23.6.11

Some things are just better in Spanish

Last night I watched the movie "Letters to Juliet", and while it was incredibly cheesy and lame, it provided me with a couple hours of entertainment and a new love story. The plot focused on one twenty-something girl named Sofia, who was planning a pre-wedding vacation with her soon-to-be husband, an italian living in New York City and planning to open a restaurant. The couple takes a trip to Verona, Italy, and basically throughout the movie we see how he is super wrapped up into his work. He opts to go to different tastings, auctions, and cooking classes instead of spend his time with his fiance, and leaves her for days at a time in Verona with nothing else to do but wait and explore on her own. While exploring the city, Sofia takes a trip to see the "place" of Giulietta (what we in English know as Juliet, from Romeo and Juliet). She sees a number of women writing letters and placing them into the walls, only to be collected by a woman and brought to a room where four other women spend their afternoons and evenings answering the women with letters of reply by "Giulietta's secretaries". Sofia finds a fifty year old letter in the wall, which was located behind a brick that miraculously nobody had ever budged before, and writes the woman back. Long story short, the woman, who is an elderly widow, comes to Verona a couple days later in order to take the advice of Sofia and look for her love, Ricardo. She is accompanied by her love-sore grandson, who discourages the search throughout the movie. The story goes on from there, searching city after city for Ricardo. After almost having given up hope, they are reunited. Meanwhile, Sofia has fallen in love with the grandson, but feels awkward and leaves for New York with her fiance. Upon receiving an invitation to the wedding of 50-year long love couple, Sofia decides to break up with her fiance and return to Verona, only to fall in love again with the grandson and have her happily-ever-after.





While this story is incredibly predictable and would never happen that way in real life (honestly, in real live Ricardo would have been dead or something), the movie creates this wonderful love story that is pure and honest. Not many movies now a days have that effect. Many are centered around crazy modern-day issues, and almost none really focus on the heart of the issue--the romance.

This is something I have been thinking about lately. The allure of pure poems, lyrics, movies; where has our sense of romanticism gone? As I was listening to the radio the other day, I became aggravated when a particular song came on. This song is Enrique Iglesias' new hip-hop infused, piece of crap, Tonight I'm Loving You, which actually has a dirtier title in the explicit version. Enrique?! What is this?! I hate it.






Enrique used to be this Spanish love-bird, who had awesome videos and only an album or two out in English. Now he has turned into some sort of English-speaking horn-dog, possessed by the reggaeto├▒eros and rappers that surround him in music videos. While his Spanish music still remains true to form, romantic, slower, and holding the same sort of passion and emotion I love about him, his English music leaves nothing to the imagination besides gyrating movement and words from the penis. To say that Enrique is losing my heart is untrue, I still love his music; however, I am only beginning to like his music in Spanish.

The same thing happened with Paulina Rubio, when she attempted to take on the English speaking world. Paulina's I'll be right here is nothing but an orgy in the video and a dirty thought in the lyrics. The rest of her songs, in Spanish, have a little more sentimental value and feeling to be expressed. While in Spanish she remains a pop-artist, and still has her moments, nothing is as bad as I'll be right here.





So why are some things explicit in English and withhold the romanticism we used to enjoy so deeply in Spanish? Is it due to our culture? Perhaps, but I would attribute a lot of it to the idea that people are genuinely scared of romance, and in order to mask fear, they create these alternate worlds where promiscuity and sex highlight the epitome of success and overshadow the foundations for love. I mean look at who we see as successful people. They are the music artists who are single and flaunt it, or who aren't single yet give the illusion that they are. These are the people who are making money; sex sells. When was the last time a genuinely good person had more true, genuine love songs on the radio than Britney Spears' latest dirty jam. Don't get me wrong, I do love Britney, which is perhaps due partly to the culture I have been raised in and partly due to human curiosity. However, I would love if someone came on the English-speaking scene and promoted genuine love and life songs. The trick, however, is whether or not they can stay that way.

The Spanish speaking culture (which, yes, I understand encompasses a lot of people) are people who still give significant value to romance and pure sentiments. This comes from my experience with some Spaniards and many many Mexicans. While Reggaeton exists, with it's catchy beats and upbeat tunes, the majority of the people I have met enjoy the allure of traditional, folk, pop, rock, or whatever kind of music that embodies the sentiment of everlasting love/the true sentiment of pain due to love. I can't decide whether it's the lyrics, the people, or simply the sounds of the language that makes Spanish artists so much more appealing to me. To me, everything sounds better in Spanish; it flows better, it rhymes better, and the grammar just makes more sense. In fact, in Spanish there are two ways to say "I love you". One can say "te quiero", which refers to the type of love one has between himself and his closest friends or family. When looking for a truer, deeper type of "I love you", one would use "Te amo". The distinction between the two allows for the use of "I love you" to mean more, and also incorporate all the innuendos that "love" really holds. I find that in English, we throw "I love you" around so much that it has almost begun to lose meaning. Also, it is difficult at times to distinguish between a true love and a friendly sort of love. The distinction between words really assists ones understanding as to what kind of "love" the other person is talking about.

All I really know is that I feel more romantic, more emotional, and more sentimental after listening to a song by a Spanish-speaking person than I do from the typical English-speaking person.

...and that's why some things are just better in Spanish

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