I like this video by Aleix Saló (previously posted) for many reasons. Firstly, because of its casual and sarcastic tone – very socarrón. I´m also quite taken by the map figure of Spain … though it reminds me a little of the odious Spongebob Squarepants.
I like how Saló plays with the ideas of progress (associated with English) and backwardness (associated with Spanish), as well as the suffix “stan,” signifying underdevelopment, though people from countries such as Afghanistan might take offence and probably quite rightly.
However, the focus is firmly on Spain, the country associated with the big, savage, macho toro, except that now the raging bull has been replaced by cows, and not the fattened ones, but vacas flacas in this crisis of biblical proportions.
The argument is quite simple – or at least Saló makes it so for economic illiterates like myself. After a fantastic, macho party (un festón padre) in which the Aznar government sold off rustic (not to mention “protected”) land for urbanization, creating a property boom, Spain´s now got a huge, economic hangover, since as night follows day, the bust has shown up.
Debt. As Antonio has kindly clarified in the post´s comments section, la tía de la lejía, the Bleach Lady, who comes from the future to help harassed housewives get the stains out of their whites, came to the rescue of grubby Spain, in the form of Debt (or Dettol?) to wash away the sins of the Dictadura, blanquear (launder) ill-gotten gains and elevate the humble, muddy Spanish shepherd to shiny Lamborghini of God status.
Who wouldn´t want that?
But debt is a have now, pay later phenomenon, theft from the future. And the future is now here. So the usual suspects, namely, the self-preserving banks, their ruling class allies and their hangers-on, who never lose, are clawing back as much money as they can. (Wankia, with The Rat jumping off the sinking ship, is a prime example).
Meanwhile, kids who rushed out of school right into the construction industry are now undereducated, unemployed, losing their homes and still in debt. Their role model was Francisco Hernando, a.k.a. Paco el Pocero, who worked himself up from extreme poverty as a sewer worker or pocero (from pozo, well or pit) to become one of the richest entrepreneurs in Spain thanks to el ladrillo, construction, in the process described in Salo´s video.
While I have sympathy for any impoverished person who creates a better life for him or herself, the traditional business culture in Spain, all too often based on dodgy practices, means that this illiterate and possibly well-intentioned “Robin Hood” was, in fact, a crook exemplifying a model of progress that´s out of step with one based on innovation, meritocracy and sustainability.
The macho pelotazo model, best described as the achievement of an aim by slapping it into submission with a big pairs of balls, evidently is no solution to anything. When Spanish governments realise that running the country con un par de cojones is, in fact ruining the country, Spain might be a fit place to prosper in.
Saló´s video also highlights one of the supposed Seven Deadly Sins of Spain, la envidia. I hadn´t noticed this being much different from anywhere else but many people have commented on it to me and it is, of course, debatable.
In any case,
“Hágale morir de envidia a su cuñado y cómprese un adosado,”
we hear. Have your brother-in-law die of jealousy and buy yourself a semi-detached,” or chalé, as opposed to the cramped little flat that most people can afford. All risk-free, too, because if you can´t keep up the payments, sell it, make a profit and get tax breaks since the price of property never falls.
No need for the government to invest the profits in I+D+I, Investigación y Desarrollo e Innovación (Research and Development) since the pelotazo model seems to be working just fine.
Well, the value of property fell, leaving people not only in negative equity but unable to pay the letra, or cuota, mortgage payment, even if they were still employed on a crap salary, a sueldo de mierda. For these Spaniards still in a job – after all, somebody has to keep the country running, even the elite knows that – their rights are now being slashed virtually to 19th C. levels.
So this is actually a very depressing video – except for the language! And the most fun phrase used in it is the quite disgusting a tomar por culo. 17 years in a Spanish department failed to expose me to this phrase. Straight off the plane in ´97, however, I heard it all around me.
What the hell did it mean? And how the hell to use it right?
el tomarse de culo, tomar de culo, tomarse por el culo….?
No, it´s much simpler than that. It´s not a reflexive verb requiring the use of the participle se. It has no need of the definite article, el, though the full and unnecessary version of the phrase uses it, plus the verb ir, to go, as in véte a tomar por el culo.
Literally, this is an invitation to take something up the backside, to put it nicely. Translated it means to “stuff”, in the sense of “Stuff Rodrigo Rato.”
But we don´t need all that grammatical palaver to use it. All you need is a tomar por culo plus a subject, plus a lot of exclamation marks.
¡A tomar por culo las ardillas! Stuff squirrels!
¡A tomar por culo Risto Mejide! Stuff Risto Mejide!*
¡A tomar por culo SpainStruck! Stuff SpainStruck! (Noooooooooo!!!)
Having said this, if, like me, you often take a scunner to certain phrases, you can substitute saco for culo. While I can´t quite get a visual on a tomar por saco, I´d probably prefer to use it.
Well, I´ve struggled with this blog post for a while now and have decided to give up on it. It´s just going to peter out now …..no more handy phrases, no advice, no pithy comments, no conclusion, nothing, nada, except to say that *Risto Mejide is the detested Simon Cowell-type figure on the Spanish version of Britain´s Got Talent called Tú sí que vales.
Stuff this blog post.
¡A tomar por culo esta entrada!