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It doesn’t wash 不可信

中国日报网 2023-10-10 12:24


Reader question:

Please explain “doesn’t wash” in this sentence: “I’ve heard that excuse before, and it doesn’t wash with me.”

My comments:

The speaker again hears someone making an excuse for something, and he or she does not accept the excuse. It’s an old excuse, one that is not convincing.

For example, if someone is late for an appointment in the evening and says the reason for that is because they didn’t get up in the morning in time.

That’s a lame excuse. The appointment occurs in the evening. How can the fact they they’re late getting out of bed in the morning has any bearing on making an appointment in the evening?

It doesn’t make sense.

That kind of excuse doesn’t wash with us, in other words.

Doesn't wash?

Originally, this expression refers to the fact that some fabrics do not stand washing. A piece of poor-quality clothing, for example, won’t stand washing. You wash them a few times and the fabrics begin to fray and break.

This type of clothes won’t last.

Hence and therefore, if someone’s argument doesn’t wash with you, it doesn’t last, either. You dismiss it right away because it doesn’t make sense.

It’s not convincing. Nobody will believe it.

And here are media examples of something (be it an explanation, reasoning or attitude) that doesn’t wash:

1. HAS THE SO-CALLED alt-right movement got a foothold in Ireland? Are the online groups, signature ‘looks’ and far-right ideologies gaining popularity on this isle?

There was much talk last week about the phenomenon after a glossary of terms (often derogatory towards minority groups) used by fascist groups and individuals was published online.

The article on the Irish Times website was written by Nicholas Pell, an American writer living in Ireland who has identified as a member of the ‘alternative right’ – in a deleted tweet from last July, he said, “We’re not the “alt right” anymore. We’re just the right.”

(Pell has since deleted the tweet and now says he does not identify as ‘alt-right’).

Criticism of the piece centred on the fact that it had given a legitimate platform to racist opinions. Those opposed to it being published described it as dangerous, saying it disseminated fascist notions.

Following the burst of chatter, TheJournal.ie examined how prevalent such opinions were on the ground – and online – in Ireland.

“It’s very difficult to have clear data on the far right but the suspicion is that they are a very vociferous, small minority of people… Not significant,” commented Shane O’Curry, director of the Anti Racism Network Ireland.

He is one of a group of activists and experts who believe there is little fear about the emergence or growth of a far-right movement here.

The Anti Racism Network’s iReport website received 37 complaints about Pell’s article in one day. The online reporting mechanism normally receives just one or two reports from the public in a 24-hour period.

And O’Curry says of the over 1,000 racist incidents reported to his organisation since 2013, “very few of them are linked to the far right”.

“It’s not to say Irish people aren’t capable of racism, but people won’t engage in that kind of organised far-right stuff, these ideas won’t wash with Irish people,” he continued.

“They’ve never managed to mobilise a great number of people in the real world, or have any electoral breakthrough. There have been several attempts over the last couple of years for them to create a respectable front; we had the Irish National Party and before that Identity Ireland, we had Pegida Ireland – they’ve all been complete failures.

“Having said that, there are a lot of keyboard warriors and social media is conducive to that kind of lynching. People can deploy the kind of language and tactics of the far right but that doesn’t mean there is a significant far right.”

- ‘These ideas won't wash with Irish people’: Why the alt-right has little standing in Ireland, TheJournal.ie, January 14, 2017.

2. Our political press, in its wisdom, has anointed Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy the “winners,” whatever that means, of last week’s Republican debate.

I have a different take. I thought the winner was Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, for the simple reason that he was the only person on stage who actually articulated a policy statement. Unfortunately for the cause of intelligent discourse, his statement was erected upon a pediment of lies.

Not just ordinary lies, mind you. Lies that undergirded his administration’s gruesome failure in the fight against COVID-19.


One other myth perpetuated by DeSantis and his fellow GOP political leaders is that children were largely immune to COVID and that even if they contracted the disease, their symptoms were mild or nonexistent.

Yet according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2,300 children have died from COVID. Is that a lot or a little? To their families, it’s devastating. It should be shocking to everyone. Then-CDC Director Rochelle Walensky found herself obligated to explain the facts of life to a GOP congressman at a hearing in August 2021, informing him that “children are not supposed to die.”

The problem with the argument that closing schools was a mistake is the failure to ask: “Compared to what?”

As New York neurologist and psychiatrist Jonathan Howard has put it: “What would have happened had schools remained open without any mitigation measures?” The obvious answer, he has written, “is that nearly all children would have gotten COVID, as would everyone they live with, and most school employees.”

As we’ve reported in the past, DeSantis’ record on COVID is nothing short of tragic. As of May, Florida’s COVID death rate of 411 per 100,000 population was 10th worst in the nation – about 88,000 residents ; California, with a rate of 259.4, ranks 42nd. If Florida had California’s death rate, about 32,000 Floridians would have been spared.

DeSantis’ sycophants argue that Florida’s COVID death rate is an artifact of its demographics, since it has a high percentage of seniors, who are notably vulnerable to the disease. That won’t wash.

Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, which have higher percentages of residents 65 and older, have much lower COVID death rates. In any case, DeSantis always claimed that his pandemic approach was focused on protecting those most vulnerable seniors. If so, he failed miserably at that task.

At the debate, however, he did do his best to hold the viewers’ attention. Most of the other seven candidates on the stage did too. If you tuned in to hear substance, you came to the wrong place.

- COVID lockdowns saved millions of lives – so of course Ron DeSantis is angry about them, by Michael Hiltzik, LATimes.com, August 29, 2023.

3. Labor Leader Rebecca White’s hedging on her party’s position on poker machines controls simply won’t wash with a Tasmanian public that overwhelmingly wants strong action to limit gambling harms.

Speaking on ABC radio, the Opposition Leader was pushed on whether her party supported mandatory pre-commitment and card-based play for poker machines. Rather than giving the clear “yes” answer Tasmanians expect, she tried to wriggle her way through the interview without giving an answer.

Rebecca White’s disappointing non-answer has rightly provoked concern from anti-pokies’ campaigners, who have fought for years to get these policies in place. Removing poker machines from pubs and clubs remains the best way of reducing gambling harm, however the government’s planned measures would still be a vast improvement on the current situation.

Tasmanians should have confidence that no matter who forms government at the next election, these pokies reforms will be put in place. Although Shadow Justice Ella Haddad later confirmed Labor’s commitment on mandatory commitment, Tasmania should hear this clear statement from the Opposition Leader herself.

Before the last election Ms White was happy to sign a pledge to the Tasmanian Hospitality Association, which included a commitment that Labor would further the interests of pokies’ owners when in government.

Given the doubt she’s created of Labor’s sincerity on this issue, perhaps Rebecca White should consider signing a pledge to the Tasmanian community this time, to guarantee she will implement the planned pokies’ reforms in full.

- White’s Weasel Words Won’t Wash, ESEuro.com, October 4, 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)


Break a leg 祝你好运


Track record 业绩记录


Going ballistic 勃然大怒


To a T ! 恰好


Iron-clad promise? 绝对可靠的承诺

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