The human tongue seems to be equally the most amazing and abused part of the body next to other areas of the body most people have some acquaintance with using. And when it comes to sticking out our tongue, there’s no time than now that it’s being done regularly to send some kind of statement. But just what is that statement as notables we wouldn’t expect are starting to flash their tongues in selfies? While we might think that Miley Cyrus started this all, it really goes back decades in a few prominent people who might be to blame or thank. One of them will surprise you if you’ve ever seen the iconic photograph that perhaps started it all.
The Origins of Tongue Flashing
If you’ve ever seen the picture of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue while photographed in the back seat of a car, then you might see Einstein as a progenitor of more than just general and special relativity. Perhaps it’s fitting that one of the greatest scientists in human history showed a little tongue rebellion considering it proved that keeping a childish frame of mind helps keep a fresh and fervent imagination. And there wasn’t anyone who didn’t promote more the idea of imagination being the crucial key to solving scientific conundrums.
That iconic photograph of Einstein’s tongue was very rare considering it was the early 1950s when notables would have been disowned for sticking their tongues out to the camera. Someday, someone’s going to do a parody for The Onion or Cracked.com showing photoshopped pictures of 1950s-era celebrities sticking their tongues out in selfies while on the red carpet. Perhaps Marlon Brando would have done that had they given him free reign.
Einstein might have been the hero that eventually led to tongue flashing being a little more prominent once the drug-fueled 1970s came around.
The Rolling Stones and Gene Simmons of Kiss
The famous Rolling Stones logo of a tongue sticking out through a set of fat lips might have been the connector to the generation that passed it onto Miley Cyrus’s Millennial generation. Despite none of the Rolling Stones ever being photographed with their tongues out to the camera (as far as my research shows), sticking one’s tongue out was still just a symbolic gesture in the 1960s. Even at something as rebellious as Woodstock, you didn’t see any performer or person in the audience sticking their tongue out as a form anti-establishment.
By the early 1970s, Gene Simmons of Kiss was the first performer to get away with sticking his tongue out on a stage. Because the anti-establishment crowd was well into being addled with drugs by then, it may have been cocaine doing the tongue expression. Then again, Gene Simmons was playing a character, and it leapt the idea of tongue flashing into the performing arena where it hadn’t ever been done prior.
Later Forms of Expression
After Kiss became intertwined in pop culture, you started seeing more media pics of rock and punk performers sticking their tongues out to the paparazzi while in public places. Regardless, it was primarily only that generation and one of strictly rebellion rather than just breaking up the tedium of being an adult. Once Miley Cyrus came around, you started seeing A-list celebrities sticking their tongues out while walking red carpets. While some of those are merely outtakes that sites like Getty Images don’t normally publish, it’s might be hard to gauge exactly which came first: Miley’s tongue or the A-list celebrity tongue.
Since many photos of celebs sticking their tongue out on the red carpet are within just the last year, some might think that Miley Cyrus brought a new renaissance to tongue flashing as much as Gene Simmons did. While Cyrus was doing her tongue flash with as much rebellion as Simmons enabled 40 years ago, the celebrity fascination with sticking their tongues out may be just as rebellious against taking Hollywood too seriously.
Despite all the glitz, glamour, and awards, most celebrities are likely keeping that kid at heart mentality in order to stay sane. With that in mind, Albert Einstein may be the real progenitor of the celebrity tongue flash in the last couple of years. A-list celebrities have just as much influential pull as Einstein did, and sticking their tongue out shows that we all need to get back to a childish imagination in order to cope normally and solve problems.
So go forth and stick your tongue out to a camera in the appropriate places. You’ll be joining a fray that’s much larger and smarter than those who still keep a stiff upper lip.