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Last legs? 最后一段

中国日报网 2024-02-27 10:58


Reader question:

Please explain “last legs” in this question: Is your relationship on its last legs?

My comments:

Is your relationship coming to an end?

That is the question, in other words.

Here, your relationship with another person is likened to, say, two exhausting horses after a long day of hard work, pulling, say, a heavy wagon.

At the beginning of the day, the horses are lively, their legs appear strong and energetic. You can see that by the way they gallop and run. At the end of the day, however, you can observe that their legs look weak and wobbly. They can barely move or keep their legs firmly under them. In other words, they’re exhausted.

They’ve run out of useful legs, so to speak. As soon as they’re dismissed and freed from the wagon, the horses collapse to the floor. Literally, the last moments before they collapse are when they are on their last legs, or the LAST moments we see them on their strong LEGS.

Anyways, by a stretch of imagination, that’s what it means to say something is on its last legs. It means it will soon run out of fuel and collapse like the two horses just mentioned.

Or perhaps cease to exist altogether.

In short, if your relationship is on its last legs, it’s coming to an end. Last, as in final. It’s close to the end because it has run its course, like a river drying up into a desert. In the upper reaches, the river is running and roaring. Near the end, it is noiseless as it barely moves. Soon, it will totally run out of water, which has all evaporated – into thin air.

Relationships can be like that. In the beginning, it’s full of sprite and energy. In the end, however, they no longer see anything interesting in each other. They no longer want to talk to each other. And when they meet, they can’t wait to see the back of each other.

See the back of each other?

Yeah, see the backside of someone after he or she turns their back and starts walking away.

Yeah, seeing the back of them means getting rid of them, if you will.

All right. Enough explanation. Let’s read a few media examples to get a better feel of someone or something on their or its last legs:

1. “Hollywood is now irrelevant,” said IAC CEO and longtime media mogul Barry Diller (former head of Paramount and Fox) recently to Recode. He’s right, but not for the reasons you may think.

It’s not surprising or profound to argue that the state of the film industry is shaky. It doesn’t take a genius to realize people are going to the theater less, while major studios rely on tentpole franchises and known stars instead of taking bigger creative risks. Just take a look at the theatrical results of the major studios. Whether it’s Warner Brothers, Fox, or Paramount, the trajectory is the same. Down.

For many decades Hollywood was like a poker table where several heavy hitters were playing hands, but no one else was allowed at the game. They kept making bets and sometimes won a big pot. But that pot was always split just between the “Big Six” major studios. The winning hands were the payoffs on big movies and the losses didn’t matter because eventually a great hand eclipsed all the flops.

What’s happening in the media complex – which we dub the three Hindenbergs – is a collision right in front of our eyes. The three-way symbiosis between content creators, distributors, and promoters (brands) is on its last legs. Here’s how asset productivity weighs into that: the internet enables the use of fewer assets to produce quality content, while giving smaller studios and cheaper content formats access to distribution.

- Goodbye, Hollywood, Worth.com, March 4, 2019.

2. Donald Trump erupted at a New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi after she suggested his aides fear “the magic is gone” from his campaign. Mr Trump slammed Ms Nuzzi as an “unattractive wack job” and branded the report on the state of his 2024 electoral campaign as “fake news”. Taking to his social media platform Truth Social to reject the claims, Mr Trump branded the article as “shaky” and questioned the reporter’s sources.

He wrote: “The Fake & Corrupt News is only getting worse! As an example, I agreed to do a short telephone interview for a once very good, but now on its ‘last legs’ and failing New York Magazine.

“The reporter was a shaky & unattractive wack job, known as ‘tough’ but dumb as a rock, who actually wrote a decent story about me a long time ago.

“Her name, Olivia Nuzzi. Anyway, the story was Fake News, her ‘anonymous sources’ don’t exist (true with many writers), and I’m happily fighting hard for our GREAT USA!”

Ms Nuzzi responded to the verbal attack by sharing a photo of Mr Trump looking at a solar eclipse from the White House in 2017 without proper eye protection on her Twitter.

- Trump rattled as aides drop hints 2024 campaign already on last legs as ‘magic is gone’, Express.co.uk, December 28, 2022.

3. Now ends our summer of discontent. Nearly half of Democrats fretfully tell pollsters that President Biden is “too old”. Fifty-eight per cent of all Americans, including 30% of Democrats, do not approve of his handling of the economy. Twenty-one per cent of Democrats rate him unfavorably. If these discontented were to change their opinion, his favorability would be near or above 50%. Depressed Democrats hold down his standing.

All summer, the Biden administration touts his extraordinary achievements – his infrastructure bill, his Inflation Reduction Act, his Chips and Science Act. Political action committees launch a $13m advertising campaign documenting the revival of manufacturing. Yet the poll numbers are unmoved. “These are DARK DAYS in the life of America!” posts Donald Trump on his Truth Social account. He is more or less even with Biden. With every indictment, he rises further above his inconsequential rivals for the Republican nomination.

On their panoply of “weaponization” committees of the House of Representatives, Republicans play Inspector Clouseau as Javert, pursuing Biden as the diabolic boss of a crime family, his son Hunter Biden and his peccadilloes an instrument for prying the door to reveal the hidden Godfather. The fantasy gangster, Trump’s doppelganger, distracts from the indicted one. On Fox News, Biden is also the enfeebled, doddering and senile fool on his last legs. Which is the ruse? Fifty-five per cent of Republicans in swing House districts believe Biden should be impeached even if there is “no evidence”. The poll did not offer the category of spectral evidence that was accepted in the Salem witch trials. Under pressure from the far-right House caucus that holds the Sword of Damocles over his head, speaker Kevin McCarthy announced the opening of an impeachment panel to conjure the works of the devil’s magic.

- Democrats need to realize that there is no alternative to Biden – and buck up, TheGuardian.com, September 13, 2023.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣  编辑:丹妮)


Apple of her eye 掌上明珠


Pick his brain? 请教别人的意见


Act your age 按照年龄行事


Sitting tight? 按兵不动


Significant other? 重要的另一半


Pandora’s Box? 潘多拉魔盒

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