The Vegemite President

The Vegemite President February 28, 2018

I came across a British site that tossed off a word that I didn’t know.  It spoke of Donald Trump as being a “marmite” president.  Nothing was explained, and the assumption seemed to be that everyone would know what it meant.  So I dug around and discovered not only a new word but a helpful concept.

Read the article yourself, from the UK Christian site Christian Today.  It’s by Harry Farley,  ‘Marmite’ Trump: How the president polarises black and evangelical voters:

Donald Trump’s ‘marmite’ tendency to polarise is highlighted in a dramatic new poll showing the extent of white evangelical’s loyal approval of their president.

Just two per cent of black voters think life has got better under the Republican’s presidency compared to nearly half of white evangelicals.

In general 40 per cent of Americans say life has become worse under Trump and that figure rises to 63 per cent among black voters. But for white evangelicals just 26 per cent say life has got worse and 49 per cent say it has improved, according to a ComRes poll commissioned by the new opinion website UnHerd.

‘This very much confirms Trump as the Marmite President, said editor Tim Montgomerie. ‘We know he has polarised opinions and over on this side of the Atlantic, we read his tweets which paint him as an insensitive and impulsive maverick, but there are clearly plenty of people in the US who feel his Presidency is benefiting them.’

The poll comes ahead of a new documentary, Trump and the Evangelicals, released on Monday by the website which focuses on evangelicals’ loves of Trump.

When asked about a string of policies Trump has worked on, white evangelicals were consistently more approving than the rest of Americans.

So I looked up “Marmite,” finding this from the Cambridge English Dictionary:

Marmite

noun [ U ]

UK  /ˈmɑː.maɪt/ /ˈmɑːr/ trademark

brand name for a type of softdark brown, salty-tasting food for spreading onbread, made from yeast, that is popular in the UK

uk informal.something or someone that some people like very much and other people dislike very strongly.

 

Marmite must be the same basic product that Australians eat as Vegemite!  (Somebody correct me if I’m wrong.)

Vegemite is made out of brewer’s yeast extract.  It’s salty, bitter, savory, and looks like and has the consistency of axle grease.   Aussies spread it on toast, eat it as a sandwich, put it on other stuff.

And, as with the Marmite definition, people either just LOVE it, developing unspeakable cravings for it, or they HATE it beyond all measure.

Here in Australia, most of the populace likes it, or says they do, considering it to be a national food, the test of a true Aussie.  Most everyone else, at least the tourists, can’t stand it.

Me, I can stand it.  But I wouldn’t say that I like it.

But the extreme polarity of responses to it are indeed interesting and it does give us a word that accounts for a particular semantic space of our day, a term we need.

Yes, Trump is a Marmite President, which, being translated into Australian, would be a “Vegemite President.”

I don’t intend for us to discuss President Trump yet again.  My interest here is “Marmite” or “Vegemite” as an adjective and the concept it names.

What else could be described as “Marmite” (or “Vegemite”) in this sense?

 

Illustration by AZAdam / AdamScharks at en.wikipedia. Later version(s) were uploaded by Vanderdecken at en.wikipedia. [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

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