Tip his hand?

中国日报网 2017-08-08 13:56



Tip his hand?Reader question:

Please explain “tip his hand” in this paragraph (Arsene Wenger says reported two-year deal with PSG is ‘fake news’, FoxSports.com, March 21, 2017):

Arsene Wenger’s long tenure at Arsenal might soon be over, but the Frenchman won’t tip his hand with regards to his next move. He’s already said that he intends to continue managing if leaves the Gunners, so naturally there’s been speculation about where he’d wind up.

My comments:

Arsene Wenger is the manager of English football club Arsenal. He’s been at the post for, let me see, over twenty years, since 1996. This year, rumors again surfaced that the Frenchman intends to leave the London club and bring his managerial talents elsewhere.

Amongst the rumors was that he would go back to France, to PSG, or Paris St. Germain. Wenger refuted this rumor, calling such reports “fake news”.

He has since decided to stay at Arsenal but at the time of this report, he was undecided and would not tip his hand.

That means he wouldn’t reveal any detail about his plans.

To tip one’s hand, you see, is to tell all. This is originally an expression from poker, the card game. Here, hand refers to the cards a player has in his or her hand. Tip is the same as in “tip one’s hat” (to show respect), i.e. to tilt. If a player tips or tilts his or her hand, other players may be able to see their cards – hence gaining an advantage. In the card game, one’s cards are one’s army and one’s weaponry. Of course, when you’re fighting a battle, you won’t want your enemies to know anything about your army.

Nor your arsenal, pun intended.

Anyways, to accidentally tip one’s hand is to figuratively speaking unintentionally reveal one’s plan or strategy, intention or similar such things, things you mean to keep secret.

In short, by not tipping his hand, Wenger was, to use another poker expression, keeping his cards close to his chest.

All right, media examples of people tipping or not tipping their hand:

1. Tesla Motors Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk is known for making the future come early. And yet, somehow, he’s always running behind schedule. Some would call this a failure of management. But it might just be a business strategy: call it the Musk Doctrine.

It goes something like this: People only do paradigm-shifting work when they’re under tremendous pressure, so the key is to ensure deadlines are always impossible. This could help explain why Musk has never launched a product on time, and yet no one seems able to keep up with him. It drives Wall Street nuts.

Musk, 44, tipped his hand on this winning-through-failure strategy last week when he set the launch date for Tesla’s widely-anticipated Model 3 electric car astonishingly early: July 1, 2017. But not really , Musk explained.

“Now, will we actually be able to achieve volume production on July 1 next year? Of course not,” he said on Tesla's earnings call. “In order for us to be confident of achieving volume production of Model 3 by late 2017, we actually have to set a date of mid-2017 and really hold people’s feet to the fire, internally and externally.”

- Elon Musk’s Tesla Strategy: Win Big by Falling Short, IndustryWeek.com, May 9, 2016.

2. When the chips are down in Europe, everyone turns to Angela Merkel for a solution. But the German chancellor often sits on her hands until the last minute, then does the minimum necessary to keep the show on the road.

Since June’s shock British referendum vote to leave the European Union, all eyes have been on Berlin to indicate a way out of danger for the 27 members who will remain.

As usual, Merkel, the continent’s most powerful and experienced leader, is biding her time and letting underlings air their differences without tipping her hand before she departs for her three-week summer break this week.

Votes had barely been tallied in Britain when her vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, leader of the centre-left Social Democrats, and European Parliament president Martin Schulz rushed out a 10-point plan for a “refoundation” of Europe.

- Eyes on Merkel to rebuild EU post-Brexit, News.com.au, July 20, 2016.

3. In 2011, the year Donald Trump became the standard-bearer for the racist campaign to challenge Barack Obama’s citizenship, he didn’t just lob conspiracies about the President’s birthplace; he also questioned how Obama gained admission to two Ivy League universities. “I heard he was a terrible student, terrible,” Trump remarked, to the Associated Press. “How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard? I’m thinking about it. I’m certainly looking into it. Let him show his records.” Coming just two days before Obama released his long-form birth certificate, the attack on the President’s educational background tipped Trump’s hand. He was not simply intent on delegitimizing the first black Presidency but also the processes that made one possible in the first place.

This broader theme was easy to miss in the scrum of last year’s campaign, as duelling perspectives debated whether “economic anxiety” or populist racism was the more active ingredient in Trumpism. Trump likely understood that this was always a false dichotomy. The dominant theme in the history of American populism, from the days of Tom Watson through those of George Wallace, is that resentful whites understand their economic status not in absolute terms but relative to the blacks whom they perceive as the true barometer of their standing. The question is not whether C.E.O.s have salaries hundreds of times larger than their own but whether black people have salaries comparable to theirs. The forces that have ravaged the American working classes were set loose four decades ago and were turbocharged by the end of the Cold War, but it took two terms of a black Presidency for much of this public to recognize that its fortunes were in a tailspin. Until 2008, this group had lacked a static landmark against which to measure whether it was moving backward or forward. Obama became that.

Thus Barack Obama and Donald Trump don’t simply represent successive Presidencies; they personify rival genealogies of our current moment, warring claims to history. Where Obama built a movement to shake off the dead hand of history, Trump was hoping to reanimate that hand and clench it into a fist.

These are the tea leaves that foretold Tuesday night’s leak of the Department of Justice memo announcing its plan to mount a legal challenge to affirmative action in university admissions. Politically, the leak of the memo has the possibly intentional effect of reminding conservatives why they should defend Jeff Sessions from Trump’s attempts to replace him as Attorney General. But its significance extends beyond the factional G.O.P. infighting. The memo became public one day before Trump’s endorsement of a Senate bill that would curb legal immigration to the United States. (At a press briefing, Stephen Miller explained the move in terms that recalled the language of the racialist Immigration Act of 1924.) These two initiatives, along with the constant talk of building a border wall and the Administration’s fulminations about trade deficits, point to an over-all endeavor to create a kind of racial protectionism, to socially engineer a world in which whites—the unheralded disadvantaged class in America—once again have a deck stacked in their own favor. The logical yield of this week’s news is fewer students who are the children of immigrants and fewer black students, whose presence deprives whites of warranted opportunities. Fisher v. University of Texas, the most recent challenge to affirmative action in higher education to reach the Supreme Court, provides significant context for this week’s developments. By 2013, when the Court first ruled on Fisher’s legal challenge to the University of Texas at Austin’s admissions process, sizable minorities of whites had begun to describe themselves, in public-opinion polls, as the most disadvantaged group in American society. African-Americans constituted more than eleven per cent of the population of Texas but just 4.5 per cent of the university population. Fisher’s suit relied on the fact that African-Americans with lower grades than hers had been admitted to U.T. while she had not. But this grievance overlooked the university’s broad formula of factors for admission; in fact, of the forty-seven students admitted to U.T. with lower grades and test scores than Fisher’s, forty-two were white. Last year, after taking up the Fisher case again, the Supreme Court narrowly upheld universities’ right to use race as one factor among many in their admissions processes.

As Sherrilyn Ifill, the director-counsel of the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense and Educational Fund, pointed out, officials at the Justice Department are “attempting to use the resources of the executive branch to achieve what they have not been able to do at the Supreme Court.” Although Trump questioned the basis for Obama’s presence at two Ivy League schools, in absolute terms, blacks remain a marginal presence at the nation’s flagship institutions. Last year, African-Americans constituted just five per cent of the students at élite universities, with a large portion of that minority coming from abroad. In the hands of the Trump Administration, that number could, conceivably, grow smaller, not just at élite universities but across higher education. (Incidentally, Trump suggested earlier this year that historically black colleges might be discriminatory against white students.)

Trump has never possessed any capacity for discretion. But this is the week that the relationship between seemingly disparate pieces of his resentment agenda became clearer. Barring additional retirements at the Supreme Court, the Justice Department’s affirmative-action initiative will face obstacles, and any plan to cut immigration in half stands little chance of gaining momentum in Congress. But this week was not about practicalities. It was about throwing red meat to a restless base that has already witnessed the debacle of the failed Obamacare repeal and the internecine brawling in the executive branch. Trump and his allies can’t deliver on their promises yet. They’re requesting patience until they figure out the politics that will.

- In Trump’s World, Whites Are the Only Disadvantaged Class, NewYorker.com, August 4, 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: 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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