Saturday, July 3, 2010
Una América más buena y más gentil.
If you have been reading during the last three weeks, you already know how much I love the World Cup and how loyal I am to my local neighborhood bar and restaurant, La Estrellita on East 12th Street and 5th Avenue in Oakland. Often, I am the only patron that will be there for kickoff of the games that start at 7:00 am, with stragglers coming in by halftime. On the other hand, there have been good crowds for the games that start at 11:30. The folks who come in for the breakfast games are fans who take the game very seriously and given the early hour, enjoy the game with a sober and monastic concentration.
The games that start at lunchtime... Oh hell, it's a party, so let's have a party. Next round's on me.
The game airs on ESPN and Univision, but the ESPN feed is slightly delayed from the Spanish TV, which is slightly delayed from the Spanish radio. I know this because everybody listening in kitchen has already heard about an exciting play and they come pouring out to watch it on the TV.
So we watch the games in Spanish. I speak and understand a little, and of course the owner Jose is completely fluent, so if there's anything important being said by the announcer or color commentator, I have some idea what it is.
But let me give mad props to the commercials in Spanish.
George Herbert Walker Bush asked for a kinder, gentler America after eight years of Reaganistic nastiness. He didn't get his wish. Regardless of which party has had residence in the White House, the tone of the country has gotten worse, and this isn't just a grumpy old man talking out of the rose colored glasses of nostalgia. On TV in Los Estados Unidos, things have taken a disgusting turn for the worse, and it can't all be put at the feet of Rupert Murdoch. The ads on TV are vicious. If I may quote myself from February 2009 talking about the Super Bowl ads, "...it's all about taking a shot to the testicles or a concussion or some other vicious violence so you can have a snack that costs less than two bucks and your friend can't."
But not the commercials in Spanish. The commercials in Spanish are about community, about helping people out.
There's a guy on the dance floor who can't dance. A chorus of famous and good looking people tell him what he's doing wrong and he takes the hint and at the end he is dancing with a super super fine chica. Brought to you by Corona.
An open house has Bud Light in the fridge. A guy who is visiting doesn't keep it all for himself, but instead tells everyone in the neighborhood.
The big game is on TV. Everybody in the neighborhood brings their TV down to the public open space and puts them in a rectangular pile, which magically becomes a big screen TV on which everyone can enjoy the game together, the way God intended. I think this one is from McDonald's.
A guy is playing videogames and drinking Coca-Cola Zero. His girlfriend wants to talk about their relationship. The perfect solution? No, she doesn't magically turn into a guy who also wants to play videogames, he is magically cloned into a guy who listens to her and another guy who serenades her on the guitar.
We all know how fat Americans are, myself included. Many people have noted the fat content of the general diet in France, Italy, China, Mexico, you name it, but not the same problem of obesity. Some people say it's wine or olive oil or whatever other dietary staple that makes the difference. Other people have said half jokingly the problem is speaking English.
Let's go with the theory that the problem is speaking English. Some stupid old white folks are terrified that the Spanish speakers are going to take over. Ask yourselves this. Can they really do worse than we have? From what I can see, Spanish speakers in America are generally hard working and devout people, and their religion has the crazy idea that God wants us to love our neighbor and treat him as we would want to be treated ourselves.
Them wacky Meskins! Go figure.