Please explain “off message”, as in this sentence: On immigration, one Republican has gone off-message in saying: “We are the melting pot of the world.”
Immigration is a complicated issue in America, assuming we’re talking about Republicans in America.
I’ll try my best to give a simple and straightforward answer.
Republicans, led by former President Donald Trump, want to stop illegal immigration into America. They even want to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico.
That’s the message, the central message.
And one Republican has gone off message by pointing out that America is a melting pot, that is, a mixture of immigrants from around the world.
America has been better off because of it, as immigrants bring in a vast diversity of know-how, expertise and culture.
However, diversity and welcome-to-the-big-melting-pot are not the message Republicans want to send out nowadays.
Hence, the melting-pot idea is off message.
Off the central message, that is.
Off message is similar to off topic.
For example, if Elon Musk gives a lecture on how to, one day, send people to the Mars but he talks at length about Israeli-Hamas conflict in Gaza, then he’s strayed off topic.
Off topic and off message, the message and the central theme being sending people to the mars.
“Off message” is mostly a political expression, however, and it’s often politically incorrect for anyone to do so. For example, being proud of America as a melting pot is not the correct party line to toe right now for Republicans.
It’s considered off, as in off key.
If a musician hits the wrong keys all the time, then his or her music is out of tune and dissonant (disagreeable to the ear).
Dissonant and displeasing, but not politically wrong.
Off message, however, is usually politically wrong.
That’s the, um, key difference between off key and off message.
All right, here are media examples of “off message”:
1. Italian actresses Zaina Dridi and Samantha Capitoni both suffered red carpet malfunctions within weeks of each other after Zaina flashed her see-through knickers at the Rome Film Festival.
Despite brunette beauty Samantha being left red-faced when her thigh-split gown flapped open, fellow Italian Zaina followed suit and showed even more of her crotch area.
Dridi was attending the film premiere of Carol when her dress decided to go off-script.
The stunning brunette was obviously aware of the breeze but decided to embrace the problem.
She kept a stiff upper lip and decided to own the malfunction and flaunt the look.
And the two Italian lovelies with their Roman – or is that roaming – dresses are not the only celebs whose frocks went off message.
Take poor Amanda Holden for example, who flashed slightly more flesh than she bargained for as she hit the red carpet at the Collars & Coats Gala Ball last year.
The 44-year-old, who was being ushered on the red carpet in her girly Zeynep Kartal dress, tried to get the hem from beneath her strappy sandals as she moved along.
It was a little more difficult than it seemed as she was caught unawares by the cameras, revealing her nude underwear.
And from Kim Kardashian exposing her knickers at the MET gala, to Mariah Carey’s near nip-slip and Kelly Brook’s dodgy zip, there's been flesh-flashing fails aplenty.
- As actress flashes SEE THROUGH knickers the most shocking nipple slips and wardrobe malfunctions, Mirror.co.uk, October 23, 2015.
2. On his visit to Brentwood, New York, on Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump showed how little he understands the nuances of immigration, the signature issue of his campaign.
Railing against the MS-13 gang, he suggested that the Long Island suburbs are so out of control they are akin to Cambodia or Iraq. He continually veered off-message, riffing on his campaign, Obamacare, his popularity and a host of other subjects. Not content with praising the efforts of law enforcement, he encouraged them to commit acts of brutality against suspected criminals.
Trump said, “When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough. I said, ‘Please, don’t be too nice.’” It was bad enough that the Suffolk County Police Department released a statement Friday afternoon to emphasize its “strict rules and procedures” relating to the handling of prisoners and saying that “we do not and will not tolerate ‘rough(ing)’ up prisoners.”
All this at a speech that was supposed to draw attention to the serious threat of gang violence on Long island and around the country. If that was really what the President wanted to achieve, then this was a speech that deserves to be termed Mission: Not Accomplished.
- The real message in Trump’s MS-13 speech, CNN.com, July 29, 2017.
3. In the darkest recesses of the Canadian legal system, someone, somewhere decided that, yes, bail would be a good idea for Joseph Chlala.
Who is Joseph Chlala, you ask?
Well, he may be standing next to you.
The 22-year-old was originally charged with first-degree murder for the targeted hit on Edmonton man Christian Navos in his parked car in Calgary on July 14, 2020.
Citing an agreed statement of facts, Postmedia reported that Chlala and another suspect approached Navos’ vehicle during an apparent dope deal. The other suspect – who can’t be identified because of the Youth Criminal Justice Act – allegedly parked seven bullets in Navos.
Chlala was released on bail about eight months after the slaying, living with his grandparents in Ottawa, who as it happens put up $100,000.
In January, Chlala pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the case.
But then when it came time to do the dance, he failed to show up for his March 16 sentencing, leaving grandma and grandpa holding the bag. Chlala allegedly had cut off his ankle monitor.
Fast forward to June 14.
In another botched, drug-related incident, Osama Ali, 21, was shot multiple times and died in an alley in southwest Edmonton.
Prime suspect? Joseph Chlala.
Last Monday, Edmonton Police issued a Canada-wide warrant for Chlala. He is suspected of second-degree murder in the slaying of Ali.
Cops say he’s armed and dangerous. He might be anywhere in Canada or he may have skipped the country.
After failing to show up for his sentencing, the judge in the Calgary case hinted all bets could be off on his plea deal and said Chlala remains charged with first-degree murder.
His shocked lawyer, Robert Claus, offered up the excuse that Chlala may have had “some sort of panic attack” over the eight years ahead in the slammer.
Of course, the Crown opposed Chlala’s release. Didn’t matter. Nor apparently did Osama Ali, murdered less than three months after Chlala’s ill-fated sentencing hearing.
Edmonton Police Staff-Sgt. Jared Buhler went off message on Thursday when discussing Chlala and – gasp – the victim, Osama Ali.
“But from a theoretical perspective, it’s impossible to commit another murder if the killer is in jail,” he told reporters. “That may be what occurred here, so it’s obviously troubling to us as a police service. A life was lost – a son, a brother was lost to his family.”
- Did killer who skipped bail murder again? TorontoSun.com, September 18, 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: email@example.com, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.