from the sense of "meat" that refers negatively to people as in meat puppet
- person(s) being present in a passive way or to make up the numbers; bystander(s)
There is a scene in the film In The Loop where an MP is asked to attend an important meeting. But as he enters the room he is warned, with some menace, to keep his mouth shut tight. "What?", he asks, "You've got me here as room meat?"
How much of our lives as academics is spent as room meat: turning up to things because it would look bad if the numbers were small, or just because we are meant to be there?