Full of holes?

中国日报网 2017-06-30 10:40



Full of holes?Reader question:

Please explain “full of holes” in this passage: The attorneys said the alleged victim’s story is “full of holes”. What holes?

My comments:

It’s not meant to be taken literally.

Obviously, a fishing net is full of holes. A kitchen sieve, too, is full of holes through which water passes. Thus designed, a sieve is perfect for washing and rinsing fruits and vegetables.

However, because of the holes, a sieve cannot be expected to hold water, which simply seeps through the little holes.

Hence and metaphorically speaking if someone’s story is “full of holes”, then their story cannot hold water either.

By that, we understand that their tale is not true. It’s not credible. Their reasoning, for example, must be full of faults and flaws, or the story contains factual inconsistences and contradictions.

Such a story, in the words of Mr Utterson, the lawyer in Robert Lewis Stevenson’s famous Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, “doesn’t commend itself to reason.”

Or logic.

A story that is full of holes, in short, is full of flaws and therefore not believable.

All right. No more ado. Let’s read a few media examples of things that are fraught with holes, i.e. deeply flawed:

1. At first, there was neither pain nor fear, only an unfamiliar warmth flooding his chest. Then he remembered the cow and her kicking back leg. Then he realized how hard it was to see.

He woke up lying on the rubber mat on the dusty floor of the dairy where he works. It was 4:30 in the morning, and he had been at work since 5 the night before. The sweet and putrid smell of cow manure laced the air. As he waited half an hour for his boss to come take him to the hospital, he pressed a towel to his face, stared at the blood pooled on his white T-shirt. His head felt as though it might burst. He told himself that it was only a cut, but he had never felt pain like this before.

Later, he learned that his face was broken in three places. The doctors put a metal plate beneath his left eye. Now, four years later, he explains in Spanish through a translator that the plate is slipping. His eye burns, especially in the heat. He can’t see well without glasses.

He is afraid to tell his story without the shield of a different name, so let’s call him Gustavo. Like many of the immigrants who work in the West's dairies, he lives here illegally. He thinks about how easy it would be for his bosses to fire him and replace him with one of the other immigrants who come here daily looking for work. He has three young children and a wife to support, as well as his parents and siblings back in Peru.

“It’s a job with lots of risks. If I had papers, man, there’s no way I’d be working in a dairy. But in this town, this is the best job I can get,” he says, sagging into his kitchen chair, exhausted after his 12-hour shift. When he smiles, a quick, almost apologetic smile, his left eye looks slightly lopsided. A jagged purple scar mars the base of his cheek. “Every worker I know says they’ve been kicked or stepped on by a cow. It’s common. But one day (the cows) might break your bones, or maybe even kill you.”

Milk may have a wholesome commercial image, but the dairies that produce most of the nation’s supply aren’t always healthy places to work. Dairy workers are injured at a much higher rate than other workers in the U.S.: Between 2004 and 2007, nearly seven of every 100 dairy workers were hurt annually on average, compared to 4.5 out of 100 for all private industries. Beyond using tractors and heavy farming equipment, dairy workers interact with large, unpredictable farm animals — work that ranks among the most hazardous of all occupations, according to a 2007 article in Epidemiology. Plus, they breathe air laced with bacteria and manure dust, putting them at risk for long-term respiratory disease.

Data culled by High Country News show that at least 18 people died in Western dairies between 2003 and 2009 (see sidebar for a state-by-state list, with links to original accident reports and investigations). They were killed in tractor accidents, suffocated by falling hay bales, crushed by charging cows and bulls and asphyxiated by gases from manure lagoons and corn silage. Others survived but lost limbs or received concussions and spent days in the hospital. However, it’s difficult to form an accurate picture of the dangers lurking in dairies because the data are incomplete. Due in part to lobbying by the powerful agricultural industry, the reporting requirements for employers are full of holes, and state and federal laws prevent safety agencies from investigating injuries and deaths in certain cases. Meanwhile, dairy workers themselves are often too afraid to speak up.

- The dark side of dairies, HCN.org, August 24, 2009.

2. “Green Zone” looks and feels an awful lot like the Oscar-winning Iraq war thriller “The Hurt Locker.”

That's no surprise, because both films are set in the Middle East and both were shot by the same cinematographer, Barry Ackroyd.

And that helps explain why the action scenes have some of the same gritty, authentic feel and why they’re so tense and riveting.

Unfortunately, that makes it even more of a shame that the plot itself is riddled with so many holes. While it’s watchable, this convoluted and contrived speculative piece is not the ideal reteaming for “Bourne Supremacy” star Matt Damon and that film’s director, Paul Greengrass.

The film’s conclusion is a little too pat, and those expecting to see Damon as an action star (a la the “Bourne” movies) will be disappointed.

- Film review: ‘Green Zone’ looks great, but plot is full of holes, DeseretNews.com, March 11, 2010.

3. Melania Trump is demanding a retraction and apology after People magazine published reporter Natasha Stoynoff’s first-person account of being pinned against a wall and kissed by Donald Trump when she interviewed both Trumps at Mar-a-Lago in 2005.

It is no surprise that the would-be first lady is pushing back against the article. After being profiled by GQ in April, she blasted the story as “yet another example of the dishonest media and their disingenuous reporting.” When the Daily Mail and several blogs picked up an unsubstantiated report about Melania Trump in a Slovenian magazine in August, she demanded retractions through an attorney, Charles Harder — and got them. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has asked the New York Times to retract a report about two other alleged incidents of sexual assault.

This is how the Trumps roll.

What makes Melania Trump’s beef with People so amazing is that the list she and Harder compiled of supposedly “fictionalized” material has nothing to do with Stoynoff’s assault claim. At all.

A demand letter sent to the magazine focuses entirely on a minor anecdote, near the end of the article, in which Stoynoff describes running into Melania Trump on a street in New York several months after the alleged assault.

Here is an excerpt from the letter:

We therefore demand that you immediately and permanently remove each of these statements from the story and print a prominent retraction and apology:

“That winter, I actually bumped into Melania on Fifth Avenue, in front of Trump Tower as she walked into the building, carrying baby Barron.”

“‘Natasha, why don’t we see you anymore?’ she asked, giving me a hug.”

“I was quiet and smiled, telling her I’d missed her, and I squeezed little Barron’s foot.”

The true facts are these: Mrs. Trump did not encounter Ms. Stoynoff on the street, nor have any conversation with her. The two are not friends and were never friends or even friendly. At the time in question, Mrs. Trump would not have even recognized Ms. Stoynoff if they had encountered one another on the street.

To review: Melania Trump is not disputing Stoynoff’s claim that Donald Trump assaulted her. Melania Trump is disputing Stoynoff's claim that the two women had a chance encounter on a city street several months later.

Is this for real? It’s almost as if Melania Trump is trolling her own husband — rejecting the defamatory notion that she would be friendly with, or even recognize, a reporter, while declining to challenge the idea that Donald Trump stuck his tongue down the throat of the same journalist.

In Stoynoff’s telling, Melania Trump was not present at the moment when Donald Trump attacked: She had gone upstairs to change into another outfit. It would mean little for Melania Trump to say she did not witness the alleged assault because no one is claiming she did.

But Melania Trump could try to cast doubt on Stoynoff’s claim by countering other details in the reporter’s account of the visit. Melania Trump could say she was not absent long enough for an assault to have occurred or say that Stoynoff’s claim is not credible because her whole recollection of the interview is full of holes.

Melania Trump did not say any of those things. Melania Trump also has not disputed the account of Mindy McGillivray, who told the Palm Beach Post that when Donald Trump made a pass at her during a party in 2003, Melania caught him in the act.

- Melania Trump’s demand for a retraction by People magazine is simply amazing, WashingtonPost.com, October 14, 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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