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To each his own

[ 2009-09-15 15:40]     字号 [] [] []  
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To each his own

Reader question:

In this passage – If you don't like dogs, don't have the dog at your house. Tell the owner you won't dog sit. No, it's not normal to hate dogs, but to each his own – please explain “to each his own”?

My comments:

It means people are entitled to entertaining strange ideas^_^.

The message in the above passage is this: It's not normal to hate dogs. In fact, most people don't but it's ok if you do hate dogs because we are all entitled to having our own, er, peculiar tastes.

“To each his own” is a word for word translation from the Latin “suum cuique”, which is short for “suum cuique pulchrum est” (to each his own is beautiful), according to Wiktionary, a free dictionary online.

In other words: According TO EACH person's subjective judgment, HIS OWN face, say, is most beautiful.

HIS OWN girlfriend is the most beautiful woman in the world.

HIS OWN bed is the best.

Or HIS OWN pet cat instead is the cutest.

Etc. and so forth.

In short, each person has his own tastes and preferences, however strange, silly and peculiar they may sound to others.

In other words, there's no accounting for taste.

Which last saying, of course, merits a column in its own name.

Anyways, here are a few recent media examples of “to each his own”:

1. The mere notion that NBA players have an “offseason” is laughable to (Toronto Raptors guard Jarrett) Jack, an acknowledged gym rat long before he moved from the Flats to the NBA.

To each his own,” Jack said. “I think for the most part, guys just can't stay away from it for too long. Guys have their own routines that they do. Me personally, I'm in the gym all the time. I just love to play.”

- Jeff Teague first Hawks to arrive before training camp, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 11, 2009.

2. Don't be a “smiley face.”

Excessive smiling in a job interview is seen for what it is — nervousness and a lack of confidence. A smiley-face person exudes phoniness, which will quickly be picked up by the interviewer. Instead be thoughtful and pleasant. Smile when there's something to smile about. Do a practice run in front of a mirror or friend...

Now I, for one, have always been a little wary of the whole “practice in front of the mirror” thing. That process would just seem so forced and hokey that I think it would get me off of my game. But to each his own—the key is to be yourself.

- How to nail a job interview, TheStimulist.com, August 21, 2009.

3. A company advertising coffee at 700 Exxon gas stations in Germany will tear down its posters because they inadvertently used the same slogan as that which stood at the entrance to the Nazis' Buchenwald concentration camp. The slogan was, “To Each His Own.”

The phrase was originally coined by Cato over 2000 years ago according to Australia's Herald-Sun, but the German translation “Jedem das Seine” was used at Buchenwald's gates by the Nazis to indicate that the prisoners were getting what they deserved. The slogan was used by Tchibo, a coffee company, in ads at Esso stations on Germany. Esso is a brand of the Exxon oil corporation.

The ads were removed following protests by The Central Council of Jews in Germany. The group told the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper that the posters were either “unsurpassable tastelessness” or a reflection of “total ignorance of history.”

- Exxon Coffee Ads Used Nazi Slogan, M.industry.bnet.com, January 14, 2009.



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.


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