pc or not pc

The local cinema is showing Polanski’s The Ghost Writer and this is the poster advertising the film:

ghost writer poster - el escritor

You’ll notice that the title has been translated into Spanish as El EscritorThe Writer. I wonder whether that’s because the word used for a “ghost writer” is negro.

It’s an official term defined by the Real Academia Española as:

17. m. Persona que trabaja anónimamente para lucimiento y provecho de otro, especialmente en trabajos literarios.

It occurs to me that the translator might have been trying to be politically correct when he chose not to call the film The Black, but it would be quite unusual in Spain for political correctness to be an issue.

Don Carbon barbecue coals
Visitors to Spanish sweet shops are usually shocked the first time they see a bag of Conguitos – the Spanish equivalent of Peanut Treets (not Peanut M&Ms, as they aren’t multi-coloured) – though the packaging has been updated a bit since this advert showing the little blond and freckled white Tarzan swinging in to a stereotypical African village to share their Conguitos.

Then there’s the Cola Cao (powdered drinking chocolate) song that starts “Yo soy aquel negrito del África tropical que cultivando cantaba la canción de Cola Cao.”

In comparison, the Don Carbón logo from the barbecue coals we used at the weekend seems to be quite inoffensive.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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