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Context: a boxer and his trainer are waiting in the locker's room for a match to start. The president of a famous gym who is also the organizer of the match passes by and just waves at them without even looking them in the eyes. At which the trainer comments (giving him the middle finger):

へっ… せーぜー盛り上げに貢献しろってか 目くらい合わせろや

Since he used the imperative, I think he was trying to reproach the organizer, but what is the meaning of 盛り上げ? To what the organizer should contribute? Has it something to do with enlivening the atmosphere? Note that the boxer and especially the trainer don't have a good relationship with the president. Thank you for your help!

  • I would say it means like the "hype for the match", but I'm not positive. – istrasci Mar 21 '18 at 19:51
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「へっ… せーぜー盛{も}り上{あ}げに貢献{こうけん}しろってか 目{め}くらい合{あ}わせろや。」

The one statement made by you that, to me at least, shows your misinterpretation is:

"Since he used the imperative, I think he was trying to reproach the organizer"

1) 「せーぜー盛り上げに貢献しろ」 is only what the trainer thinks that the president would have wanted to say. The imaginary imperative is being uttered by the president toward the trainer and boxer.

2) And the trainer is quoting that imaginary remark by using 「ってか」, which means along the line of "Is that what you want to say?" or "Is that what you are saying?".

Hope you are following this logic.

「盛り上げ」 means "giving a boost to", "warming up", "making something exciting", etc. It is the noun form of the transitive verb 「盛り上げる」. 

So, the trainer is saying:

"Geez! 'If anything, contribute in making the show exciting!' Is that what you want to tell us? At least look us in the eye (to say it)!"

  • To add to this, せいぜい is a word with extremely strong condescending connotations, so the imagined phrase せーぜー盛り上げに貢献しろ carries the clear implication that the president doesn't think that the boxer is capable of anything more than 盛り上げ - in other words, it's like saying "at least try to put up a decent enough fight to keep the audience entertained", because he doesn't think they stand a chance of actually winning. – Ben Roffey Mar 22 '18 at 9:33

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