Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Euroswearing 2012: the first semi-final

But first . . . a little trumpet-blowing. So far, I should remind my many readers, the swearing algorithm has correctly predicted the results of all four matches assessed.

Yes, I know hubris is a dish best enjoyed cold-heartedly — and I expect, even welcome, being slapped about when I do fail. Still, I’m enjoying my moment of triumph.

And, as there are now only three matches to go, that means I am already over the 50-50 line. If I could always do better than chance and consistently bet money that way, I would — eventually — own the whole world.

Enough of that, though. To tonight’s head-to-head.

Spain vs Portugal

In the previous round, I gave assessments of both countries’ swearing talents and capacities. So first I will briefly revisit what I uncovered there.

Portugal first. The national swearing standard is filho da puta! — which I spelt wrong last time, putting de where I meant da. (Oh well. De-da, de-da.)

Now Spain. It’s hijo de puta!

Both phrase translate as son of a whore. So no way of separating the two Iberian cultures there. Still, I’ll pause to consider the underlying meaning of the insult — which has no direct English equivalent. I quote myself, Filthy English, page 141.

Telling someone they're a hijo de puta means they were born of a woman who had so much sex with so many different men that, therefore - and this is the point and punch of the slur - they are effectively fatherless, illegitimate both literally and metaphorically.

It’s an insult about social exile. Bastard is the closest English equivalent. A bastard, though, can know his or her father — even be acknowledged by him. So bastard not a social but a legal insult: a bastard can’t inherit the farm. Just keep that in mind when one of tonight’s combatants shouts hijo de puta/filho da puta at an ‘enemy’. Or ‘team mate’.

With no way to separate the two countries there, I’ll move straight to a match-decider. I chose two football-derived pieces of filthy Iberian as the weapons of choice.

Portugal first: estou com o Benfica. Translation: I am a supporter of Benfica — the famous Lisbon football club. Eh? It’s a woman speaking. She is — euphemistically — informing you that she is currently menstruating. Eh? Benfica play in red shirts — cf the English ‘Arsenal are playing at home’.

Now Spain: two samples, both regional. First one from the north-east of the country. Filthy English, page 207.

A citizen of Barcelona, wishing to suggest that someone was what a similarly angry black American would call a motherfucker, might call them a 'Hugo Sanchez'. It's a football analogy. Hugo Sanchez was a Mexican-born striker who played for Real Madrid, Barcelona's great rival. He helped them win five consecutive league titles, 1986-90, scoring 207 goals, a ratio of 1.37 per game, each one celebrated with a somersault. For a Barcelona supporter, therefore, a Hugo Sanchez is about the worst thing a man could be.

Now one from the centre of the county, the capital. Filthy English page 168.

Atletico Madrid's ultras are among the world's most perniciously racist football fans. Their behaviour at a 2008 Champions League match resulted in FIFA threatening the club with having to play future matches away from not just its home ground but from Madrid. One of these ultras' favourite chants is, to the tune of the Spanish national anthem, 'Fuera, fuera, maricones, negros, Vascos, Catalanes'.

Death, death to homosexuals, blacks, inhabitants of the Basque region, even before citizens of Barcelona and its hinterland.

Now that really is what you call an insult. My only question is: are the targets of the ultras death-wishes in ascending or descending order? Who do they hate more, homosexuals or Barcelona supporters?

Still, I think it’s clear. The Spanish use of football in their curses is simply superior. And that is why they will win tonight. No other reason. Believe me. Trust me.

Tomorrow The second semi-final, Germany vs Italy.

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