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Vanity Fair Makes Fun of Spanish
From Hoy
February 3, 2003

By Jose L. Llanes

The February edition of Vanity Fair, which features Mexican star Salma Hayek on its cover, has a "humoristic" racist attack against Hispanic culture.

The commentaries are found in the column "Ask Dame Edna," where the author, the popular Australian diva of the same name, responds to questions from readers. In this case, a West Palm Beach reader asks for advice on language studies.

"Dear Dame Edna, I would very much like to learn a foreign language, preferably French or Italian, but every time I mention this, people tell me to learn Spanish instead. They say, "Everyone is going to be speaking Spanish in 10 years. George W. Bush speaks Spanish." Could this be true? Are we all going to have to speak Spanish?" reads the question, signed Torn Romantic, West Palm Beach resident.

"Forget about Spanish," Edna responds. "There's nothing in that language worth reading except Don Quixote, and a quick listen to the CD of Man of La Mancha will take care of that. There was a poet named Garcia Lorca but I'd leave him on the intellectual back burner if I were you. As for everyone's speaking it, what twaddle! Who speaks it that you are really desperate to talk to? The help? Your leaf blower? Study French or German, where there are at least a few books worth reading, or if you're American try English."

The commentaries have provoked a campaign against Vanity Fair and Edna's column. The range of complaints sent to the magazine ([email protected]) have mentioned the 11 Hispanics who have received the Nobel Prize for Literature, as well as the 2000 census statistics, which establish Latinos as the largest minority in the United States, with 37 million people.

"I am a fan of Dame Edna and the publication (Vanity Fair), but I don't see the humor in this attack. Instead, it reinforces the negative stereotypes of other cultures," one of the offended readers wrote.

Translated from Spanish by Jonathan Charnay

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