Please explain “went nuclear” in this sentence, plus the “N-word”: He went nuclear when Kim told him someone had used the N-word in front of her.
First the N-word refers to the word nigger, a derogative, racist and thus offensive word for a black man, particularly an African American.
Exactly why and how derogative and offensive is it?
Suffice to say, nigger is what slave owners and whites in general used to call a black slave, back in the day.
Being called nigger is like a person of Chinese origin being called a Chink or Chinaman.
Only worse, much worse because, let’s face it, what black slaves went through in America was nothing to compare with, say, what Chinese sugar cane farmers went through in Hawaii or railway builders did in California, even though the racism the earliest Chinese immigrants had to endure is unthinkable enough for the present generation.
Anyways, in our example, apparently someone using the N-word in from of her, Kim, was extremely offensive to him – and he “went nuclear” because of it.
That means he went mad and wild with rage. No-one has seen him angrier before perhaps. He cussed and cussed non-stop, perhaps. Perhaps, he kicked a chair or even smashed a window.
Or something like that, serious, grave, devastating.
To go unclear, you see, is literally to use nuclear weapons in a war. The only time anyone used nuclear weapons in a war was, of course, when America did in World War II, throwing two such bombs on the Japs.
That’s the only time. So, you see, going nuclear is an extreme measure that’s not taken lightly or frequently.
Not frequently at all.
So therefore, as an idiom, to go nuclear is to get extremely mad and resort to taking the most extreme measures possible. In fact, if the nuclear analogy is interpreted properly, to go nuclear is obviously the length or distance they’ve never gone before. It’s kind of, like, the last resort, or final solution. So, use it sparingly, if you want to use this expression at all.
In other words, you don’t go nuclear every day.
All right, here are recent media examples of people going nuclear, metaphorically speaking:
1. During the first presidential debate of 2016, the subject of Donald Trump’s hideous 2006 comments about Rosie O’Donnell came up, in which he called her a “slob” and said she had a “fat ugly face.” Instead of apologizing and moving on, he doubled-down saying “she deserved it.”
Well, Rosie’s back and she PISSED. Last night she tweeted “the 5 mins orange anus can’t seem to get over --- tell the truth - shame the donald #ImWithHer.”
She linked to the clip that kicked off the feud. In the clip, she chastised Donald Trump for dragging Miss USA Tara Connor through a press conference and a media circus to announce he wasn’t going to fire her over allegations she had developed a drug and/or alcohol problem while living in New York. O’Donnell (rightly) thought it was a gross misuse of his media power, to exploit and humiliate a 20-year-old woman, all while the self-described philandering playboy propped himself up as the moral authority.
In the 5-minute segment, O’Donnell imitated Trump, even flipping her hair into a combover. “He annoys me on a multitude of levels,” she said. “He’s the moral authority! Left the first wife, had an affair, left the second wife, had an affair, had kids both times but he’s the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America.”
She also called him a snake oil salesman. In short, she nailed him and his creepy, deceptive ways and that is why he went nuclear against her. Take a look at why he’s so intent on sticking with his attacks against her. She was right about him then and she’s right about him now.
- Trump is going to regret mentioning Rosie O'Donnell last night because she's back and she's PISSED, DailyKos.com, September 28, 2016.
2. The former lover of Seven West Media boss Tim Worner went “nuclear” in airing her grievances on social media but the company’s director Jeff Kennett was “not well-advised” in picking a fight with her in public, a Sydney judge says.
Supreme Court justice Robert McDougall extended a temporary gag order on Tuesday preventing former Seven executive assistant Amber Harrison from speaking about the company or publishing embarrassing details about her affair with Worner.
In his strongly worded reasons for the decision, delivered on Wednesday, Justice McDougall said Seven chairman Kerry Stokes and former Victorian premier and non-executive director Jeff Kennett had “descended into the welter of accusation and counter-accusation” with Harrison.
He said there was a “very serious risk” Harrison would not comply with her confidentiality obligations unless restrained by a court order.
Emails tendered in court showed Harrison threatened to destroy Worner’s reputation and career in an apparent act of “revenge” for perceived “wrongs”, Justice McDougall said.
Harrison was involved in a consensual sexual relationship with Worner from late 2012 to mid-2014 and went public with details of the affair in December last year.
She left the company in 2014 after signing two deeds, which provided for a series of payments totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars to be made to her but also extracted from her a promise not to speak publicly about the company or the relationship.
Justice McDougall noted the payments from Seven to Harrison stopped in early 2015, when a further 10 instalments were yet to be paid, because she did not comply with an obligation to hand over her electronic devices and records.
He said her refusal to hand over the material was based on an “erroneous construction” of an agreement she signed with Seven.
Justice McDougall said he was satisfied Harrison had “breached some, at least, of her obligations” to Seven, which provides a strong indication the gag order would be made permanent at a later date.
- Amber Harrison went ‘nuclear’ in dispute with Seven’s Tim Worner: judge, Stuff.co.nz, February 22 2017.
3. They went nuclear.
Facing significant Democratic opposition, Republicans on Thursday enacted the “nuclear option” to clear the way to confirm Neil Gorsuch as President Donald Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court. That confirmation vote is expected on Friday.
Here we take a look at the nuclear option — what it is, how it works, its history and where the name comes from.
What is “the nuclear option”?
The “nuclear option” is a last-resort, break-in-case-of-emergency way for the majority party in the Senate to overcome obstruction by the minority.
All it actually involves is changing the rules of the Senate so that a nominee like Gorsuch can be confirmed with a simple majority of 51 votes. Under the previous rules, 60 votes were needed to foil any attempt by the minority party to block a vote by use of the filibuster.
While senators are no longer required to give actual speeches to mount a filibuster, it has remained powerful tool that allows the minority to gum up action in the Senate until the majority can find 60 votes to break a logjam.
The change to a simple majority vote may not sound very dramatic, but in a place like the Senate, which operates on tradition and bipartisan comity, it’s a big deal befitting its apocalyptic name.
Where does the name come from?
Former GOP Senate Majority leader Trent Lott coined the term because both parties saw it as an unthinkable final recourse, just like nuclear war. During a standoff over George W. Bush nominees in 2003, Republicans discussed invoking the parliamentary move by using the codeword “The Hulk” since it, like the superhero alter ego, cannot be controlled once it is unleashed.
Others, who want to give it a positive spin, call changing the rules “The Constitutional Option.”
- The Nuclear Option: What It Is and Why It Matters, NBCNews.com, April 6, 2017.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.