Today in campaign lexicon: “Ras-le-bol”



So Pauline Marois had a fit yesterday about something Jean Charest said, and journalists duly collected and printed her words. The subject of said fit isn’t really important––it was something about being responsible for the sad state of health care in Quebec, and her anger seemed as manufactured as Charest’s initial charge. The interesting thing, at least to this tête carré, was her use of the term ‘ras-le-bol’ (or, alternatively, ‘ras le bol.’)

“J’en ai ras le bol,” Mme. Marois said in a quote that echoed across every media platform in the province. “Ce n’est pas moi qu’on juge, là, c’est son bilan à lui.”

There it was again today, in pithy metrosexualist Patrick Lagacé’s column: “Mario Dumont a pu miser sur le ras-le-bol de l’électorat face à Jean Charest et sa méfiance envers André Boisclair.”

I’m pretty proficient in la langue de Foglia; my litmus test was attending a Louis-José Houde show earlier this year and being able to understand 93 percent of the pint-sized Ritalin case’s jokes. (Bonne chance, crisse d’anglo.)

Still, ‘Ras-le-bol”? Never heard it. It sounds like a soccer chant, or something a plumber does to an unruly toilet.

For an answer I turned to two experts: the first, my colleague the moderately-more-French Phil Gohier provided pronunciation; the righteously furious (and occasional DMA guest) Angry French Guy for a proper definition. More after this…

“It’s pronounced ‘raw le baul’, you idiot,” Phil said this morning.

Yes, but Phil, it’s written ‘ras.’ Shouldn’t it be pronounced ‘raz’?

“Nothing in this language makes sense. It’s like a woman who cheats on you constantly but you keep coming back to her because she is so blindingly sexy.”

OK, then.

Angry French Guy, meanwhile, noted the term is a one of four or so terms that suggest a certain frustration with the status quo, to the point where one’s head is about to explode.

“‘Ras-le-bol’ (Filled to the rim), ‘Plein mon casque’, (My helmet is full), ‘Il y a un boutte à toute’ (There is a end to everything) and ‘Y’a des osties de limites’ (There are f**king limits) are all colorful expressions used to illustrate the absolute maximum amount of crap a Québécois or Québécoise will tolerate before he or she transforms from a friendly neighbor with a funny accent into an angry separatist.”

And now we know. Thanks French people!


Today in campaign lexicon: “Ras-le-bol”

  1. Great picture.

  2. “tête carré?”…”bon chance?”….

    That’s it. I’m calling the OLF.

    At least the French language didn’t reintroduce the “b” in the spellings of “doubt” and “debt” for purely esthetic and historically-purist reasons.

    Neither language can claim orthographic user-friendliness, but as least French has rules. Five million of them, to be exact.

  3. Is this Martin junior-ette? Absolutely adorable.

  4. Bon chance? BON chance? C’est BONNE chance, ‘stie.

    J’ai mon voyage…

  5. That is the best picture of a little tyke that is upset that I have ever seen … in point of fact if I look at it more than once it gets kinda creepy!

  6. “Angry French Guy, meanwhile, noted the term is a one of four or so terms that suggest a certain frustration with the status quo, to the point where one’s head is about to explode.”

    I’d add another to the list:

    “J’en ai ma claque!”

  7. Yeah, yeah. Bon, bonne, potayto, potahto. I changed it. I’m leaving ‘tête carré’, though. I’ve always spelled it that way.

  8. “Ras-le-bol”

    Isn’t that the bad guy from Batman Begins?

  9. I’m mildly surprised that some of you haven’t seen that picture before.

  10. The picture reminds of a prequel to Chucky!

  11. That’s it is now officially official – this picture creeps me out and I can’t stay away from it!

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