Flip the script?

中国日报网 2016-05-27 10:26



Flip the script?

Reader question:

Please explain this sentence, “flipping the script” in particular: Warmer weather has people flipping the script on their closet.

My comments:

This means people are wearing T-shirts and skirts instead of sweaters and long sleeves, something they don’t normally do this time of the year.

Normally this time of the year it’s still very cold. Sweaters and long sleeves, hence, are usually the rage. However, due to warmer weather this year, people no longer have use for them.

That’s why people are said to be “flipping the script on their closet”, turning their usual idea of what to wear upside down.

To flip, you see, is to turn something to the other side. The other side of a coin, for example, is sometimes called the flip side – you flit it and turn to look at the other side.

The script, on the other hand, is the written form of a play with descriptions of scenes and dialogues for actors to follow and act on.

If every actor follows the script, as they’re supposed to do, then things fall in their place and the play will proceed smoothly and seamlessly all the way to a successful conclusion.

However, if someone flips the script and reads other people’s lines in a dialogue, then chaos ensue.

Hence and by extension, if people metaphorically flip the script on something, they do the opposite of what they’re supposed to do, surprising everyone as a result.

For example, if you said something the other day and now say something different, then you run the risk of being caught flipping the script, i.e. lying. Either what your said the other day was true, or what you’re saying now is not true. The conflicting statements cannot both be true – something has to give.

Or if a weaker team beat a stronger team in sports, it’s called an upset, an unexpected win for the underdogs. In this case, the underdog or the weaker team has flipped the script on their opponents.

To summarize, and to use a theater term again, we each are assigned a role in life and are supposed to act accordingly. If we flip the script, then we are ignoring the proverbial script governing our lives and starting doing things unexpected of us.

For better or worse, in that case, is for you to decide. What’s for sure is that other people will be in great shock to witness this change of, well, theater terminology one more time, character.

All right?

All right. Now, recent media examples to help us further bring the point home:

1. Trevor Noah flipped the script on the Ferguson Effect, a supposed phenomenon that shows police are not enforcing laws because they’re afraid of being captured on video and going viral for their actions, on Monday’s episode of “The Daily Show.”

“People claim the police are unable to do their jobs because they’re afraid of getting caught doing their jobs badly. And this is a big problem, unless you deal in facts, in which case it’s not actually a problem,” Noah said, before citing a recent study that concluded it was too soon to blame any uptick in violent crime on Ferguson when crime has been dropping for two decades.

But, according to even the head of the FBI, officers say they feel like they’re being blamed for an otherwise small group of fellow officers.

“The police are trying to make a basic point: People are treating them unfairly just because of who they are and how they look. People following them around with cameras, watching everything they do, suspicious that they’re always about to break the law. Leaving police afraid to even get out their cars for fear someone might whip out a phone and brutally film them. Who can imagine how that must feel?” Noah asked. “And if you’re listening carefully, all the police are saying: Phones down, don’t shoot.”

- Noah Flips The Script On The Ferguson Effect: ‘Phones Down, Don’t Shoot’, TalkingPointsMemo.com, November 3, 2015.

2. Bernie Sanders may be joining Donald Trump in complaining about the presidential nominating process, but the underdog Democrat’s supporters nonetheless are fully engaged in some heavy arm-twisting of so-called superdelegates to win them over from front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Superdelegates are elected officials and other party insiders who can support whichever candidate they want at the Democratic presidential convention. Since the outset of the race, Clinton has had the inside track with them.

But those insiders are coming under heavy pressure to reconsider.


Sanders’ argument about having “momentum” has been bolstered after winning seven of the last eight state contests, most recently in Wyoming. But the map could soon be turning once again in Clinton’s favor, as New York and other states prepare to vote.

Clinton’s team also has flipped the script on Sanders supporters, accusing them of “rigging the system.” Spokesman Brian Fallon told CNN that Clinton is winning the popular vote, and what Sanders is trying to do is “flip” superdelegates and “overturn the will of the people.”

- Sanders backers in full press to wrest superdelegates from Clinton, FoxNews.com, April 13, 2016.

3. The Raptors came ready to play, with their backs on the wall, knowing that no team in NBA history has ever come back to win a playoff series being down 0-3. The Cleveland Cavaliers were on a ten game playoff winning streak heading into Game 3, and had two dominating wins over Toronto in Game 1 and Game 2, but on this night their impressive streak would come to an end.

The Raptors led after the first quarter, 27-24. It was the first quarter the Raptors have won against the Cavaliers in this Eastern Conference series matchup. In this game, the Raptors were able to flip the script on the Cavaliers, setting the tone in the second quarter, outscoring the Cavaliers 33-23 in the quarter to take a 60-47 halftime lead. The Cavaliers tried to cut the Raptors’ lead to 10 points heading into the 4th quarter, 80-70, but Toronto refused to let up and held the Cleveland to just 14 points in the 4th quarter. In the end the Raptors widened their lead in the final frame, earning a 99-84 Game 3 win.

- Raptors Strike Back: Toronto beats Cleveland 99-84, TorontoRaptorsBasketball.com, May 22, 2016.


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)

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