Pitchfork (hand gesture)

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The pitchfork (alternatively named, the trident) is a hand gesture used predominantly at Arizona State University and events in which the school's athletic teams, the Arizona State Sun Devils, are taking part. The Arizona State mascot is Sparky the Sun Devil, who carries a pitchfork. The hand gesture is especially popular among Sun Devil fans at athletic events, such as football, in which cheering is a large part.

History

On November 20, 1946, the mascot of Arizona State University was changed from the Bulldogs to the Sun Devils by the student council, after a November 8 vote of the student body for such a change. Two years later, a former Disney illustrator named Bert Anthony was the first to add an actual pitchfork to the Sparky image. It is not known exactly how long afterwards the pitchfork/trident hand gesture became popular, but there are references to the gesture being used as far back as the 1970s.

Confusion with the Shocker

Due to the similarities between the gestures, the pitchfork hand gesture is often confused with the sexually connotative "Shocker" hand gesture. The major difference between the two gestures is the extended spacing between the index and middle finger utilized in the pitchfork gesture.

In other instances of popular culture

Professional wrestler Matt Hardy uses The Pitchfork as his own signature gesture, but he calls it the V1.

In a well-publicized image which was taken in late 2008, many websites and blogs mistakenly reported that George W. Bush was making the sexually connotative "Shocker" hand gesture when in reality he was making The Pitchfork or "trident" sign due to the visiting Arizona State men's and women's track team.

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