a Marmite sb sth Br coll fig something…

a Marmite sb./sth. [Br., coll., fig.: something you either love or hate] = jd./etw., an dem sich die Geister scheiden; jd/etw., den/das man entweder hasst oder liebt, der/das polarisiert; ein polarisierender/polarisierendes jd./etw.

“Marmite is made from yeast extract, a by-product of beer brewing. The British version of the product is a sticky, dark brown paste with a distinctive, powerful flavour, which is extremely salty and savoury with umami qualities. This distinctive taste is reflected in the British company’s marketing slogan: ‘Love it or hate it.’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marmite

I couldn’t find a real German equivalent—although I’m sure there’s food in Germany that similarly divides peoples in lovers or haters, nothings seems to do so quite as prototypically as this “Marmite” thing does, so a wordier circumlocution is required.

(British) English usage examples:

“ST PAUL is, to use a current phrase, a “Marmite Man” — which means that you either hate him or love him.” thinkinganglicans.org.uk

“The word ‘Marmite’ has crept its way into the world of music over the last few years, particularly in the behind-the-scenes world of A&Rs, producers and managers. […] When used properly, the phrase describes the sort of band or artist which divides opinion as strongly as the disgusting/delicious yeasty food product Marmite. It is not a phrase used to describe how good or bad something is – there’s no value judgement involved. […]
Radio Person 2: “I fucking hate Alphabeat.”
Radio Person 1: “I fucking love Alphabeat.”
Radio Person 2: “Yeah they’re a classic Marmite band.” popjustice.com

“[Sarah Palin is] a Marmite politician, a populist who enthuses enormous swaths of US voters, whose attitudes and personal history makes them feel: ‘She’s me; she understands my hopes and fears.’ But Marmite politicians also frighten people. Palin’s public utterances and record make many Americans recoil at the very thought that this flake could get anywhere near the levers of power in the federal government in Washington […]” guardian.co.uk

Plus a few more at en.wiktionary.org.

German usage examples, demonstrating similar uses, also in the realms of pop culture and politics:

“Und ein Album, an dem sich die Geister scheiden mögen, das die Fans aber nicht voreilig beiseite legen, sondern sich für die ‘besondere Stunden’ aufheben sollten.” rocktimes.de

“Janick Gers ist wohl der Maiden-Gitarrist an dem sich die Geister scheiden. Die einen lieben seine coole, gelassene Art, die er abseits der Bühne an den Tag legt, die anderen verachten ihn für sein Herumgehüpfe auf der Bühne.” maidenaustria.at

“Ein Auto, an dem sich die Geister scheiden. Die einen lieben den New Beetle als das, was er sein sollte – die Neuauflage des großen Klassikers. Die anderen suchen bei ihm noch heute den Charme des Originals.” autobild.de


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