its closed fist out and back in a straight line. The left arm moves in arcs, using its open hand to intercept, deflect, and redirect the opponent’s own movements.

  3. Jonathan Webb says

    Interesting. Thanks Jonathan.

  4. I think it’s a game of Rock, Scissors, Paper. In other words, you just can’t win. I have a rat peeking out from behind my shoulder.

  5. Hey! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 4!
    Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts!
    Carry on the fantastic work!

    • I, for one, am tickled pink to think that we’re getting visited by bots from several years ago. The Internet is buzzing with rumors about the iPhone 6, and we get a visit from some Ancient Spaminer who exclaims over his iPhone 4 and uses an obsolete social media platform in his moniker. Retire, Korrektiv, retire!

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