A week or two ago, I mentioned a TV ad for a Spanish insurance company which featured the Liverpool goalkeeper and was seen as racist in the UK. Well, the company has now pulled the ad, after lobbying from a British pressure group. From a Spanish base, this IberoSphere article notes the different British and Spanish perspectives on racism and asks whether the Brits don't go too far at times. As in the three monkeys case I mentioned a couple of weeks ago perhaps.
Talking of attitudes . . . Somewhere in the archives of this blog is at least one list of Spanish words - such as perro (dog) and cerdo (pig) - which are innocuous in the masculine form but mean 'whore' in the feminine version. There's a lot of them and I've now stumbled on a new one. By which I mean new for me. It's hombrezuelo, which is 'short man' in the masculine form but, of course, 'whore' in the feminine form - mujerzuela. The same goes for hombrecillo and mujercilla, which I happened on when checking the Royal Academy's dictionary.
And talking of the Royal Academy, it seems the all-male Committee has decided to fight a rearguard action against those who object to the masculine form being used to cover both males and females, as in padres, (parents) niños (children) and lobos (wolves). They've had quite enough of teachers saying niños y niñas, apparently. Possibly they're a little out of touch with societal developments.
In Europe, Brussels is reported to have switched its gaze (at least for now) from Greece to Spain. It emerged a day or so ago that a team of number-crunchers had been sent to Madrid to pore over Spain's "constantly changing" deficit number for 2011. And to get a good idea of what Brussels could demand - regardless of Sr. Rajoy's little revolt - for 2012. You'll recall that the target originally set was 4.4% of GDP and Sr. Rajoy unilaterally changed it to 5.8% before the ink was dry on the new fiscal pact of a couple of weeks ago. Well, the Spanish can claim some success, as Brussels has now revised their target to 5.3%. But it could be something else next week.
Finally . . . I've long known that the qwerty keyboard came about because someone wanted to slow down the speed with which the keys hit the ribbon (we're talking ancient technology here, kids), because they were getting snagged too often. Well, there was a second reason - the typewriters were made by Remington and having the keyboard in the qwerty configuration made it easy for their sales reps to type the word TYPEWRITER, as all the letters are in the top row. This seems far too plausible to be an urban myth.