The Bolivarian Revolution has now declared war to … the English language.
By presidential mandate, Venezuelans are now being asked to avoid the use of English-language business and tech words. Included in the Spanish-only campaign are: staff, marketing, passwords, mouse, meeting. So from now on, when in Venezuela, please stick to personal, mercadeo, contraseña, ratón and reunión.
A massive campaign launched this week by CANTV is exhorting Venezuelans to “Say it in Spanish. Say it with pride.” (In Spanish, of course)
And in case you are wondering what I think about the whole thing: I think Chávez is not crazy. He’s just muy loco!
You know Univision has made it to the big leagues when one of its main anchors is mocked at by the cast of Saturday Night Live. During a hilarious 6-minute spoof about the media’s obsession with Barack Obama, Jorge Ramos is actually introduced as Univision anchor and an official Obama stalker; someone who has a very unhealthy obsession with the Illinois Senator. Senator Obama–Oh, my god! I’m so nervous. I still can’t believe I’m actually talking to you…OK: As you know, uh, Senator, as I explained in the letter that I duct-taped to your front door–and I’m sorry that it went on so long. I just, uh, I just really, really, really, really, really want you to be the next President. And not just because you’re a fantastic human being and the only person who can turn this nation around, but, you know, also because deep down I really and truly believe that it is destiny that you and I will one day be together. That you will become a part of me, and I a part of you. Joined as one.
If you thought you had seen (and heard) it all about politics and immigration, consider Rod Jetton, a Missouri politician who is offering to trade lazy locals for hardworking Mexican immigrants.
“I think there are some lazy Missourians in this state who really don’t want to work, and I think there’s a lot of hardworking Mexicans who would love to come up here and make a little money to support their families,” he told the Associated Press. “And by golly, if we could find a way to trade them, I would trade them in a heartbeat.”
Way to go, Mr. Jetton! I, for one, would love to trade political speeches like yours for the ones that really put us to sleep.
At last! someone other than myself dared criticize Spanish-language television in the U.S. But not precisely for the content of its programs but the alarming amount of fast-food commercials that are contributing to the obesity epidemic among Hispanic.
After reviewing 60 hours of programming airing between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Univision and Telemundo, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center found the stations averaged two to three food commercials an hour, with one-third of them specifically targeted to children.
The study, published this week in the Journal of Pediatrics, also suggests that “to reduce the impact of food commercials, young children should be restricted to two hours or less per day of TV, and parent should talk to their children about healthy diet and food choices.”
(I might add parents will be well-advised to suggest their kids read a book or two. After all, holding something with both hands might keep them from sticking them in the cookie jar… or the Doritos bag.)
Move over Cinco de Mayo Barbie. Here comes Ugly Betty, the doll, launched this week at the New York City 2008 Toy Fair. It comes complete with her staple blue trimmed red Guadalajara poncho; braces, glasses and thick black hair.
Oh, and in case you were wondering: uglier than this ‘thing’ is its price: $69.95.
You can say anything you want about Mexican women except that we make false promises.
Take Lupita, a humble, provincial girl, who might not look like a top model but promises unbridled passion in addition to a big, hard butt and the possibility to touch everything you may fancy. (She is even willing to accept food stamps and a slice of cake in exchange.)
“Lupita, neither a top model, nor a hostess or the foreign type; why promise something I cannot give? I am humbly provincial and because I didn’t go to school I have to resort to these ads; I will let myself go (ED: seeking better translation for flojita y cooperando); 28 years, white, size 7, big and hard buttocks (not big hips though). Touch everything in 90 minutes. Everything with a condom. Unlimited relationships. $700.00 (ED: pesos, that is); I accept food stamps and a slice of rosca [de Reyes?]”
Too tired to blog about current events. Besides, current events are really gloomy these days. So… before I part for a four-day St. Valentine/President’s Day puente, I leave you dear readers with a story that could have very well happened in… well, pretty much anywhere in the U.S.
A florist goes to the barber for a haircut. After the cut he goes to pay the barber, the barber says, “I am sorry I cannot accept money from you. You have just launched your flower business and I want to help. The florist is happy and leaves the shop.
The next morning, when the barber goes to open his shop, he finds a thank you card and one dozen roses waiting at his door.
A police goes for a haircut and he also goes to pay the barber after the cut. The barber replies: I’m sorry I cannot accept money from you. You are doing a real good job for the community, so this haircut is on me. The cop is happy and leaves the shop. The next morning the barber goes to open his shop and finds a thank you card and one dozen doughnuts waiting at his door.
Then a Mexican guy goes for a haircut, and he also goes to pay the barber after the cut. The barber replies: I can’t accept money from you; I know how hard you’ve worked to come all the way here looking for a better life for you and your family… I couldn’t possibly charge you for the haircut…
The next morning when the barber goes to open his shop guess what he finds there?………………
A dozen Mexicans waiting for a free haircut!
Ok, it’s funny! (I guess it’s even funnier if you’re Mexican and don’t have to pay with blood for being un-PC.)
If you are remotely familiar with the Spanish-language, you will certainly know that “Póntelo” (Put it on) is by no means a direct translation of “Get Some,” which is the new slogan of the city’s official condom (yep, we New Yorkers have an official condom!).
Asked by the New York Times about the discrepancy, a Health Department representative simply said: “We have to use the words in the way they’re used in the communities we’re trying to reach […] ‘Get some’ did not readily translate into an easy-to-remember Spanish idiom. “We have to use the vernacular of the people we’re trying to reach.”
C’mon! You can do better than that. Want an easy-to-remember idiom? Here it goes:
¡ HOY TOCA !
Feliz San Valentín! (what are you waiting for? Get Some)
Meet Pepsi Retro, Pepsi’s brand new calorie-free beverage elaborated with pure sugar cane and bottled in retro-looking cans and bottles. (Somehow it looks like something you could have found in your abuela’s kitchen cabinet.
But don’t get too excited. Pepsi Retro is available only in Mexico and proudly pitched by the local Pepsi franchise as “a Mexican-made product made specifically to give Mexicans the taste they were waiting for.”
What better companion to a good crispy tacostada from the local Taco Bell?
Turns out there is a town in Texas called Alice. And it also turns out its former Mayor, Grace Saenz-Lopez, is a lier and a dog-thief.
According to a story on today’s New York Times, Saenz-Lopez took advantage of her super powers (i.e. being the Mayor of Alice, Texas) to steal Puddles from their rightful owners, change its name and move it to a ranch in a town far, far away.
“When the mayor, Grace Saenz-Lopez, agreed to take care of her next-door neighbors’ sick Shih Tzu and ended up keeping it, telling them the dog was dead and buried, it was bound to get ugly. Particularly after the mop-haired critter, Puddles, turned up quite alive — and renamed Panchito — at Ms. Saenz-Lopez’s twin sister’s ranch 14 miles away.”
Oh dear. The saddest thing is that, despite what its residents think, Alice will forever be remember as the town whose (Latina) mayor stole a dog.
For all the money, work and marketing efforts involved in the promotion of small businesses, Mexican mom-and-pop shops have lots to teach the average world-wide entrepreneur.
Don’t have a lot of money to put up a sign outside your shop? No problem! just have your 6-year-old niece do it for you… Is it too long? Why worry? just split it in half… What about a hyphen? Who the hell cares?
Who wouldn’t want to patronize such a creative tailor?
If you have never been a member of a Mariachi band in Denver, Colorado, chances are you will find it difficult to feel sorry for Mr. Alvaro Alvarado-Amarias, who has been held by the local authorities for holding a gun on a fellow musician. The reason?:
“Alvarado-Amarias, 31, was arrested on charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment, menacing and assault for holding Ervey Ruiz, 52, at gunpoint for five hours, threatening to kill him because Ruiz told him he was joining another band,” according to the Rocky Mountain News.
Luckily, Mr. Ervey Ruiz was not harmed, although we’re still waiting to see if the incident actually made him change his mind about switching bands. In the meantime, he might want to check out Mariachi Vasquez, which has been performing in the Denver area for over 15 years now… You never know!
And speaking of non-Mexican Mexican food, restaurant chain Qdoba has partnered with Dr. Alan Hirsch, director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation (ha, ha, ha), to conduct a study aptly titled: “You Are What You Eat,” which concluded that preferences for Mexican foods such as tacos, burritos and quesadillas can indicate very specific and unique personality traits.
“With Mexican food preferences, we were able to find a correlation between which food people most enjoyed and what that meant about their underlying personality,” said Dr. Hirsch.
Gosh, am I a quesadilla-type of person? (someone who is dependable and a true friend; content being one of the crowd.) Or maybe I’m more like the chips & salsa type: aggressive, successful, achievement-orientated, and natural leaders. Am I leaning towards being a burrito?
So I went ahead and took the Qdoba Identity Test. Sadly, I have to report I am nothing but a Taco Salad-type of chick: “well-adjusted, empathic, understanding, and a perfect spouse, parent, and friend.”(Oh well, at least I am not a Nacho-type: “shy, quiet, reserved and introverted.”)
So what are you waiting for, you potential burritos? Go ahead and try the test yourselves. Heck! what else is there to over the weekend anyway?