Please explain “piling on” in this quote: “I guess I’m just piling on. But the new cable service is slow and useless.”
A discussion seems to be going on about cable service, and the speaker is adding his own voice to support other people’s criticisms of the new service, which is, among other things, “slow and useless.”
We may safely infer that there have been a lot of criticisms directed at the cable service because the speaker realizes that he is just piling on.
To pile on, you see, is literally to put something extra onto an existing heap (pile), a large quantity of things gathered together, a pile of good books, e.g. or rubbish.
Some people describe their gaining weight as piling on the pounds. In soccer and other field sports, we see players leap on top of other players after a goal is scored. This is another type of pile-on, a cheerful type. Here the scorer slides to the pitch in delight. Teammates rush up (or, in this case, down) to embrace him, all bundled up on the grass while late comers leap on top of the pile of bodies. Players pile on one another to increase their collective joy, cheering their fans and whipping up the atmosphere across the stadium.
In our example, however, the scene is not one of jubilation. Here, the speaker was adding his voice to public criticism towards the new cable service, making the service sound like even more terrible and useless than before.
To use a similar expression, he is rubbing it in, like, rubbing salt into a wound to increase the pain.
In Chinese, we have a similar expression in the form of throwing a piece of stone down a well after seeing some victim fall into it. This expression sounds severe and much more vicious in tone but you get the point, by throwing stones down the wall, they are definitely piling on.
All right, media examples of people piling on, more often to increase misery than happiness:
1. With gun control efforts stalled in Congress and in many statehouses, advocates are forging another path forward: They're going straight to the ballot box.
Voters in four states will weigh gun control initiatives Nov. 8 ballot: Maine, Nevada, Washington and California. In Nevada and Maine, voters are being asked whether to strengthen background check requirements for gun sales. Washington State voters already did that; now they're considering whether to allow a court to take guns away from potentially dangerous people.
California, with some of the toughest restrictions on gun buying and ownership in the nation, already has all of those laws on the books. Now, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to go ever further and bring bullets into the equation. Depending on whom you ask, it’s a question of either common sense or constitutional rights: Should ammunition be treated like guns are, with background checks for buyers and limits on who can sell?
Gun enthusiasts see Proposition 63 as an attack on their Second Amendment rights.
“Most of the provisions of this bill do not affect anyone who has been convicted of a crime. It does not affect terrorists; it does not affect potential mass shooters; it does not affect criminals. It only affects law-abiding citizens,” said Craig DeLuz, spokesman for the Stop 63 campaign and a lobbyist for the Firearms Policy Coalition in Sacramento.
He contends that California has plenty of gun control laws on the books already.
“We are getting to the point where we are just piling on, and when you make complying with the law so onerous, then one of two things happen,” he said. “One, I decide it’s too onerous and expensive for me to comply with the law or I get to a point where I am just going to ignore the law ... and I decide that the defense of myself and my family is more important than following laws that go against the Constitution.”
- Should Ammunition Buyers Face Background Checks? California’s Voters Will Decide, NPR.org, October 25, 2016.
2. In Reno, Nevada, a protester was tackled and beaten Saturday after he held a sign reading “Republicans Against Trump” at a Donald Trump campaign rally. Austyn Crites says he feared for his life after Trump told supporters to “Take him out.”
Austyn Crites: “Trump—I didn’t see exactly what happened. It looked like he was kind of pointing at me, almost like he was instigating something. People started going crazy. These people couldn’t grab the sign. They start tackling me, and then it just piled on. And someone yelled something about a gun. But I was yelling down there, ‘There is no gun. I only have a sign, I only have a sign.’ But there was people wrenching on my neck so hard that, you know, they could have strangled me to death.”
Secret Service agents rushed Donald Trump from the stage as Crites was beaten. Police detained Crites, then released him without charges. Police did not arrest any of the Trump supporters who assaulted Crites.
- Reno, Nevada: Trump Protester Beaten for Holding Sign, DemocracyNow.org, November 7, 2016.
3. Studies show how unhealthy the typical Western diet—low in fruits and veggies, high in saturated and trans fats, processed meat, sugar, and salt—can be for your health, and now a review of data in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition is piling on the bad news with research linking it to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s.
That’s particularly worrisome given the fact that approximately 42 million people are living with dementia worldwide. All U.S. men and women have about a 4% chance of developing the disease; and the rates are rising, researchers say. On a brighter note, you can lower your own odds. Diet is among the main risk factors—and you have control over what you put in your mouth. So, limit your consumption of what the researchers say are among the worst offenders: meat, sweets, and high-fat dairy—all foods native to the Western Diet. Conversely, fruits, vegetables, grains, low-fat dairy products, legumes, and fish are correlated with a lower risk. So, eat up!
Lead study author William Grant, said in a press release: “reducing meat consumption could significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well as of several cancers, diabetes mellitus type 2, stroke, and, likely, chronic kidney disease.” He adds, “Although the traditional Mediterranean diet is associated with about half the risk for Alzheimer’s disease of the Western diet, the traditional diets of countries such as India, Japan, and Nigeria, with very low meat consumption, are associated with an additional 50% reduction in risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”
- 5 reasons the “Western Diet” is the worst, MensFitness.com, November 22, 2016.
About the author:
Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: email@example.com, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.