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Monday, July 02, 2007


I don’t watch a lot of television. I’m not saying this as some sort of pseudo-intellectual posturing. I don’t watch much television not because I’m some sort of hippie* but because the programming isn’t very good here and my TV doesn’t have a headphone jack. In order for me to understand Spanish television really well I need to listen through headphones which is why I have little trouble watching movies in Spanish on my computer. The programming situation is something over which I have no control. Even if it means improving my Spanish I pass on watching an episode of Friends.

Between my television speakers and the funny voices they use, Los Simpsons continues to be a real challenge for me. I watched it last night and laughed out loud at this part: Homer gets upgraded to first class on a flight and the stewardess asks if for dinner would he like a steak or two steaks. Homer asks, “Can I have both?” I have laughed about that every time I’ve thought about it and I’ve thought about it about 100 times already.

I wouldn’t be caught dead watching CNN in the States but you can easily catch me watching it here. For one thing, it is in Spanish instead of Catalan or Valenciano. I will sometimes catch myself flipping through the channels and stopping on a news story only to realize a minute or two later that they aren’t speaking Spanish. Watching CNN is strictly for the Spanish lesson because it’s a pretty lousy source of news—in any language. You can get more information scanning the newspaper headlines when you walk briskly by a kiosk than you can watching an hour of CNN.

I like to watch bullfights on television. It’s not to improve my Spanish because they are mostly on the local station which broadcasts them in a blend of Spanish and Valenciano, but I just like watching bullfights. Just the array of wild pastel colors is enough reason; everything looks just like it does in those posters you see advertising the corrida. This may sound stupid but I just like the fact that I’m watching a bullfight on TV. In the ever-shrinking world of globalization and cheap airline flights, it’s still something that that says, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore” and definitely not Seattle. If the Seattle PETA crowd knew I was watching a bullfight they would burn me in effigy. The effigy would be made of natural hemp fibers and they wouldn't actually burn it because that causes pollution but they wouldn’t be too happy with me. A mock burning of an effigy goes along better with their whole passive-aggressive approach to changing the world.

*I like saying this in Spanish and it always gets a laugh, although I don’t know if they are laughing at me, with me, or they just thought of something funny on their own. “What, you don’t eat meat? Eres alguna especie de hippy? (Are you some kind of hippy?) I recycle my humor to get the most mileage and if this means moving to another country then that’s what I’m willing to do.

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