Made for walkin’

Literal-minded readers of La Vanguardia‘s style pages committed an embarrassing—and unwieldy—fashion faux pas last month after learning that Bimba Bosé simply cannot live without Timberland’s iconic “yellow boats”:

Yellow boats

In all fairness, the resemblance is strong.

yellow boat

A relaxing cup of hypocrisy

I’m no fan of Ana Botella, but in the wake of her widely ridiculed “café con leche” speech last year I almost wanted to stick up for her, if only because so many of her critics didn’t have a leg to stand on.

The focus on Ms. Botella’s English was a wasted opportunity, given everything else that was wrong with her appearance at the IOC. For starters, it was a lousy speech, and she came across as maniacal, like some sort of Latin Michele Bachmann. Her English pronunciation was not even in the top 5 worst things about it.

And yet, Spaniards everywhere suddenly became very loud judges of foreign language proficiency. Ana Botella speaks terrible English! Look at me, I know bad English when I see it!

I was reminded of all this recently when I encountered the following gem, from a segment on Espejo Público (Antena 3) about — what else? — the English proficiency of Spanish politicians:

Do you speak English

A rogue inverted question mark may be a minor detail, but context is everything.
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Photo spotted on Twitter by alert reader Chris Pellow; originally tweeted by @JorgePastorS.

Crakcing up

El Periódico recently published something that’s not so much a news piece as a creative writing prompt:

Crakcs

Go ahead and write your own jokes about this one. 

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Many thanks to tipster KF.

I want to ride my…

Attention music lovers! The DCODE Festival has a great lineup this year. Read all about it in El País.

Have you heard about this great new band Bombay Bycicle Club???

Bycicle1

The misspelling crops up again in a link to the band’s website (which, naturally, contains no such atrocity)…

Bycicle2

…and yet again, juxtaposed with an embedded DCODE promo video (which, naturally, spells all the bands’ names right).

Bycicle3

So, basically, everybody is doing their job here except El País.
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Thanks to interstellar villainess AM for the tip.

Irony, redefined

Step aboard our storied time machine to revisit a linguistic scandal that shook the Balearic Islands last summer…

The regional government had recently introduced a controversial new education policy that would require public schools to make English the third main language of instruction, on similar footing with Catalan and Spanish. The policy was widely criticized as a veiled attempt to undermine Catalan-language education under the guise of promoting English.

Around the same time, a government body called the Balearic Nature Institute attracted some unwanted attention thanks to the English version of its website—a subpar machine translation that, to put it generously, did not live up to the government’s vision for trilingualism. Scores of Balearic place names had been translated inappropriately, and hilariously, into English: Maó became “Brick,” Torre de sa Gavina became “Tower of Seagull,” Sa Tanca Vella de Baix became “Him Old Farmhouse of Low,” and so on.

The good people of the Internet swiftly humiliated the Balearic government for its failure to practice what it preached, and the translation was soon taken down.

But the pinnacle of irony was yet to come.

A local newspaper, Ara Balears, characterized the removal of the offending translation as a social media coup:

Irony1

You could almost hear the high-fives echoing across the newsroom as Ara Balears smugly noted its own role in exposing the government’s linguistic double standard. But then, without so much as a full stop, the paper immediately ceded the editorial high ground:

Irony2

And just like that, order was restored.

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Thanks once again to eagle-eyed tipster Tim Barton.

I like Ike

Last month, Diari de Tarragona broke the news of an impending visit by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier operated by the deadliest fighting force in human history. What better time to misspell the name of a goddamn boat!

I Like Ike zoom

Zooming out, we can appreciate not only the imposing figure cut by Ike herself, but also some amusingly misguided scare quotes:

I Like Ike full page

‘US NAVY’ and ‘USS DWIGHT EISENHOWER’: aliases of uncertain provenance?