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The upshot is… 结果

中国日报网 2024-04-30 11:21


Reader question:

Please explain “the upshot” in this:

John and I had a long talk about things and the upshot is, he’s decided to stay on the job for now.

My comments:

John wants to leave his job for some reason. The speaker doesn’t want him to go. The speaker had a long talk with him, going over things that seem to bother John. The speaker does not list all the things they talked about but gives the important point, or the final result of the talk – that John was convinced to stay for the time being.

The upshot is the final result.

The upshot, literally, refers to the last and final shot in an archery match. Archery matches typically last a long time. Each archer has to shoot a lot of arrows in many rounds. And the very last arrow is known as the upshot.

Why upshot, why up?

Up, as in time is up, signifying that game is finally coming to an end after this final shot.

Anyways, that’s archery tradition. Nowadays, people use “upshot” figuratively to mean the very end of a long sequence of events.

In our example, the speaker and John went over a lot of things, things that had been bothering John and what changes could be made for John to stay on the job.

The speaker doesn’t list all the things they went over but cuts to the chase, going straight to tell everyone the conclusion of the talk, or the upshot, that John decided to stay.

That conclusion or result is the important thing. That’s what everyone wants to know at any rate, not all the details.

So, in short, the upshot comes after a series of events and if you want to use this expression, use it in similar situations.

And here are a few helpful examples culled from the media:

1. In the 1980s, Andy Warhol created an illustration of the musician Prince, which drew heavily from an existing image by photographer Lynn Goldsmith.

Now, four decades later, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Pop artist infringed on Goldsmith’s copyright. Experts say that the case has complex implications for the ever-shifting boundaries of copyright infringement and fair-use law.

Seven out of the nine Supreme Court justices ruled against Warhol’s estate, which argued that the portrait in question should be considered the work of Warhol alone.

“To hold otherwise would potentially authorize a range of commercial copying of photographs, to be used for purposes that are substantially the same as those of the originals,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the majority opinion.

The two dissenting justices, Elena Kagan and John Roberts, argue that this ruling could stifle the creativity of artists who want to riff off of copyrighted material.

“It will impede new art and music and literature,” wrote Kagan. “It will thwart the expression of new ideas and the attainment of new knowledge. It will make our world poorer.”

The saga began in 1981, when Newsweek commissioned Goldsmith to photograph Prince. In 1984, Vanity Fair hired Warhol to create an illustration of the musician for an article; the magazine also paid Goldsmith a one-time fee of $400 so that Warhol could use one of her photos as a reference point.

After Prince’s death in 2016, Condé Nast (which operates Vanity Fair) used Warhol’s art for a tribute to the musician. The company paid Warhol’s estate for the right to use the image, reasoning that this version of the work was Warhol’s.

Goldsmith, however, had only authorized Condé Nast to use the image once.

The legal battle revolves around a divisive question: After Warhol altered the image, did it belong only to him, or should Goldsmith retain some degree of control?

The court’s decision relies on how the image was used. In this case, wrote the justices, the commercial nature of the Prince portraits means that the images aren’t covered by fair-use law.

Still, the ruling stipulated that certain other Warhol pieces – such as his famous depiction of Campbell’s soup cans – should be viewed in a different light. Sotomayor wrote, “The purpose of Campbell’s logo is to advertise soup. Warhol’s canvases do not share that purpose. Rather, the Soup Cans series uses Campbell’s copyrighted work for an artistic commentary on consumerism, a purpose that is orthogonal to advertising soup.”

Michael W. Carroll, a scholar of intellectual property law at American University Washington College of Law, tells the New York Times’ Matt Stevens that this distinction is critical. “It was the licensing use, not the creative use, that was at issue,” he says.

Warhol built his career by transforming the photos of others. For example, his 1964 Marilyn Monroe portraits are based on a publicity photo for the film Niagara (1953); last year, one of those portraits, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, became the most expensive 20th-century American artwork ever sold. Other images from popular culture – from Coca-Cola bottles to Disney characters – also served as source material.

Reactions to the Supreme Court ruling are mixed. Noah Feldman, a scholar of law at Harvard, writes in Bloomberg that the decision helps artists but harms creativity.

The upshot is that little-guy artists win, because they now have more rights than they had before to claim credit for works reused by others,” he writes. “But art as a whole loses, because the decision restricts how artists generate creativity by sampling and remixing existing works.”

- Supreme Court Rules That Andy Warhol Violated a Photographer’s Copyright, SmithsonianMag.com, May 24, 2023.

2. “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree.” You probably know the tune by heart, if not the full list of gifts and their attendant lyrics. Setting aside the eyebrow-raising number of birds-as-presents, the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” evokes a tradition of celebrating for several days around the actual day of Christmas.

Many people, including those who celebrate Christmas as a secular, commercial winter holiday, consider the 12 days before Dec. 25 as the primary period of festivities. Those who follow Western Christian traditions count the 12 days of Christmas as the period after Advent ends on Dec. 24, lasting until the Feast of the Epiphany, the traditional date marking the baptism of Jesus, on Jan. 6. (Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas Eve that day; in their tradition, the 12 days conclude on Jan. 19.)

Whether you mark them before or after Christmas, why are there 12? Why in the dead of winter, and why so many birds? The answer is the Moon.

To many ancient cultures, the Moon signaled the start of a new unit of time, or month. For some cultures it was the arrival of a full Moon while, for many others, it was the brand-new crescent Moon that marked the start of the next cycle. Most ancient cultures also paid attention to the lowest point of the solar year, the winter solstice, which happens this year in the Northern Hemisphere on Dec. 21.

To understand the relationship between these cyclical events, we have to talk about geometry for a second.

Over the course of a year, because our planet is tilted on its axis, the sun’s course across the sky changes. In the Northern Hemisphere, where I am, the sun is low in the sky now. Along the Tropic of Capricorn, which slices through South America, Southern Africa, and Australia, the sun is high overhead, perpendicular to Earth’s surface, and near the center, or “top” of the sky, which we call the zenith. By late June of next year, the so-called subsolar point – where the sun’s rays are perpendicular to the planet’s surface – is north of the equator, and those of us in northern latitudes will see the sun high overhead. In the American West where I live, people sometimes still call this “high noon.”

At mid-latitudes – including most of North America and Eurasia – the easiest markers of the sun’s passage are the summer and winter solstices. The solstice is when we can observe the changeable path the sun takes across the sky, as it moves east to west, pause for a day and then begin reversing direction: After the winter solstice, the sun appears to rise and set a little further to the north each day.

In equatorial areas, the solstice is less obvious, so people would trace the overhead passage of the sun across the zenith, when you would experience a shadowless day. All over the world, between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, humans built stone and wood monuments that acted as celestial alignments that mark this event.

The upshot is that almost no matter where you are on Earth, the sun’s changing course gives us shorter or longer days. Before the modern era of artificial lights, it was easy to notice this transition over time – and the solstice became an obvious way to mark a solar year’s completion. Many cultures used the winter solstice to do this, in part because it heralds the shortest day and the longest night of the year. After the winter solstice, we can look forward to more sunlight and warmth, and with it renewal and new growth. The sun has completed its annual journey through Earth’s sky, and a new year can begin. This takes 365.25 days.

- Where Did the 12 Days of Christmas Come From? AtlasObscura.com, by Rebecca Boyle, December 13, 2023.

3. Donald Trump has fussed about many things during his criminal trial in Manhattan: the judge, prosecutors, their relatives, witnesses, jurors and of course the media, for reporting on the sparse crowds outside.

Yet Trump of all people knows that his fellow New Yorkers are proudly blasé about celebrity goings-on. It shouldn’t be surprising that not much of a crowd forms at the courthouse where the Don has been in the dock. After all, if you’ve seen one trial of a mob boss in Gotham, you’ve seen ‘em all.

And Trump’s trial – where he’s charged with fraudulently covering up pre-election hush money payments to Stormy Daniels in 2016, to keep voters in the dark about their alleged tryst – resembles nothing so much as a prosecution of yet another organized crime figure, even if it is, in fact, unprecedented: The first criminal case against a former U.S. president in history.

Lest anyone think the quick-to-complain Trump might grouse about being likened to gangsters, he draws the parallel himself, repeatedly.

“I’ve been indicted more than Alphonse Capone,” Trump boasted at a conservative conference in February. (Fact check: False, but he’s close.) He regularly, and admiringly, compares himself to ol’ “Scarface” at MAGA rallies. “He was seriously tough, right?” tough-guy Trump said to Iowa rally-goers in October. Last year on social media, he called Capone “the late great gangster.” Great?

The shtick might be funny if what underlies it weren’t so serious. As we head into the third week of the People of New York State vs. Donald J. Trump in that dingy courthouse so far removed from the Don’s usual gilt opulence, it’s downright disturbing to contemplate the similarities between his trial and that of a mob boss.

How can it be that this man is tied or ahead of President Biden in the polls? I remain confident Trump will pay a political price in time, as the sordidness of all this sinks in.

Perhaps the most distressing of the mob comparisons is this: The safety of jurors is a real concern. Their identities are secret to protect against intimidation or harm, and one juror was dismissed after confessing her fear. Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance posted on X that she’s seen such trepidation for jurors only “in a case involving violent organized crime.”

And it’s not the first time for Trump. The jurors who in January found that he defamed writer E. Jean Carroll after she successfully sued him for sexual assault, also had their identities withheld. After that civil trial, federal Judge Lewis A. Kaplan warned them, “My advice to you is that you never disclose that you were on this jury.” Chilling.


The trial’s first witness, former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, testified last week about his cooperation with Trump in 2016 to “catch and kill” prurient Trump stories before that year’s election. He repeatedly described Cohen warning him that “the boss” would be angry if Pecker didn’t hold up his end of the bargain.

The mob mentality gives a particularly clear perspective on Trump’s claim earlier in 2016: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” Eight years later, he’s on trial for something less than murder, yet the upshot is the same: He’s banking that his voters don’t care.

He’s almost certainly right about most if not all of them. But Trump needs more than just his MAGA loyalists to win. Let’s hope this trial, whatever the outcome, leaves everyone else determined not to see a godfather in the White House again.

- Who’s on trial, a former president or a mob boss? LATimes.com, by Jackie Calmes, April 28, 2024.


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)


Change their tune? 改弦易辙


Bend over backwards? 竭尽全力


Unvarnished truth? 未加粉饰的真相


One of a kind? 独一无二


Overarching question? 全局性问题


Weather on steroids? 极端天气

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