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First and last! 从根本上说

中国日报网 2023-09-01 16:00


Reader question:

Please explain “first and last” in this quote:

“What I’ve learned is that professional soccer is first and last a business.”

My comments:

Professional soccer is, first and foremost, i.e. most importantly, ultimately, in the final analysis, a business.

Business is about making profits – the more exorbitantly the better.

What the speaker is saying is, in other words, professional soccer is not purely a sport.

Well, not any more, and I understand what the speaker is saying.

In the past, professional sports centered on, well, sports. Professional sportsmen made money but not a whole lot of money. Professional sports was more about winning and losing, as it were.

Nowadays, there’s too much money thrown around and money has spoiled everything.

Take this example. Recently, Al Hilal, a soccer club from Saudi Arabia (yes, that’s right) club offered to pay French superstar Kylian Mbappe $776 million for one year.

That’s an insane amount of money.

To help put things into perspective, that’s more than the entire career earnings of American basketball LeBron James, a superstar in his own right. James earned just $531 million (including the amount he is guaranteed by the Los Angeles Lakers under the current contract).

Like I said, $776 million an insane amount of money.

I’m not saying Mbappe isn’t worth it, if he decides to take the offer. He’s probably worth it, being one of the best, if not the best in the world. Plus, he’s just 24-years-old.

I’m just saying that type of salary throws everything off balance, considering what things use to be.

I’m just saying that I understand where the speaker in our example is at. Professional soccer is first and last a business.

Oh, first and last.

That’s a phrase that emphasizes the point that something is the most important thing or quality.

In other words, it’s the first and foremost. It’s the one and only.

To paraphrase the speaker:

Professional soccer is about business and sports, but mostly, at the most basic level, it’s a business.

In other words, at an increasing volume, money talks.

All right, here are media examples of “first and last”:

1. The best way to get at Emerson is to come at him all at once, in the ninety-five pages of his little book called Nature, issued anonymously in 1836, which contains the compressed totality of all that he would subsequently patiently reveal. Revelation rather than logic was the instrument used by Emerson to delve toward truth. It was not his intention to create a philosophy or to codify thought. He distrusted logical arguments as man-made, and therefore inadequate because they are imperfect as man is imperfect. Neither philosopher nor conventional moralist, Emerson, it cannot be said too often, was first and last an artist who attempted to create a vision of the world and man’s place in it. What is the world? What is nature which lies all about us? What is the refulgent beauty of nature that draws man out of himself, to quietness and calm, or to resolution? What are the mysteries of nature that inspired men resolve by conquering time or space through the discovery of such things as the telegraph, or the harnessing of waterpower and steam, or rocketing to the moon?

Not a philosopher, Emerson presented himself simply as a person who related what he had experienced, he revealed the world as it was revealed to him as he tried to see it fresh. He wrote as a realist writes. He had been there. He had seen. He knew. His essays, then, are not to be read as logical demonstrations, but as revelations. What truth is in them is not explicit, but implicit. They are to be read, that is to say, as poetry is read, not so much for what they say as for what they suggest of what cannot be said.

His sentences shimmer with meanings beyond logical expression. The essay Nature, for example, has been described as not so much directly addressing the mind as using the ‘indirections of Nature itself upon the soul; the sunrise, the haze of autumn, the winter starlight seem interlocutors; the prevailing sense is that of an exposition in poetry; a high discourse, the voice of the speaker seems to breathe as much from the landscape as from his own breast; it is Nature communing with the seer.’

- Excerpt from Lewis Leary’s “Ralph Waldo Emerson: An Interpretive Essay”, Transcendentalism.TAMU.edu.

2. Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the “Alpha and Omega” in Revelation 1:8; 21:6; and 22:13. Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Among the Jewish rabbis, it was common to use the first and the last letters of the Hebrew alphabet to denote the whole of anything, from beginning to end. Jesus as the beginning and end of all things is a reference to no one but the true God. This statement of eternality could apply only to God. It is seen especially in Revelation 22:13, where Jesus proclaims that He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

One of the meanings of Jesus being the “Alpha and Omega” is that He was at the beginning of all things and will be at the close. It is equivalent to saying He always existed and always will exist. It was Christ, as second Person of the Trinity, who brought about the creation: “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3), and His Second Coming will be the beginning of the end of creation as we know it (2 Peter 3:10). As God incarnate, He has no beginning, nor will He have any end with respect to time, being from everlasting to everlasting.

A second meaning of Jesus as the “Alpha and Omega” is that the phrase identifies Him as the God of the Old Testament. Isaiah ascribes this aspect of Jesus’ nature as part of the triune God in several places. “I, the Lord, am the first, and with the last I am He” (41:4). “I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6). “I am he; I am the first, I also am the last” (Isaiah 48:12). These are clear indications of the eternal nature of the Godhead.

Christ, as the Alpha and Omega, is the first and last in so many ways. He is the “author and finisher” of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), signifying that He begins it and carries it through to completion. He is the totality, the sum and substance of the Scriptures, both of the Law and of the Gospel (John 1:1, 14). He is the fulfilling end of the Law (Matthew 5:17), and He is the beginning subject matter of the gospel of grace through faith, not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9). He is found in the first verse of Genesis and in the last verse of Revelation. He is the first and last, the all in all of salvation, from the justification before God to the final sanctification of His people.

- What does it mean that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega? GotQuestions.org.

3. A running joke of this presidential election year has been to acknowledge the speed and proximity of big, head-spinning events – this happened, and that happened, and it’s only Wednesday – but memories have smoothed out the similar chaos of the last presidential election year.

On Oct. 7, 2016, at 3:30 p.m., the CIA released a bombshell statement that the Russian government had been behind numerous email-hacking incidents and was threatening to disrupt the upcoming election. An hour later, the Washington Post posted audio of Donald Trump telling Access Hollywood reporter Billy Bush, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Over the next month and right through the 2016 election, the hits would keep coming: Donald Trump pal Roger Stone’s revelation of “back-channel communication” with email leaker Julian Assange; the FBI’s continuing investigation of Trump foreign-policy adviser Carter Page (that would not become public until after the election); the revelation that the FBI had discovered tens of thousands of Hillary Clinton’s “missing” emails on former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s laptop; the further revelation that those emails were essentially meaningless; and the Election Night stunner that Donald Trump would become the next president of the United States.

Washington Post reporter Devlin Barrett recounts those events from deep inside an embattled and politicized FBI in his new book October Surprise: How the FBI Tried to Save Itself and Crashed an Election. Barrett sat down with The Daily Beast to talk about how – and why – former FBI director James Comey unwittingly steered the 2016 election to Donald Trump and whether the still-reeling FBI will ever recover.

Did you conclude that the FBI changed the outcome of the 2016 election?

I did, and I put a lot of thought into that. After looking at the polling numbers and talking to people who were watching the polling numbers in real time, I was convinced that James Comey’s letter of Oct. 28 tipped the balance to Trump.

Why did Hillary Clinton have a private email server when she was Secretary of State?

She has said that she did it for the sake of convenience, and there’s probably some truth to that. She came to the State Department from the Senate, where her emails were not subject to the Freedom of Information Act the way they would be in the Executive Branch. She and her staff viewed the private server as a way to shield themselves from the FOIA laws, and they grossly misjudged what the consequences of that would be.

- Blame Comey First and Last for Trump Taking the White House, TheDailyBeast.com, October 26, 2020.


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)


Get a grip, people! 冷静下来


Life hack?生活窍门


Clear-cut? 清晰明确


Meet the moment? 迎接时刻


Heat of the moment? 一时冲动


Superseding indictment? 更正起诉书

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