Sunday, August 12, 2007

The More You Know, Nasonex Spanish Bee edition

So I tried to earn my "not worst husband ever" stripes by making Courtney breakfast this morning before she drudges off to work. While the Food network (since my cooking was obviously not enough to hold our attention), this uber-strange ad pops on the screen:

Courtney: Wtf? Why is the bee Hispanic? It sounded like Antonio Banderas or something.

Garrett: (grumpily) He's not Hispanic, I think the bee is Spanish.

Courtney: (knowingly) That's where you are wrong, pitiful derelict intellect!

And she's right, on so many accounts. First: (thank you,

Usage Note: Though often used interchangeably in American English, Hispanic and Latino are not identical terms, and in certain contexts the choice between them can be significant. Hispanic, from the Latin word for "Spain," has the broader reference, potentially encompassing all Spanish-speaking peoples in both hemispheres and emphasizing the common denominator of language among communities that sometimes have little else in common. Latino—which in Spanish means "Latin" but which as an English word is probably a shortening of the Spanish word latinoamericano—refers more exclusively to persons or communities of Latin American origin. Of the two, only Hispanic can be used in referring to Spain and its history and culture; a native of Spain residing in the United States is a Hispanic, not a Latino, and one cannot substitute Latino in the phrase the Hispanic influence on native Mexican cultures without garbling the meaning. In practice, however, this distinction is of little significance when referring to residents of the United States, most of whom are of Latin American origin and can theoretically be called by either word. · A more important distinction concerns the sociopolitical rift that has opened between Latino and Hispanic in American usage. For a certain segment of the Spanish-speaking population, Latino is a term of ethnic pride and Hispanic a label that borders on the offensive. According to this view, Hispanic lacks the authenticity and cultural resonance of Latino, with its Spanish sound and its ability to show the feminine form Latina when used of women. Furthermore, Hispanic—the term used by the U.S. Census Bureau and other government agencies—is said to bear the stamp of an Anglo establishment far removed from the concerns of the Spanish-speaking community. While these views are strongly held by some, they are by no means universal, and the division in usage seems as related to geography as it is to politics, with Latino widely preferred in California and Hispanic the more usual term in Florida and Texas. Even in these regions, however, usage is often mixed, and it is not uncommon to find both terms used by the same writer or speaker. See Usage Note at Chicano.
To add insult to injury, the bee really was Antonio Banderas!

So there you go. Don't a) question your wife, b) muddle the distinction between Hispanic and Latino, which the standard OMB demographic form seems to do, and c) mistake Antonio Banderas for a common Hispanic bee voice.

Which doesn't answer the greatest existential crisis evoked by the commercial. Why the hell is Antonio Banderas the voice of the Nasonex Bee? Only celebrity willing to humiliate himself as a bee besides Jerry Seinfeld? A well-meaning (but totally failing) attempt to be more inclusive, the way that every picture in every textbook or academic brochure that has three people must include two women and two African American, Hispanic, and/or Asian folk, despite the fact that the random probability of those three people actually hanging out is like 1 in 3 trillion? Or does Antonio Banderas only voice Puss-n-Boots after spiking some Nasonex?


Anonymous said...

Wow. Late night random Google search -- "Nasonex bee wtf"
At least one person out there wonders about that ad campaign

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