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At play

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:47 am
by Stevenloan
Image

https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/660/cpspr ... 801682.jpg

A: Audi drops "insensitive" girl with banana ad. "We sincerely apologize for this insensitive image and ensure that it will not be used in future."

B: For Christ Sake. It is a lovely photo of little girl enjoying a healthy snack leaning against a posh car. Some sick minds at play if they see anything else.

- Hi guys! "at play" means "Actively playing or involved in other leisure activities". But I still do not understand "some sick minds at play" in this situation. What does the phrase mean?

Your answers will be greatly appreciated.

StevenLoan

Re: At play

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 2:43 pm
by Phil White
Hi Steven,
Merriam Webster (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/at%20play) has this definition and example:
2 : being something that helps produce or influence a result
Several issues are at play in determining the price of gasoline.
The definition is not particularly clear, but the example is good.
If something is "at play" (also "in play"), it forms part of the reason why something happens. You could say it is part of the causal chain.

So B is saying that the reason that people see the ad as tasteless or worse is that they have "sick minds".

"In play" is sometimes used with the same meaning, and then there is the phrase "come into play", which means that something takes on an important role or function: "In the summer months a different set of climatic factors come into play."

For what it's worth, I think the ad is an absolute disgrace. I rather hope that the ad agency that developed it is named and shamed. It is gratifying to think that Audi will probably never be using them again.

Re: At play

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 5:40 pm
by Erik_Kowal
This is the news story from which the photo is taken: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53648638

To my mind, "some sick minds at play" represents an outlier in terms of the usage of "at play". It is more usual to see it being employed to describe or reference an influence, process, phenomenon or emotion, such as "the sense of impunity at play in the 2008 global financial crisis", "the self-reinforcing feedback loops at play in the unfolding climate disaster", "the conflation of sex and gender at play in trans ideology", "the sensitivities at play in relation to the use of children in advertising".

Re: At play

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:01 pm
by Phil White
Erik_Kowal wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 5:40 pm To my mind, "some sick minds at play" represents an outlier in terms of the usage of "at play".
I don't really see the disjunct here. "Sick minds" represent an attitude, mindset or phenomenon, if you will, that influences a person's response to the ad.

Re: At play

Posted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:38 am
by Erik_Kowal
When I Googled the phrase "sick minds at play" (in quotation marks), my search returned 16 hits, two of which were the same comment relating to the same story that Steven posted about above. There were also a couple of other duplicates.

Make of that what you will, but I consider that the result of my search query backs up my contention that this particular usage is an outlier.

Re: At play

Posted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 5:46 am
by Stevenloan
Phil White and Erik : Thank you both so much for your answers. They are really helpful.

StevenLoan