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Thursday, June 01, 2006

How to modify behavior (hint: I.A.N.T.) 

(Preface: Monday was an outdoor day. By Tuesday I paid the price. By Wednesday I was home with allergies. By Thursday I was starting to recover.)

Whilst sniffling, I realized that middle age has its advantages. A couple of decades ago, I knew that I knew everything. As I hit mid-life, I have that feeling again - but this time it's justified.

We know that the major reason that people engage in undesirable behavior is because it's cool. For example, take illiteracy, which became very cool a few years ago.

But, being middle aged, I know how to stop it - get an older, uncool person to mimic the cool behavior and it will be dropped in a second. That's what happened with illteracy. Once President Bush said "nucular" a few times, illteracy became passe.

Today, there are people who worry that our most recent immigrants, legal or not, are not assimilating. Cal Poly Pomona covered the issue as follows:

Cal Poly students have mixed views about the bill with the language stipulation that was passed by the Senate (62-36) on May 18.

Supporters of the bill hope to “unify” the nation under one “national” language.

“In theory it’s a good idea because it could unite the country and there could be less misunderstandings,” said Andrew Maltese, a third-year philosophy student. “Realistically, it’s not going to change anything.”...

Supporters of this provision claim it will promote national unity.

“We are trying to make an assimilation statement,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

This bill would create more stringent language requirements for immigrants applying for citizenship.

Applicants will have to perform well on English language proficiency tests and demonstrate an understanding of American history and government.

They will also be expected to learn the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem, according to the Washington Post.

The proposal declares no one has the right to demand the government to provide services or materials in any other language than English.

By establishing English as the national language, existing multilingual government services and publications such as voting ballots will not be affected.

But no matter what law is passed, you'll see stuff like this on MySpace:

Viva la Raza!

"work, school, and party!!!!"

20 years old
United States

And hear stuff like this on the radio:

Spanish Broadcasting announced the re-branding of KXOL-FM in Los Angeles as the new "Latino 96.3."

Latino 96.3 is designed to be "the" station for young Hispanic Angelenos between the ages of 18 and 34. The quantifying/qualifying moniker "Latino" serves the dual purpose of proudly proclaiming the cultural identity of the station's huge base of loyal listeners as well as that of the station's ownership and management. It is an intended rallying cry for unity from a community that is today a dominant force not only in Southern California but also throughout the United States.

Latino 96.3 will highlight Reggaeton, an upbeat music genre with roots originating almost 20 years ago in Panama and Puerto Rico that's fast becoming the hottest new musical trend among Spanish - speaking audiences throughout the world. The music mix also includes hip-hop elements appealing to young Hispanics in Los Angeles....

The new Latino 96.3 represents the latest programming innovation from
SBS - the nation's largest Hispanic-owned media entity - and the most recent embodiment of its core commitment to serving the growing U.S. Hispanic market.

It joins SBS flagship sister station KLAX-FM, "97.9 La Raza," one of the highest rated FM outlets in Southern California.

And it's not just in El-Lay:

While I was out of town, my favorite oldies radio station changed formats.

Today I tried to hunt down a new station to listen to in the car. I found one quasi-oldies/easy listening station that I guess will have to do. But I counted twelve, count 'em, twelve stations broadcasting in Spanish.

Guess what format my former oldies station has switched to.

I'll give you three guesses, and the first two don't count.

For those who demand that the use of the Spanish language fade away, just as the use of the German and Polish languages faded away in the past, the solution is simple. Get old geezers to pretend to be cool by dropping Latino lingo on any pretense whatsoever. Aztlan.net agrees that this is very uncool:

The intensity of the wooing of the Latino vote by presidential candidates, and listening to George W. Bush and Al Gore speak Spanish, with "little brown ones" fluttering around them as if they were gods, reminds me of what Mexicans used to say in Texas: never to trust a gringo who speaks Spanish or a Mexican who smokes a cigar. (Both are likely to be politicians)....

Bush includes a smattering of Spanish in his speeches: "I like to be seen in neighborhoods sometimes where Republicans aren't seen . . . I like to fight the stereotype that somehow we don't have the corazon (heart) necessary to hear the voices of people from all political parties and from all walks of life," he drawled in his affected Texas intonation at the National Council of La Raza confab.

Perhaps Ted Kennedy would speak Spanish more, but he isn't that fluent:

In the spring of 1951, freshman Teddy Kennedy has a Spanish A final to take. One of his football teammates had a roommate who knew the language very well -- they called him "The Master of Spanish." Someone joked that the Master should take Teddy's exam for him.

On a whim, the Master agreed. Unfortunately, the Spanish A exam proctor recognized him. Within minutes of the exam's conclusion, Kennedy got a call from Dean of the College Delmar Leighton's office. He was nailed: Immediate suspension, readmission to be considered after at least one year off.

But to find the most uncool people in the world, just look at the former cast members of reality shows such as The Surreal Life. Just imagine the ramifications if any of these people started talking about la raza or singing about la frontera:
  • Vince Neil

  • Ron Jeremy

  • Christopher Knight

  • Nicole Richie

  • Paris Hilton

  • Kevin Federline

But when talking about K-Fed, the knowledgeable CelebGossipAficionado put it best:

Kevin Federline? Look at him. He's a double wide Don Juan. He wants to rap about brazilian asses, and can't speak a lick of spanish.

Well, CGA, many Brazilians can't speak a lick of Spanish, either. But boy, can you spot the gringo:

Most Gringos stand out by the way they dress, social customs, behavior and common errors they make when speaking Spanish.

In a similar vein:

A gringo is a white person, whether North American or European. A gringo typically dresses differently, a little more earthy and a little more artsy. Gringos are usually loud when walking down the street, can't dance salsa or merengue, and of course speak Spanish with a broken accent.

So what would happen if the gringos spoke Spanish? The young urban Latinos would drop the tongue as quick as possible.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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