Friday, October 15, 2010

Orgullo Ajeno

There's an expression in Spanish: vergüenza ajena. It means feeling embarassed for someone.

I’d like to use what I think would be the antonym for that expression: orgullo ajeno. I don't know if that is a normal expression or if it's an Ely's Momma-ism. What I'm getting at is feeling pride in something that is not really yours to feel proud about.

Orgullo ajeno is what I feel, along with gratefulness for the miracle that was the rescue, about this whole miner ordeal. I feel proud of the people for following the story for 70 days. (Let's face it, the collective attention span for anyone news piece is usually not that long!) I feel proud of the miners around the country that showed their solidarity. I feel proud of the engineers and teams who figured out how to get ‘er done. I feel proud that the majority of the miners chose to emerge wearing shirts that gave thanks to God and quoted scripture (Psalm 95:4, for those who are curious).

On a colder, more removed level, I feel proud of Chile for exposing the whole ordeal. Some say that it was all a government show. I think the whole situation was too risky to be purposely made a show; and if it looked showy to others, well I think that’s a bargain price to pay for 33 lives. Not to mention that given the choice, I'd take a show over a cover-up any day of the week. I dare say that this if this happened in China, we may not have heard about it until the rescue was successful.

There’s a much smaller story happening in the background here in Chile: The CNTV (National Television Council- a government entity) has "formalized charges” against Club de la Comedia (a show that mixes stand up and sketch comedies) for blasphemous sketches. The sketches are, in my opinion, quite offensive not only because they cross the line of poking fun at major figures of the Christian faith, but also because they make light of rape.

The person who filed the complaint that led to the charges agrees that the sketches would be equally offensive if they were about any other religion, but points out that it is especially unacceptable in a country where 90% of the population is Catholic, but I digress.

What I really want to say here is that, I disapprove of the sketches and had I been watching the show at the time, I surely would have changed the channel and possibly complained to the station.

However, if we’re going to get worked up about anti-Catholic programming, let’s start with shows that demean women and their role in society and decay the moral compass of the country. Let’s start with the meat markets that pass for shows, like Morande y Compania, Pelotón, Rojo, Mekano or the soft porn that distorts expectations for relationships: Infieles, Los Cuarenta, etc. You know, the shows that "every one"watches and people talk about? Garbage in. Garbage out.

(My Goodness, I sound like my father!)

Or are the 50% of us that are women less important than 90% that are Catholic?

Let’s put that aside for a second because I think there is a greater issue here:

"I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it." –Voltaire

I want to see the same freedom of speech and freedom of press displayed throughout the miracle of the 33 miners applied here. I don't want the government deciding what is too offensive for TV. After all, changing the channel is always an option and public outrage, letter writing and boycotts are much “safer” methods of changing programming.

A popular movement of that sort against the brain-draining programming on national TV would give me lots of orgullo ajeno.

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