giving Bernie Sanders a "<ration> of sh*t"

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panzerfaust0

Senior Member
mandarin
Hello. I was talking about politics with a friend of mine who is American. He said that the media in his country has been giving Bernie Sanders a "ration of sh*t". Basically he thinks the media have been criticizing Bernie Sanders ruthlessly and unfairly.

I know that "ration" means "the total amount of food that is given to someone to be eaten during a particular activity and in a particular period of time, especially an amount given to soldiers when they are fighting". However in our context, it doesn't make sense. Bernie Sanders is clearly not a soldier, furthermore, criticism is not food. So, there must be another meaning. Can I take it to mean that he meant there has been a lot of sh*t for//unfair attacks on Sanders? But "ration" implies something limited, so I am not sure.

How would you interpret his statement? Thanks.
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Can I take it to mean that he meant there has been a lot of sh*t for//unfair attacks on Sanders?
    :thumbsup: Yes. As you explain in your introduction: "Basically he thinks the media have been criticizing Bernie Sanders ruthlessly and unfairly."

    It's not an expression I'm familiar with, but I don't think the strict dictionary definition you've found for 'ration' gets in the way of understanding what he meant.

    But if you're still in doubt, perhaps you could ask your friend what he meant.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't think a ration need necessarily be of food, and dictionaries seem to agree with me.

    Thus you can take a ration of daily exercise; the idea is of a fixed amount administered or taken repeatedly.

    A metaphor is an implicit image, and I don't think use of the word ration necessarily means using an implicit image, though obviously it can do.

    It would seem to be a metaphor in this case, particularly if you accept the disgusting suggestion that poor Bernie is going to have to eat this stuff, and I think, Panzerfaust, that your friend is misusing the language. He means that the media have (media is the plural of medium, remember) been criticising Bernie regularly and unfairly, doling out shit on him repeatedly and persistently. But a ration is usually something which is pleasant and deserved, so use of the word conflicts with your friend's intended message, it seems to me.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    But a ration is usually something which is pleasant and deserved, so use of the word conflicts with your friend's intended message, it seems to me.
    A "ration of shit" is well established in the language. Google shows 300 actual results, which is a respectable number. And Ngrams shows the expression taking off about the time the Vietnam War began in earnest, say 1966, and hitting a peak in 1992, but still remaining popular.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    A "ration of shit" is well established in the language. Google shows 300 actual results, which is a respectable number. And Ngrams shows the expression taking off about the time the Vietnam War began in earnest, say 1966, and hitting a peak in 1992, but still remaining popular.
    Yes, I accept that the expression is properly used when the person deserves to have shit regularly and copiously dumped upon him.

    However, here the speaker is suggesting that the ration of shit is undeserved, and I'm saying that one's ration is one's right, so there's a conflict between the intended emotional impact and the chosen word.

    This is entirely consistent with the idea that the expression a 'ration of shit' is frequently used correctly by native speakers.

    I should have been more clear initially.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Yes, I accept that the expression is properly used when the person deserves to have shit regularly and copiously dumped upon him.
    Interesting, I don't see "ration of shit" as being deserved or undeserved – it's simply what is served. How it is taken would normally, for me, be described.

    He doesn't deserve the ration of shit that he's taking. It has nothing to do with him.
    He deserves the ration of shit that he's taking – just look at what he's been saying.


    And I would use "taking" rather than some other phrase, like "being served," even though it's a ration.

    My example sentences are not about Bernie, by the way.
     
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