Ben over at Notes From Spain has a post expounding on something he brought up earlier in several versions, “Are the Spanish Rude”? This kind of post never ceases to elicit tons of responses. Am I alone in noticing that posts that are even remotely critical of the Spanish – just drives them crazy?
Ben is the most diplomatic dude writing about Spanish stuff in blog-land. He is running a site that is trying to make a buck – so he HAS to be nice. Couple that with the fact that he is married to a Spanish gal (got to keep her happy), and that he clearly loves his adopted country, and yet Spanish people still get nuts, offended, pissed off, etc.
I have noticed this phenomenon many times reading around the web. I remember when The New York Times featured some travel article that stated something like, “ Madrid is no longer the provincial sleepy town, blah, blahh”. How innocuous can you get! It was a throw away line in some stupid travel piece – and people (Spanish) were pissed! There were comentarios galore on 20minutos.es about how dare those Sons of Bitches talk shit about us! And there was this other filler NPR radio piece on the Madrid Barajas parking lot bombings. The poor NPR reporter got reamed for saying something negative about the fact that he couldn’t get his car out of the lot or something .... nothing really important. Or the time Notes From Spain linked to a pretty funny piece on “A Day in the Life of a Spaniard” that humorously skewered a fictitious daily routine of a typical Spaniard. Man, were some pissed off!
Why is this? I know that when I am in Madrid or some region of Spain, the people there want to hear that their food is the best, their women the best looking, and that it is much better than in my sorry-ass country. I am happy to oblige. I have been trained to respond along the “anti-Ugly American” line. I say that they are great and we are clearly lacking in many respects… Just to keep them happy.
I wonder if the Spanish have any clue what it is like being an American in Spain. How would they like to hear constantly that your food sucks, you really have no culture (as they head off to an American Movie), that most of you are stupid, etc. etc…. We listen to this, read this, watch TV with this, and yes, even agree to it - so as not to seem like “rude pushy arrogant Americans”.
I’m afraid I don’t think they would last “Twenty Minutos” hearing this stuff like we do - with their thin skins...