Sinister leanings: The plight and glory of the southpaw

Barack Obama signs all of his vetoes southpaw style, like 7 of his predecessors.

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Barack Obama signs all of his vetoes southpaw style, like 7 of his predecessors.

Luke Heslip, Staff Writer

Persecuted for centuries and widely suppressed until this day, the left-handed have displayed remarkable fortitude and brilliance throughout our history.

Counting the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci and Alexander the Great among our comrades, the left-handed persevered through a highly misunderstood past and continue to abide an excruciatingly right-handed world.

Discounted by Judeo-Christianity as the devil’s spawn and faring no better in most other ideological spheres, we southpaws are one of humanity’s oldest pariahs, but remain a proud and accomplished group.

Despite making up less than 10 percent of the world’s population, left-handers boast an impressive alumni of political and cultural figures.    

Five of the last seven U.S. presidents were lefties. Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein both favored their left hand, not to mention Aristotle.

Rock ‘n’ roll’s pantheon is festooned with left-handers. David Bowie is left-handed, as is Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath’s guitar player. Iggy Pop, rock n’ roll’s wild child, and Genesis’s Phil Collins wield their microphones southpaw style. Two of rock’s greatest axmen were lefties, the legendary Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain.

Lefties dominate cinema and stand-up as well. Robert Redford is left handed, as is Diane Keaton. 

Jon Stewart, the godfather of modern satirical news, is a lefty, along with fellow late night hosts Jay Leno and David Letterman. Jerry Seinfeld, New York’s Superman- loving, stand-up veteran is another southpaw.

The word sinister may derive from the Latin word for left, and granted Satan, Ned Flanders and Charles Manson are left-handed. Left-handedness may have been used as a litigating argument in the Salem witch trials, and a wife’s left-handedness may have been grounds for divorce in Japan until a few decades ago.

We lefties may struggle with scissors and spiral notebooks and ink pens. We may have been branded as witches and fiends, thought psychologically inferior and socially repugnant, but still we persist with unwavering gusto.

There are numerous advantages to being left-handed, according to Anything Left-Handed, a Left-Handed advocacy and research group. Lefties are proven to see better under water and recover faster from strokes than righties.

We are a dynamic force in sports, notably baseball, where left-handed batters are already facing first base, and who wants to face a southpaw pitcher? 

Lefties are prone to artistic leanings and visual learning. Recent data from Anything Left-Handed suggests that lefthanders have better memories and are superior at multi-tasking.

In spite of our historic subjugation our demographic has produced superlative representation, including Julius Caesar and Joan of Arc.

So, my fellow southpaws, be proud and revel in the greatness of your handedness.