Saturday, February 27, 2010

Telenovelas and the NPR Reporter

Just Thursday morning, I  heard a reporter on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" comparing the then-upcoming conference between President Obama and the Republicans on health reform to a "Latin telenovela." In case listeners didn't know what a telenovela is, he added, "you know, one of Latin American those soap operas that go on for hours and hours."

I get it. We're all supposed to laugh. Imagine Barack Obama and John Boehner (R-Ohio) going on like those crazy "Latins" sitting in the shade in their Mexican "sombreros" and going on endlessly about nothing while sipping their tequila! Ha, ha, ha!

You know, of course, that all Hispanics wear mariachi band outfits, right? In addition, they have no sense of time -- not like punctual, lickety-spit Anglos -- and can't use a pithy Anglo-Saxon phrase where a guitar-accompanied serenade can be had.

Right, Mr. NPR reporter? Ha, ha, ha!!!

Oh, but wait! I am no fan of telenovelas, yet even I know that they keep to their appointed half-hour or hour schedules. They don't go on continuously for "hours and hours" like the debatefest at the White House on health reform.

That's Anglo politicians, Mr. NPR reporter. Not Hispanics in telenovelas.

What's long about telenovelas and Anglo soap-operas alike is that they have interminable, implausible plots that go on for years over thousands of episodes.

The NPR reporter obviously merged in his mind the long plots with the stereotypes about Hispanics -- not "Latins," unless you want to count Andrew Cuomo as one. Doesn't NPR have editors capable of deleting a simile that not only runs against the facts, but is subtly racist?

I understand you didn't mean to offend anyone, Mr. NPR reporter. You wanted to show off that you are so culturally broadminded that you know the word "telenovela."
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