Under the thumb?

中国日报网 2018-03-27 10:53



Under the thumb?Reader question:

Please explain this sentence: He had these families under his thumb.

My comments:

Sounds like a mafia story. Sounds like all “these families” were members of a gang of the mafia type and “he” acts like the big boss, having all of them under firm, relentless control.

Anyways, that’s what under the thumb means.

If you have people under your thumb, you’re kind of, like, likening them to a small insect, such as an ant on the table. If you put your thumb down you have the ant completely covered underneath your big finger – air tight and leaving no wiggle room – and if you’re really being cruel and use a little force and squeeze the ant against the table, why, you can easily nip and destroy the innocent thing.

That’s interpreting it literally, of course.

Metaphorically speaking, having someone under the proverbial thumb is likewise, descriptive of any relationship that’s very unequal, a relationship in which one party, the owner of the thumb, so to say, is the dominant party while the other side, whoever it is that resides under the proverbial thumb, is totally powerless.

In other words, one party, the thumb or rather its owner is big and powerful and all controlling while the other party is small, insignificant and totally at mercy.

Needless to say, the thumb owner gets to do what it wants to do but the members of other party, who are under the thumb, have to do whatever the figurative thumb owner tells them to.

That’s about it.

All right, here are media examples to help us put the proverbial thumb into better perspective:

1. He watches girly box-sets, wears boots because his partner saw them on TOWIE, and he always sits down to go to the loo so his other half doesn’t have to lift the toilet seat up - meet Britain’s most ‘under the thumb’ bloke.

Henpecked Mike Jeffries, 25, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, always has to sit down when he goes to the toilet so his controlling other half Joanna Felicitas, 23, doesn’t have to put the seat down later.

Mr Jeffries admits his fiancee, who he proposed to in 2009, carries out regular spot checks during his trips to the loo - and even phones him if he takes too long.

The sports coach, who owns his own football academy, was also banned from spending time with his best friend Keith - after Joanna became worried people would think they’re in a relationship.

‘I have to accept that I am truly under the thumb and changes need to be made,’ he said.


After a six-week hunt for the most henpecked man in the country, organisers at lads mag Zoo and Brighton based The Stag Company were in no doubt that Mr Jeffries should beat thousands of entries to land the dubious title.

Despite threatening to kill the mates who stitched him up, he has been forced to admit that their allegations were true - especially after revealing how he spent his Valentine’s Day.

‘My initial reaction was to kill them, but I’d have to say the majority of what he said is pretty fair,’ he said.

‘Valentines night was a blinder. I have to admit I did not get a card till last minute. In the end I had a romantic meal with the missus, her sister and her partner.

‘It was the full works: candles, rose; glasses and bucks fizz. To end the night we started to watch series 3 of Gossip Girl, which I bought for her.’

As part of his prize, Mr Jeffries and five friends will be treated to a weekend away in Newcastle - complete with a trip to a strip club and a casino.

And despite the usually strict regime, he revealed he would be allowed to go on the lads trip.

‘She has calmed down a bit now and I am allowed to go,’ he added.

‘She ain’t happy about the trip, but a spa weekend softened the blow. Maybe one cheeky dance won’t harm, other than that I’ll be waiting outside as the boys have fun.’

But despite all the demands from his fiancee, Mr Jeffries claims he is incredibly happy and recently proposed.

‘I proposed to her up the Eiffel Tower,’ he said. ‘I had the ring all ready but was thinking of backing out and doing it another time but then a man nearby proposed to his girlfriend and my other half gave me a look, so I did it there and then.

‘I don’t regret it for a minute. Joking aside it is definitely worth putting up with everything.

‘She really is great. She takes me for who I am and is my best friend as well.’

The search for Britain’s Most Under The Thumb Bloke was the brainchild of Mark Booth, Web copywriter at The Stag Company.

He said: ‘This was just an idea I had one day, and thought it would be funny if we tried to find the most whiplashed guy in the UK.

‘It’s mad to think that there was actually an unfortunate bloke who lives that very life,’ he said. ‘I’m proud to have outed Mike for what he is - truly under the thumb.’

- ‘I’m truly under the thumb’: Is this Britain’s most henpecked man? DailyMail.co.uk, February 20, 2012.

2. Donald Trump is running for president. Many believed or hoped that the Donald’s latest foray into national politics was nothing more than a public-relations move, not a serious attempt to reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

But now that Trump holds the lead in national polls, as well as polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, it’s time to take his campaign seriously. Media outlets like Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal, which are covering Trump’s run as an entertainment story, not a news story, are making a mistake. If Trump wants to be a serious candidate for president, and has the numbers to back it up, he must be vetted like a serious candidate for president. A good place to start is to take a hard look at Trump’s ties to Philadelphia and New York organized-crime families.

Trump was building his eponymous empire of hotels, casinos, and high rises in the early 1980s in New York City and Atlantic City. In both places, the construction industry was firmly under the thumb of the mafia. And in both places there are literally concrete connections between La Cosa Nostra and Trump’s lavish projects. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, who has covered Trump for decades, has written a very useful list of questions for Trump. Many focus on his ties to the mob. In addition in his 1992 book, “Trump, The Deals and the Downfall,” author Wayne Barrett lays out a slew of suspicious dealings and associations.

- How Close Was Donald Trump To The Mob? TheFederalist.com, July 28, 2015.

3. The ever-escalating Stormy Daniels saga took another strange turn Tuesday night when CNN brought attorneys for the porn star and Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, into its studios and let them rip into each other on prime time television.

Michael Avenatti, an attorney and spokesman for Daniels, and David Schwartz, an attorney for Cohen, spent nearly a half-hour trading insults and accusations and waving their hands at each other in a heated discussion about a nondisclosure agreement that Daniels says in legal filings she signed to stay silent about an affair with the president.

At one point Avenatti, who has mounted a media blitz in recent days, held up an unflattering picture of Cohen and demanded Schwartz explain why he wouldn’t come onto the network.

“You’re a very passionate guy on behalf of your client, Michael Cohen,” Avenatti told Schwartz. “If Michael Cohen is such a stand-up guy, where is he? Where is this guy? Why won’t he come and sit in this chair?”

“Believe me, he can’t wait to come here and sit with you and talk about this case,” Schwartz responded.

The segment, hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, comes amid bitter legal dispute over the agreement.

Daniels says in court papers that she signed the document just before the 2016 election in exchange for $130,000 in hush money – a payment arranged by Cohen, as the Wall Street Journal revealed in January.

After embarking on a striptease tour earlier this year called “Make America Horny Again,” Daniels sued Trump in March to get out of the agreement, alleging it was invalid because he never signed it. Cohen fired back in his own filings last week, claiming he was entitled to $20 million in damages because she had violated it 20 times.

Adding to the tension, CBS’s “60 Minutes” is scheduled to air an interview between Cooper and Daniels on March 25. The White House has denied that there was ever an affair between Trump and the porn star.

In Tuesday’s CNN segment, Schwartz told Cooper that Trump was a third-party beneficiary to the agreement, and that Cohen had acted on his own accord. There was a spot for Trump’s signature, but Trump didn’t sign it. He didn’t have to, Schwartz said.

Cooper asked if it was normal for an attorney to pay out of his own pocket on his client’s behalf.

“No, but there’s nothing illegal about it. And given the context of this relationship there’s certainly nothing unethical about it,” Schwartz said.

“If all of that is believable,” Avenatti spit back, “then why did Mr. Cohen draft an agreement with a signature line for Donald Trump?”

“That’s painting a fictional picture of the whole scenario,” Schwartz said. He then accused Avenatti of deliberately advising Daniels to “blatantly violate” the contract.

“She’s going to be liable for $20 million,” he said, pointing a finger at Avenatti, “and Michael Cohen is going to collect every single penny of that money, make no mistake.”

They sparred for several minutes over the provisions of the agreement, some of which require Trump to stay away from her and her family and release her from claims he has against her, according to Avenatti. Schwartz called Avenatti’s view of the agreement “absurd” and again said Daniels would be on the hook for a lot of money.

“Why not just let her talk?” Avenatti interjected, wagging his finger at Schwartz. “Why is it so important to your friend and the president of the United States to keep this woman under wraps, to keep her under the thumb, to shut her up?”

- Lawyers for Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen spar on CNN: ‘You’re gonna go down in flames.’MercuryNews.com, March 21, 2018.


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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