Friday, September 26, 2008

spanish lessons

This week Bliss of 1st Mate introduced us to two very funny videos. They are doubly funny for those of us who are struggling with Spanish and who have watched those over-the-top Latin American music videos to expand our vocabularies -- and to improve our pickup lines.

I realize the irony of juxtaposing these videos with yesterday's Chavela Vargas post. Truly trekking from the sublime to the ridiculous. But give a quick look at both of these.

Apparently these videos have been huge hits on YouTube. And that means that in the age of talent democracy, every teenager with a video cam is convinced he embodies the production skills of Kevin Spacey and the musical talent of Billy Joel -- well, they may believe that they are more talented than that.

I picked out only one example of adolescent hubris. Now, it is possible that these budding Justin Timberlakes intended to produce an ironic comment on postmodern deconstructionism. But I doubt it. They just are not very good. But we will discuss it after the performance.

OK. This is the point where I was going to do an analysis of what made the first two videos funny and why the third failed to hit the same mark. But I could hear Babs chiding me for analyzing rather than enjoying. And Beth criticizing me for being -- critical.

Several years ago, I was at a libertarian function. A long-time friend of mine, who ran for vice-president in the 70s, asked me: "Steve, do you know how many libertarians it takes to change a light bulb?" Responded, I: "How many?" "None. The market will take care of it." I politely chuckled. She then launched into a 5-minute explanation, beginning with: "You see, Steve, the joke includes the basic market principle that ... ."

I relate that tale because it popped to mind just as I started to write several paragraphs about how humor works. And then I recalled the first rule of humor: A joke explained is a joke strangled.

So, I thank Bliss for sharing the first two videos. And, as for the third, those two guys have more nerve than I.

With apologies to Oscar Wilde for mangling his aphorism, I will simply remind myself: A critic is a person who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.


American Mommy in Mexico said...

You are a man who knows himself ...

Steve Cotton said...

American Mommy -- It is better that I know -- before everyone else tells me.

glorv1 said...

I enjoyed all three videos actually. Thank you.

Steve Cotton said...

Gloria -- And that is because you are a kind soul.

Anonymous said...

OK, call me weird, but I personally thought the third one was the funniest. The fact that you could imagine those boys having just finished first semester Spanish as high school freshmen, and not exactly knowing how to woo a woman even in English made it hysterical.


Kim G
Bahstin, Mass

P.S. the fact that you're embedding videos in your blog, as well as having created a self-sorting list of other blogs based on latest post date merits you, I think, the "most technologically savvy" award amongst Mexico-centric bloggers. Kudos.

Steve Cotton said...

Kim -- Ah, I see you are willing to join the postmodern deconstructionist crowd. I had several choices for comparison, but I really did find the teenager lotharios to be the most interesting.

And thank you for the very nice compliment. Playing with the blog is fun. I look forward to running into you on one of your Mexico visits.

Islaholic Trixie said...

Loved the videos. I have to give the young boys in Number 3 an award for "balls."
Is that really Erik Estrada in the video or just a look alike?

Steve Cotton said...

islaholic trixie -- I think it really is Erik Estrada. But, with YouTube, who knows? I now have a universal response, though, for all situations: "Keep your pantalones on, Erik Estrada."