The Telenovela Syndrome!

Published by Wreybies in the blog Ponderings of a Pachyderm. Views: 91

So this is a bit of woolgathering about cause and effect.

Y'all know I am an interpreter for the Latino community in America. Y'all know I myself am Latino. The following observations should not be taken as racist but as an observation about culture from someone inside of said culture.

A) My people live at a 10 for most of their lives. When I say 10, think of a volume knob on the stereo. Everything from fun to funerals is at a redlined, pegged to the right of the dial, level. When non-Latinos talk about hot-blooded Latinos, that is only one small facet of a much more complex and broad phenomenon.

B) You have heard me complain more than once that the only kind of television programming that is available from Latin America which is not imported and dubbed over is telenovelas, Jerry Springer-esque “talk shows,” and gossip shows like La Comay, all of which take the whole red-lined living thing to even greater hights.

Which is the cause and which is the effect?

I dislike watching Spanish television because everything within any show seems designed to immediately reach out from the set and grab you by the tiny bits to get your attention as you are channel surfing. It’s an obnoxious overload. Bam-bam-bam! It hurts.

Is my culture like this because this is what we see and what we are bombarded with on a daily basis? Are we taught that soap-opera plot lines are normal life, and thus we attempt to imitate the overblown style and ridiculousness of the telenovelas? Or is the opposite true? Is this just he way we are and thus this is what we put on TV?

Which is the cause and which is the effect?

Not long ago, they aired that horrible Daddy Yanky movie on TV here in Puerto Rico. Part of the movie was filmed in the neighborhood where my boyfriend grew up, El Barrio Morales in Caguas. A very rough (famously rough) neighborhood. One of our friends watched the movie with us and was utterly offended by what he saw. Drug deals, gansta thug life. Very, very rough.

I have been many, many time to William’s old neighborhood, but never without him. I was given strict instructions that I was not to go by myself. I have seen drug deals happen out in the open at the places known as los puntos where the drug dealers make no pretense of even trying to hide what they are doing. They keep the drugs, very disturbingly, in empty tins of baby formula. I have seen people injecting themselves. I have seen people laid out on the sidewalk, unconscious, next to their own vomit. All of this was, and remains, light-years beyond the pale for me, and yet my friend was offended at how this was portrayed in the Daddy Yanky “movie.” My friend felt that this was an unfair representation of life there. To me, it was exactly what I see when I go there. But to my friend there is a normality to this life and he felt like it was being misrepresented in the movie.

Which is the cause and which is the effect?
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