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Under the radar?

[ 2010-09-10 13:45]     字号 [] [] []  
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Under the radar?Reader question:

Please explain “under the radar”, as in this sentence: Some great news slipped under the radar last week.

My comments:

To go “under the radar” means to go undetected, unnoticed, to do things without drawing public attention.

“Some great news slipped under the radar last week” simply means that some news-worthy events were not reported by the media. Either organizers of those “great events” did not sound out the media (send out newsletters, etc.) before hand or the media got the messages but deliberately ignored them. If they were deliberately ignored, then one of these two things may have happened. One, news organizations all had even greater news events to worry about at the time. Or two, news organizations were biased – A Republican newspaper in the United States, for instance, may not want to give extensive coverage to what a Democrat candidate has to say before an election. Vice versa, a Democrat newspaper will not quote every word uttered by a Republican candidate.

Whatever the case, “under the radar” is the question we’re concerned with here. The radar, as you may very well know, is the device used to monitor the sky. An airplane gets on the radar (appears on the monitoring screen as a blinking dot) once it comes within the airspace covered by the radar. However, as the radar is designed to monitor moving objects high in the air, an aircraft flying at extremely low altitude, or close to the ground, can escape radar detection.

And when that happens, the aircraft is said to be “flying under the radar” or to have “slipped under the radar”.

Figuratively speaking, therefore, when news events are said to have “slipped under the radar”, they went unreported because they were “undetected” by the radar of media outlets.

Likewise, when a person is said to be flying under the radar, it means he keeps a low profile, does not draw any public attention, has no great talents – or he may have great talents but those talents have not gained any public recognition yet.

Here are a few recent media examples:

1. When considering the fate of the New York Islanders’ 2010-11 season, fans and analysts alike have been quick to point towards potential break-out campaigns from emerging stars John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey as the primary factors involved in the club’s chances at a return to the post season.

The viewpoint aligns with General Manager Garth Snow’s blueprint of building a young core through the draft and it also reflects the public’s fervor for first round talent, but the attention surrounding the Islanders’ first round trio has kept another pair of emerging youngsters under the radar.

Twenty-six year-old Frans Nielsen and 23-year-old Andrew MacDonald played central roles in 2009-10 and both appear to be primed to take their games to the next level this season.

“Of course Okposo and those guys get a lot of attention, but they deserve it,” said Nielsen, the Islanders’ third round pick (87th overall) in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. “I’ve been here since they started the rebuild and hopefully I’ll be here for a lot of years to come, so I feel like a big part of it.”

Nielsen has been a top-five scorer on the Islanders in each of his first two full NHL seasons. Last year, he notched career highs in goals (12), assists (26), points (38) and games played (76), while averaging more ice time than any Islanders forward not named Okposo or Tavares.

The Herning, Denmark, native began his professional career at a young age, entering the Danish league in 2000-01 as a 16-year-old. Nielsen went on to play the next five seasons in the Swedish Elite League, before making his North American debut in 2006-07 with the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. That same year he became the first Danish born player to play in an NHL game, but Nielsen spent the majority of his first two North American seasons developing in the AHL.

He’s one of those two way players that’s under the radar,” said MacDonald, who has played with Nielsen in both the AHL and the NHL. “His passing abilities and stick handling and his offensive creativity sometimes go unnoticed. If you watch him out there, his poise with the puck and his positioning, defensively and offensively, are quite sound. You’re not going to find a better two-way forward that people might not appreciate as much.”

- On the rise, under the radar, Islanders.nhl.com, August 26, 2010.

2. Kevin Durant loves to tell stories about times he doesn’t get recognized. Apparently, it keeps him humble.

There’s the tale Durant told recently about how a security officer mistook him for Miami forward Chris Bosh when he was at the airport in Las Vegas in July for Team USA training camp. Then there’s a story about Durant walking around with some of his Oklahoma City teammates at a Charlotte shopping mall last season.

“Some people thought we were a college team,” Durant said. “They said, ‘Good luck and hopefully you’ll make it to NBA.” We were like, ‘All right.’”

Asked if he’s been recognized much in Istanbul in the week the Team USA forward has been here for the World Championship, Durant said he really hasn’t been out of the hotel except to go to games and practices.

One thing is for sure. There are no posters of Durant in Turkey. The American most often featured on posters promoting the Worlds is Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, and he’s not even here after dropping out, along with all the other members of the 2008 Olympic team, in early July. Either the printing deadline was quite early or nobody in Turkey bothered checking the Internet.

Regardless, Durant doesn’t mind in the least that he’s not getting much hype here in Istanbul despite being the only player from last season’s All-NBA first team playing in the Worlds. In fact, there are no players from Turkey off the All-NBA second and third teams either.

“I’m fine with it,” Durant said. “I like to be under the radar.”

Durant gives plenty of credit to his mother, Wanda Pratt, for helping him stay humble.

“I’ve always been like that,” he said. “My mom always told me to never brag no matter how many points I score. I’m always going to say, ‘I did OK and I can do better’ because I know I can. I do feel good sometimes when I have a good game but there’s no need to brag at all because you never know when it can be taken away. So I continue to be humble.”

- Kevin Durant Still Under the Radar, and It's Fine by Him, NBA.FanHouse.com, September 3, 2010.

3. The Kochs and their political operatives declined requests for interviews. Instead, a prominent New York public-relations executive who is close with the Kochs put forward two friends: George Pataki, the former governor of New York, and Mortimer Zuckerman, the publisher and real-estate magnate. Pataki, a Republican who received campaign donations from David Koch, called him “a patriot who cares deeply about his country.” Zuckerman praised David’s “gentle decency” and the “range of his public interests.”

The Republican campaign consultant said of the family’s political activities, “To call them under the radar is an understatement. They are underground!” Another former Koch adviser said, “They’re smart. This right-wing, redneck stuff works for them. They see this as a way to get things done without getting dirty themselves.” Rob Stein, a Democratic political strategist who has studied the conservative movement’s finances, said that the Kochs are “at the epicenter of the anti-Obama movement. But it’s not just about Obama. They would have done the same to Hillary Clinton. They did the same with Bill Clinton. They are out to destroy progressivism.”

Oddly enough, the fiercely capitalist Koch family owes part of its fortune to Joseph Stalin. Fred Koch was the son of a Dutch printer who settled in Texas and ran a weekly newspaper. Fred attended M.I.T., where he earned a degree in chemical engineering. In 1927, he invented a more efficient process for converting oil into gasoline, but, according to family lore, America’s major oil companies regarded him as a threat and shut him out of the industry. Unable to succeed at home, Koch found work in the Soviet Union. In the nineteen-thirties, his company trained Bolshevik engineers and helped Stalin’s regime set up fifteen modern oil refineries. Over time, however, Stalin brutally purged several of Koch’s Soviet colleagues. Koch was deeply affected by the experience, and regretted his collaboration. He returned to the U.S. In the headquarters of his company, Rock Island Oil & Refining, in Wichita, he kept photographs aimed at proving that some of those Soviet refineries had been destroyed in the Second World War. Gus diZerega, a former friend of Charles Koch, recalled, “As the Soviets became a stronger military power, Fred felt a certain amount of guilt at having helped build them up. I think it bothered him a lot.”

In 1958, Fred Koch became one of the original members of the John Birch Society, the arch-conservative group known, in part, for a highly skeptical view of governance and for spreading fears of a Communist takeover. Members considered President Dwight D. Eisenhower to be a Communist agent. In a self-published broadside, Koch claimed that “the Communists have infiltrated both the Democrat and Republican Parties.” He wrote admiringly of Benito Mussolini’s suppression of Communists in Italy, and disparagingly of the American civil-rights movement. “The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America,” he warned. Welfare was a secret plot to attract rural blacks to cities, where they would foment “a vicious race war.” In a 1963 speech that prefigures the Tea Party’s talk of a secret socialist plot, Koch predicted that Communists would “infiltrate the highest offices of government in the U.S. until the President is a Communist, unknown to the rest of us.”

- Covert Operations: The billionaire Koch brothers who are waging a war against Obama, New Yorker, August 30, 2010.



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.


Hard wired?

Equal to the challenge

Sweep it under the carpet

Curb appeal

(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑陈丹妮)