A straight shooter with everyone

中国日报网 2015-04-07 11:37



Reader question:A straight shooter with everyone

Please explain “straight shooter” in this sentence: “He was always a straight shooter with everyone.”

My comments:

A straight talker, in other words.

A straight shooter is someone who shoots straight, so to speak.

Straight at the target, that is, aiming at the bull’s eye.

In our quote, the man is, or was (past tense, is he dead?) one such person, who speaks plainly and honestly with everyone.

That’s what a straight shooter is, someone who speaks his mind simply and doesn’t mince words.

In other words, they don’t beat about the bush.

Even if what they say may offend you, perhaps, they’ll say it directly and bluntly. Still in other words, they always call a spade a spade.

In mainstream society, amongst the high flyers at any rate, such people are rare to see. I ask whether our man being quoted is dead perhaps for a good reason. Straighter talkers, you see, are a dying species. In today’s society, people when sharing their thoughts with one another, always choose their words carefully. They want to be polite and everything, minding their words all the time. In short, they don’t want to say anything that may offend you or others in the present company. And they only say things that are politically correct.

They all hope by minding their words they’ll be able to have more friends and, hence, advance their careers more smoothly.

And that means they often are less honest than they really want to be.

That’s a price they feel they have to pay in order to maintain membership, so to speak, in their company or society, whatever it may be.

After all, we all want to be one of the boys, don’t we?

That’s why straight shooters are treasured whenever one sees such a person. They’re, like, a breath of fresh air.

Even though the straight shooter may hurt your tender feelings because they can be extremely blunt at what they say.

And they don’t mean to hurt you, either. They are just forthright. They don’t know how to choose their words. Their words just come from the heart and straight out of the mouth.

Frankly speaking, we cannot have too many of them today.

Here are media examples:

1. Writing about sports is not a matter of life and death. But the people we meet, the lives we touch and the messages we send can be.

And so it is this day that we mourn the passing of a longtime newspaper colleague and friend.

Gene Seymour, a sports columnist for Copley News Service, died suddenly Monday night of a heart aneurysm at age 43.

At 6-feet, 6-inches, the angular Seymour's humble manner belied his towering height. He routinely stooped to befriend others in a business that has more than its share of ruthless adversaries and burgeoning egos. Sunday afternoon, in the press box of the Louisiana Superdome, I shook hands with a good friend for the last time.

I first met Gene almost 20 years ago, when he wrote for the State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill. I was in Springfield to write a story for the Tribune on former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark Fidrych, who was attempting a comeback to the majors with the Triple A Evansville team. Gene was working on a similar feature story and offered me any assistance he could provide. A gentleman and true professional, that was vintage Gene.

Seymour served as Copley News Service's sports columnist since 1984, covering the Bears, White Sox, Cubs and Blackhawks, as well as Notre Dame and the University of Illinois.

“It’s unbelievable. Oh, my God, it's unbelievable,” said former Bears coach Mike Ditka, when informed of the news. “I really liked him. When you get to talk with a guy every week (for a weekly football column Ditka wrote for Copley News), you know him pretty well. But I knew him before when I was coaching too. He was always a straight-shooter. And I really respected and appreciated that.”

- Columnist’s Death Leaves Our Profession Poorer, by Fred Mitchell, October 16, 1996.

2. President Obama’s selection of Gina McCarthy March 4 to be the Environmental Protection Agency's next administrator drew compliments from environmental advocates and industry sources, who described her as a pragmatist who listens to all interest groups.

McCarthy, the agency’s assistant administrator for air and radiation, has overseen some of the most stringent air regulations in recent history, and while industry groups have not always supported the rules, they acknowledge she has been open to hearing their concerns.

“Gina is certainly an environmentalist, but she is not anti-industry, and I have to give her credit,” said Jeffrey Holmstead, a former EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation who now is a partner at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP. “She has been willing to listen to and to really try to understand concerns of industry. She doesn’t always agree with them, but among people generally in industry, people would say at least she's willing to listen to us.”

In his announcement at the White House, Obama also touched on McCarthy's ability to deal fairly with all parties.

“She’s earned a reputation as a straight shooter,” he said. “She welcomes different points of view.”

- Obama Names McCarthy to Top EPA Post; Selection of ‘Straight-Shooter' Draws Praise, BNA.com, March 5, 2013.

3. Medicare’s top administrator unexpectedly resigned Friday, becoming the latest casualty in the turmoil over the president’s health care law, which is still struggling for acceptance even as millions benefit from expanded coverage.

Marilyn Tavenner’s departure underscores the uncertainty overshadowing President Barack Obama’s health care law nearly five years after its party-line passage by a then-Democratic-led Congress. The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the legality of the law’s financial subsidies this spring, and a new Republican Congress is preparing more repeal votes.

A former intensive care nurse with a businesslike approach to a divisive area of public policy, Tavenner told staff in an email that she’s stepping down at the end of February with “sadness and mixed emotions.” Her chief of staff is also leaving.


Despite Tavenner’s close association with “Obamacare,” some senior Republicans in Congress said they were sorry to see her leave.

“She has proven herself to be a strong leader and a straight shooter who brought in much-needed private sector sensibility into the agency,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said in a statement. “I truly appreciate her service and wish her the very best in her next adventure.”

- Medicare Marilyn Tavenner chief unexpectedly resigns amid Obamacare turmoil, AP, January 16, 2015.



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 中国日报网英语点津 编辑:王伟)

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