Wednesday, August 13, 2008

No, It's The Guardian and NYT Who Should Know Better

I guess you've all already seen the controversial photo of the Spanish basketball team where the players pose pulling their skin behind their eyes to look as if they were Asian. Well, last Sunday The Guardian broke the scandal trying to ignite some fire to the already-controversial Olympic Games and, today, The New York Times ran a piece that feels like an Op-ed titled "Spanish Insensitivity Should Be Punished". Really?

La dichosa foto. Taken from Cadena Ser's website.

In the article, Harvey Araton writes: "The players involved in the Spanish slant-eye controversy are citizens of the global basketball community, which now stretches Far East to West. They should know better."

Okay, they might have a point, you could say. But then, if you go check Spanish newspaper El País--if you're willing and dutiful enough to make an effort to read what's been said on the controversy in the country of origin--you'll find a story titled "El anuncio de la selección de baloncesto, ni racista ni ofensivo" ("Chinese Government: Spanish National Team Ad Not Considered Racist, Offensive"). In such piece, a spokesperson with the Chinese embassy in Madrid dismisses the picture as an offense to the people of China.

Both the Chinese ambassador in Madrid and his spokesperson might have some grasp of the Spanish sense of humor and are informed enough to know such joke is just the opposite of an offense. They're into Diplomatic-Relations stuff, you know. They know that every culture has a different sense of humor. D-u-h.

And, yes, relationships between two different cultures sometimes cause tensions. Mexicans fellas use to see Spanish dudes as too straighforward, their sense of humor as too raw. Spanish use not to get the infused-with-irony Mexican sense of humor. Sometimes they take our words too seriously. I can tell. You can tell.

But the guys at The Guardian and The New York Times seem to ignore that--or are just plain arrogant-- and want the rest of us to know better about this. We All Should Be Offended By This Stupid Ad Made By These Spanish Troglodites is their message. Maybe they're even disappointed with the reaction of the Chinese authorities to The Ojos De Chinito Ad.

Well. I think it's the anglo guys who should know better this time around --oops; is using the word anglo somehow offensive in this context? Sorry; I should know better. Why should the whole world share the same sense of humor? Why should the rest of the world be engulfed by the gone-paranoic political correctness that's putting in danger Western civilization in countries like the U.S. and the U.K.?

Isn't trying to impose one's culture upon someone else's an act of intolerance? What do you think? Who should know better?

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