Sunday, February 15, 2004

Wordwatch
Pimpón - Table tennis
Eslogan – Slogan. Curiously, the plural of this is eslogans, as it would be in English. Not esloganes, as it would be in Spanish
El backstage – Backstage
El casting - Casting
En fashion – In fashion
Un reality show – Guess
Un docu show – A drama serial or soap opera [I think]

In El Mundo today, the dreadful ex-butler of Princess Diana deigns to give advice to Letitia, the future queen of Spain, about how she should comport herself and stay in touch with the people. It seems that he sees himself as an historian these days, as well as a guru to European royalty. God help us. How ironic that he should recommend that Letitia retains her grip on reality when he is so clearly losing his.

It is a common complaint of Anglo-Saxons [and, indeed, of my Franco-Spanish friend Elena] that Spanish friendships are shallow, flimsy and unreliable things. But to conclude this is to commit the crime - heinous in today’s world - of moral absolutism. It is to judge the Spanish by the wrong standards, yours not theirs. For what needs to be remembered is that the Spanish are only sociable when they are socialising. And one can only socialise today, in the here-and-now, where having fun is the highest priority. Within these – admittedly narrow - limits they make the very best of friends, being affectionate, spontaneous and overflowing with a sense of fun. Absolutely the best people in the world to go out with. As for anything beyond the moment, forget it. The Spanish have far too many responsibilities to themselves and to their family for you to be of any real importance. As friends, rather than wonderful acquaintances, they simply can’t be relied on. Or as dinner guests, even. There is no point getting het up about this; it is simply the way things are. A simple rule of thumb – the more florid the protestations of affection you get from a Spanish friend over dinner or drinks, there more unreliable he or she will be when push gets to shove. Or even when push stays at push. But don’t give up trying; there are exceptions to every generalisation as broad as these. And to find the gem among any dross, you need to sift through a lot of dross!

Interesting Headlines

- A judge in a grave situation after hitting his head against a wall – Found wandering in the street, apparently
- Man accused of trying to crucify his wife and children – It seems he thought this would rid them of the devil
- Man of 85 accused of killing his 82 year old bride of only two weeks – In a jealous rage, allegedly.

These, by the way, are all from the serious, not the pink, press.

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