Friday, September 05, 2008

An Insult with a Lesson in Diplomacy

Por que no te callas (Why don't you shut up!)

Translation of the short: President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela would not back down during the speaking time of the Spanish delegation. He kept insulting the Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, with regards to his predecessor Jose Maria Aznar. In a response to Chavez's behavior, the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, YELLED at Chavez, "why don't you just shut up!" The video continues by saying "Wanna keep talking? Don't worry, Suncom wireless has all types of plans for you including call waiting." The exchange of words between King Carlos and President Hugo Chavez took place ON November 10, 2007 at the Ibero- American Summit in Santiago, Chile.

The first time I ever saw this short was on television at my house in Puerto Rico. I had not watched television in Spanish in a long time so I had no idea that this event had even happened. My reaction at the end of the commercial was complete stupefaction and then just laughter and to ask my mother when this happened .I couldn't believe that I hadn't heard about this when it happened. My mother looked at me and her face communicated, "I pay an insane amount of money for you to study international relations, and this happened at an international relationsconvention. Where were you?". If she had actually asked this my answer wouldhave been simple: in the library, and specifically with a chemistry book. But thankfully she did not ask that and simply said that it happened a while ago and that it had made headlines all over the world and that they even wrote a song about it.
Afterwards, when I did some research about the incident I not only found out that it was turned into a song but also that the saying "why don't you just shut up" was made into a ring tone, a t-shirt and even a slogan for commercials like the one for Suncom in this short. Despite the fact that both parties have made peace with each other has not undermined the phrase from a pop icon in the most if not in all the Spanish speaking countries of the world.
Political satire in my opinion is something that is very important due to all the hostility that exists in the international arena. This short does a great job at capturing the obvious diplomatic tension between two countries (actually former conqueror and its colony). In thirty seconds , film viewers get the punchline of the whole event and then are told that if they want to be like Hugo Chavez and do not want to shut up, then they should go ahead and keep talking but remembering to do it with one of the many options Suncome wireless provides.
In other words to take an insult that will be
remembered for a lifetime and turn it into a great ironical cellphone campaign gives us not only an example of great advertising but also a great political satire short.


Michael said...

I, as a member of a military family, find these type of diplomatic conversation to be terribly frightening. And the parody of using this footage as a television commercial insinuates that media witholds no punches. However, as I am new to short films, this, caused me to regard the first day of class when we watched several films and Professor Middents asked, "Are these short films." In regards to the film CAMERA, I thought it was not a short film because there was no dialogue. Well, now, I am a firm believer that if the camera comes on and something moves, it is a short film.

Middento said...

I think Michael deserves challenging here: is this a short just because the camera comes on? I would argue that the manipulation of the argument to a different meaning is something artistic (if snarky) -- but Raissa's claim of this as a "narrative short" might be questioned. But I don't want to be the full authority here: take sides! Does this count as a narrative short or not?

larissa said...

this becomes to be a fact in the history line, just because two of the world's greatest dialogue exchange became to much. i think people would exchange perspective opinios,how far can we take "just a snap" or how funny or unfunny this might be. an add can be helpful but could also be total harm. this parody has also help in a second part of history when they met again. for me it is a narrative of what is to become next in history for us and for them.

Ben said...

I had trouble seeing this as a narrative short. It seems to capture a memorable historic incident and then follows it with a punch line (ultimately just to sell something). I'd equate it as the advertisement equivalent of Sour Death Balls (a study in human reaction).

Phil Gartland said...

This is not a narrative because it relies on knowledge of the participants and the event outside of the news clip for the incident to actually have any meaning to the viewer.