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Living under a rock? 与世隔绝

中国日报网 2023-06-09 14:38


Reader question:

Please explain “under a rock” in this quote: “I don’t know who Elon Musk is. I’ve been living under a rock.”

My comments:

The speaker does not live under a rock. Not literally. However, he likens himself to someone who dwells under a rock, or, in other words, lives in a cave.

Like in the old days, right?

Like 200,000 years ago, right? That’s the time when humans lived in caves.

Like the Neanderthals, for example.


That’s an extinct species of human who lived in ice-age Europe back then.

Anyways, for the speaker to liken himself to a cave dweller is for him or her to admit that they are ignorant of current affairs.

Like, totally ignorant.

After all, if one isn’t fully cut off from the world, they should know who Elon Musk is.

I mean, don’t they read the newspaper?

Don’t they go online?

Aren’t they interested in technology?

Aren’t they interested in money matters?

Otherwise, they probably would’ve known something about Elon Musk, who is the owner of Twitter and Tesla cars as well as one of the richest persons in the world.

Back to “living under a rock”. This idiom, as I’ve explained, is often used to describe people who are ignorant or otherwise cut off from the world. They’ve no idea what’s going on, politically or culturally.

And that is a bad thing.

Or, is it?

Perhaps not. I feel we stare at the screen of our mobile phone way too much these days. I sometimes feel that we’d be better off if we didn’t do that. So, if you’re one of those who don’t get your news and entertainment from TikTok, feel no shame.

That’s my take. I don’t want to be too judgmental and speak for others. To each his own.

Let’s stay on topic and read a few media examples of the American idiom “living under a rock”:

1. High school basketball’s most recognizable player is Bronny James. In case you live under a rock, he’s the son of LeBron James and he’s on the rise in the 247Sports rankings for the class of 2023.

Why has the 6-foot-3 combo guard at Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon risen to No. 41 nationally? How high could he rise? What is the current status of senior who already has over 6.4 million followers on Instagram and just so happens to be the son of most famous active NBA player on the planet?

More than ever, it is about his game than his name.


To understand why a move from No. 49 to No. 41 by Bronny is notable, you have to take a look at the direction in which his ranking might have been headed.

During the summer, James got off to a slow start. After 247Sports’ spring rankings update, James had a few subpar outings between Memorial Day and early July. He was timid, he was settling for too many contested, low efficiency, deep two-point jump shots and he looked to be in danger of a post-summer slide in the rankings.

During the latter part of July we saw the most aggressive and consistent version of Bronny that we’ve seen to date and he’s continued to show some impressive flashes during an ESPN televised tour of Europe during August. James has developed a nice pull-up jump shooter, he has been playing with a more aggressive mindset and he’s shown enough off the dribble and as a playmaker to necessitate a change of his listed position from shooting guard to point guard.

- Bronny James’ rankings rise is more about his game than it is his name, 247Sports.com, August 23, 2022.

2. Michael Jeffrey Jordan is a name that is familiar to everyone unless you live under a rock. MJ has been regarded as one of the best sportspersons and a great businessman, earning him the title “GOAT” in the world of basketball. With a total net worth of over $2 Billion, Jordan apart from giving back to society through charity has also developed a great taste for anything that’s fast and runs on four wheels. His latest acquisition comes from an American brand and to call this car just “fast” would be an understatement.

Michael Jordan isn’t just famous to people who follow basketball or to the people from the sneaker community. Jordan has actively been collecting both new-age and vintage high-performance cars and his collection has always managed to catch the attention of the car community. This time, the legend goes overboard and purchases something that we’ve never seen before.

With Jordan’s car collection now expanded, he’s added a car worth over $3.5 million that will share the garage with brands like Bugatti, Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin, and many more. The latest Instagram post from Hennessey Performance, the American hypercar manufacturer shows Michael Jordan taking delivery of his new Hennessey Venom F5 Roadster at the Grove XXIII golf club in Florida, which if you didn’t know belongs to Jordan himself.

- Michael Jordan Buys A Hennessey Venom F5 Roadster That You Probably Didn’t Know Existed, CarHP.com, May 24, 2023.

3. Language is living, dynamic, and ever-changing. The language of today isn't the same as it was 100 years ago, or 50 years ago or even five years ago. Concepts from different professions flow into everyday language and we end up using these terms frequently.

Social media and TV shows play a major role in this, and if you spend even a small amount of time online, it’s likely that psychological concepts have entered your everyday language – and you might not have even noticed.

All it takes is just one viral TikTok video.

One of the most prominent examples of this is the word “gaslighting.” If you don’t live under a rock and have been on the Internet at least once in the last year, you’ve no doubt come across this term.

It has seeped so deeply into our everyday life that the word was named “Word of the Year” by the Miriam Webster dictionary.

Words have power because they shape consciousness and, ultimately, shape reality. This is because the careful choice of words can help shape the public narrative and opinion.

For instance, consider what's going on between Russia and Ukraine. Is it a “war” and “invasion” or a “maneuver” or “special military operation?” Are the changes being proposed to Israel's judicial system a “reform” or a “coup?” Are the IDF’s recent actions in the West Bank an “operation” or something else?”

- Toxic boss gaslighting you? What these pop-psychology terms really mean, JPost.com, May 28, 2023.


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)


He’s toast? 完蛋了


Old news? 过气了


No two ways about it? 别无选择

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