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  1. #1
    magdalena is offline Member
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    Default who has the power :)?

    Hi!

    There is one expression in Polish language I would like to translate. It means - someone who pulls the strings from behind the scenes (we may say that the President is only a (symbolic figure?.....) but corporations pull the strings = hold real power (though, lets say, they are not perceived as such). How do we call such an organisation or a single person in English (both: the ones having real power and only "symbolic figures")?Sh... hope this is clear...

  2. #2
    curmudgeon's Avatar
    curmudgeon is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: who has the power :)?

    The power behind the throne.

  3. #3
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    Ouisch is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: who has the power :)?

    One way of saying it would be (for example): the President is merely a puppet and the big oil companies are the ones pulling his strings.

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: who has the power :)?

    Quote Originally Posted by magdalena View Post
    Hi!
    There is one expression in Polish language I would like to translate. It means - someone who pulls the strings from behind the scenes (we may say that the President is only a (symbolic figure?.....) but corporations pull the strings = hold real power (though, lets say, they are not perceived as such). How do we call such an organisation or a single person in English (both: the ones having real power and only "symbolic figures")?Sh... hope this is clear...
    Eminence grise. - borrowed from French a long time ago; we make a bit of an effort with the nasalized e, but the rest is pure English (especially the /r/ - nothing too uvular!)

    Also 'the power behind the throne' (in a monarchy).

    The place where decisions are made is (are?) 'the corridors of power'.

    And if decisions are made not in the corridors of power but behind closed doors, they're made in 'smoke-filled rooms'.

    Rarely, archaic I think: 'a Machiavel'.

    The person in only symbolic power is a 'puppet' or 'a rubber stamp'.

    The phrase 'lame-duck President' springs to mind for some reason; but that has a different meaning: Lame duck - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    b

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    Default Re: who has the power :)?

    What about the powers that be? I've also heard eminence gris and gray eminence

  6. #6
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    curmudgeon is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: who has the power :)?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    [I]Also 'the power behind the throne' (in a monarchy).
    I don't think it is confined to a monarchy. Originally it would have been (in medieval times) but I think it is widely used even in the absence of a monarch.

  7. #7
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: who has the power :)?

    When I refer to Dick Chaney (vice-president of the USA) as the puppet master everyone knows exactly what I mean. I guess that personifies the "pulling-the-strings" metaphor.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: who has the power :)?

    You mean George W is a puppet

  9. #9
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: who has the power :)?

    Do I pick on him too much? I think not enough.

    There is nothing in George W. Bush's resume, either before or after he became president, to indicate that he has the brainpower to plan a family vacation, let alone lead a country. Without a puppet master (even a malevolent model of corporate greed) my country would be leaderless.

  10. #10
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    Ouisch is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: who has the power :)?

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    Do I pick on him too much? I think not enough.
    There is nothing in George W. Bush's resume, either before or after he became president, to indicate that he has the brainpower to plan a family vacation, let alone lead a country. Without a puppet master (even a malevolent model of corporate greed) my country would be leaderless.

    Don't sugarcoat it, tell us how you really feel.

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