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No holds barred

[ 2009-10-27 16:37]     字号 [] [] []  
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No holds barred

Reader question:

Please explain “no-holds barred” in this sentence: In this exclusive no-holds barred interview, the actor reveals the wilder side of his personality.

My comments:

If means the reporter may ask any questions he or she wants to. In other words, the reporter may ask about the actor’s private life, e.g. his family, marriage and his affair with his secretary, and he will answer them without saying: “No comment.”

That is what the expression “no holds barred” implies at any rate. It means no restrictions whatsoever. In other words, anything goes, no limits, no mercy.

The term itself comes from the sport of wrestling. If you observe Olympic wrestling, you’ll notice that there are rules, obviously, to govern how the game should be played. For example, wrestlers are not supposed to grip an opponent by the throat, or by the ear for that matter. In other words, certain “holds” or “grips” are barred (prohibited, off limits, not allowed).

If there were “no holds barred”, on the other hand, then the players could do anything to each other. That would be a melee (riot) in the back street, you say, not an Olympic sport.

Well, you get the picture.

Here are recent media examples of “no holds barred”:

1. At the end of the storm, as the lyrics to the club’s anthem go, there’s a golden sky. There certainly was on this occasion, courtesy of Liverpool’s answer to the Sunshine Kid, Fernando Torres. Even deprived of their equivalent to Butch Cassidy, Steven Gerrard, one gunslinger was enough to shoot Liverpool out of a particularly dangerous corner. Four successive defeats had made for tempestuous times at Anfield, but a sunny day on Merseyside concluded with the scalp Liverpool prize most: that of Manchester United. ...

Their back four has been culpable; against United, they were colossal. Daniel Agger excelled alongside Jamie Carragher, who was at his bloody-minded best. The no-holds-barred approach extended to a blatant block on Michael Owen, once his best friend at Anfield.

- Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United: Torres proves the class act again, Soccernet.com.

2. A WARTS ‘n all new book on Limerick hurling which has raised hackles in official circles will be launched next week by county hurling sponsor JP McManus.

The new book claims that a post-match drinking session in Charleville by members of the senior hurling panel was the catalyst which led to the end of goalkeeper Joe Quaid’s senior hurling career. It also contains trenchant criticism of members of the county board, most notably by former manager Tom Ryan who derides board members and former All Star hurler Gary Kirby, who believes the board wanted to get rid of himself and Richie Bennis after the defeat to Kilkenny in the 2007 All-Ireland final.

‘Unlimited Heartbreak: The Inside Story of Limerick Hurling’ by Galbally man Henry Martin is a no-holds-barred account of Limerick hurling which reveals bitter internal feuds between senior team management and county board officials and lifts the lid on the drinking culture which blighted the future prospects of several of the members of the successful U-21 three-in-a-row team.

- No holds barred as new book lifts lid on Limerick hurling, IrishExaminer.com, October 2, 2009.

3. Oil and natural gas prices may be relatively low right now, but don’t be fooled. The new great game of the 21st century is always over energy and it’s taking place on an immense chessboard called Eurasia. Its squares are defined by the networks of pipelines being laid across the oil heartlands of the planet. Call it Pipelineistan. If, in Asia, the stakes in this game are already impossibly high, the same applies to the “Euro” part of the great Eurasian landmass - the richest industrial area on the planet. Think of this as the real political thriller of our time...

Just under the surface of an edgy entente cordiale between the European Union and Russia lurks the possibility of a no-holds-barred energy war - liquid war, as I call it. The EU and the US are pinning their hopes on a prospective 3,300-kilometer-long, US$10.7 billion pipeline dubbed Nabucco. Planning for it began way back in 2004 and construction is finally expected to start, if all goes well (and it may not), in 2010. So if you’re a NATO optimist, you hope that natural gas from the Caspian Sea, maybe even from Iran (barring the usual American blockade), will begin flowing through it by 2015. The gas will be delivered to Erzurum in Turkey and then transported to Austria via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary.

- Jumpin’ Jack Verdi, it’s a gas, gas, gas, ATimes.com, October 3, 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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