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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Putas will cost you a lot

In Spain there’s a saying:

Tiran más dos tetas que dos carretas.”

Literally, that means, "two tits move more than two carts", which works because it rhymes in Spanish. In English it sounds bad, but you get the idea.

There’s also an adage that says the more preposterous the story, the more likely it is to be believed. Well, that’s not always the case. Especially when you invent a story about being kidnapped after leaving a string of bills in whorehouses - and make a cash transaction after the purported kidnapping two meters from your own home.

A guy from Montcada i Reixach (outskirts of Barcelona) spent 330 euros in a puticlub called the “Mezquita de Oro”. Feeling guilty - and not wanting his family to find out about his dalliances - he concocted a kidnapping story. To add a degree of realism he came up with an ingenious idea: he beat himself up. More precisely, he “violently beat his head on his own vehicle”, according to El Periodico.

And, last December, there was a businessman in nearby Sant Boi who faked getting kidnapped so he could spend time with his mistress. During a police interrogation he contradicted himself , and finally fessed up that he had invented the whole story.

What do these guys have in common?

The sex/guilt factor is what links these two cases; but there is something else: both men claimed to have been kidnapped by immigrants. The businessman claimed to have been kidnapped by “black Arabs”, and the guy who spent 330 euros on putas claimed to have been kidnapped by “South Americans”. Most likely, during the police investigation they used the words moros and sudacas – the Spanish equivalents of niggers and wetbacks.

This is indicative of the zeitgeist, where, for one, people are still hung up when it comes to sexual issues; and two, where a climate of victimism and racism simmers just underneath the surface of Spanish society (yes, I know it exists in the States as well).

While these are somewhat tragicomic occurrences, one could imagine where this kind of behavior leads. Since crime is so often associated with immigrants, especially North Africans and South Americans in Spain, these unscrupulous fellows have found an easy scapegoat for their own misadventures. There are many infamous cases in the United States of fake victimization, where the blame was heaped on one minority or the other (usually black) for the sake of verisimilitude. It’s only obvious that this perpetuates the climate of hysteria, leaving many innocent people in the lurch.

The guy who spent 330 euros in a whorehouse, then invented a story about being kidnapped will not live this down. He will be the laughing stock in all his local bars (but after doing a Zidane on his car he might not be lucid enough to even care).

Unfortunately people are going to remember him for his scandalous adventure in a club de altern, and not for his use of latent racism to make his story more believable. That’s where the real crime is. It’s not sex, although it makes for a good bar story (why, because it’s “shameful”? I guess, but it’s also hilarious!).

I’m not immune to latent racism. Every time there’s a robbery in my neighborhood, I immediately think “Moroccan”. And every time I look out my window and see someone running down the street this is confirmed. Every time I’ve seen bag snatchings in restaurants, in train stations, and department stores they have been “South Americans” … the silent robbers in Catalonia are always described as “Eastern European”. I think part of the problem is xenophobia, because it’s never been stated that all Moroccans, or all South Americans are criminals. And if you’ll notice it’s a generalization that’s being used. I personally know many people that don't fit the aforementioned stereotypes (but I'm not naive enough to pretend I don't know why they exist in the first place).

(Just now, as I'm writing this, there was a bag snatching in front of my apartment. Seriously.)

Everybody knows it’s not fair to blame based on a priori knowledge. Each individual should be accounted for. I guess it’s easier for people to fall back on stereotypes because they can blame others for their own shortcomings.

Anybody with their ear to the ground knows that no one race or nationality is perfect. I haven’t been pickpocketed or robbed (though they have tried, and I have witnessed many instances of it) but I was cheated out of 3,000 euros in wages from a Catalan businessman back when all the English academies were going belly-up. Crap is crap. The worst sort of people are race and nation groupies that hide behind prejudices when it is convenient, and pull their race and nation cards for mere self-aggrandizement.


More fake victims in Guirilandia:

King for a night

How not to travel free