Spanish leftist leader Pablo Iglesias praised U.S. television writer David Simon’s latest series “The Plot Against America” on Twitter, saying the series showed that fascism was never far away.
Iglesias’s tweet provoked “a flurry of responses in praise of and attacking Spain’s own fascist regime under Francisco Franco.”
Simon, who had no idea who Iglesias is, noticed his name being mentioned “in hundreds of subsequent posts, as Twitter users traded insults in Spanish and Catalan.”
He retweeted Iglesias’s message with the comment: “So, if my poor Spanish holds, this fellow liked the bent of a miniseries and tagged me. And so now into a second day, my Twitter feed is full of Francoists and Catalunyans screaming at each other in languages not my own. Well okay. It’s 1937 again. Fuck the fascists. No pasaran.”
Simon received a complimentary message “Olé tus cojones” (Hooray for your balls!) which he misunderstood to mean “Your balls stink” — the Spanish verb “to smell” is “oler.”
Simon responded “by insulting the sender’s mother until someone explained that olé isn’t related to oler, the verb to smell.”
“Okay, so I’ve wasted the entire morning insulting the mothers and rhetorical paucity of Spanish fascists and Francoists on Twitter,” Simon eventually concluded. “But I have learned that ‘smell your balls’ is actually a compliment. So it’s a bit of a break-even.”
(Stephen Burgen, “Wire creator David Simon causes stink in Spanish Twitter translation balls-up,” theguardian.com, 8-12-20)
My chief takeaway from this scoop of Twitter poop is:
In the end, what part of “olé isn’t related to oler, the verb to smell” did David Simon fail to understand?
(c) 2020 JMN