Many European readers have commented over the years on how watching television with subtitles helped them learn English.
Univision is the giant of Spanish-language broadcasting in the U.S. In 2006 it was sold by Republican Italian-American billionaire Jerry Perenchio to a consortium headed by Democratic Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban for $13.7 billion. Perenchio was the chief donor in 1998 to the campaign against Ron Unz`s Proposition 227
restricting bilingual education in California schools. The more Mexican immigrants who learn English, the worse it is for business. (Unz won easily, nonetheless).
Not surprisingly, according to Wikipedia
, "Univision`s major programming is closed-captioned in Spanish, but unlike main competitor Telemundo, it almost never provides English subtitles."
This refusal to run subtitles in English costs Univision a slight amount of ratings — I recall stumbling upon "Repo Man" d
ubbed into Spanish on Univision and watching about 40 minutes because I know much of the dialogue by heart. But, to Univision, the principle
of keeping Spanish-only residents of America Spanish-only comes ahead of short-term profits. If they started putting "Repo man is always intense"
in English under Harry Dean Stanton`s mug while some guy says it in Spanish, who knows, somebody somewhere might someday learn enough English to watch a different station.
There are numerous campaigns against corporations for anti-social practices, but I`ve never heard any criticism of Univision for refusing to subtitle English-language movies in English. Criticizing Perenchio and/or Saban for holding back the spread of English in the interests of higher profits would be racist, so it`s just not done.
Speaking of Univision`s lack of subtitles and learning another language, Bert Limbec explains "I Bet I Can Speak Spanish:"
Hello, amigos! El soy quando agunto! Ella balloona balunga espanyo!Did that sound Spanish to you? I bet that means something. And guess what? I`ve never had one lesson. It`s just that I have a natural gift for Spanish. I was able to pick it up all by myself, "outside the system," if you will.When I was a kid, I thought a foreign language would take a long time to learn. That`s what society tells you, probably because of the anti-foreign attitude in America. They`re trying to discourage people from going foreign, I guess...I remember how, in high school, Spanish was taught by Mr. Gomez, and you could spend years learning every single word. Forget that! I`m sure I`ve got the gist of it. I don`t need any classes or books, because I can speak Spanish without all that. I mean, Â?Balunga el baguayo con blinko! Don`t tell me that didn`t sound Spanish! And it sure didn`t take three years of high school to learn. Forget that, I`ve got a life! ...But another important link in the chain of me speaking Spanish is that I`ve been watching tons of Univision lately, and I completely understand what`s going on. Just yesterday, there was this soap opera on, called Ellabungo Juanita or something Spanish like that, and I was completely following it! This girl and this guy were in bed together, and this guy came in and was mad. Just from listening, I could tell that the girl in the bed was cheating on the guy who just walked in. There were no subtitles, I just figured it out! You folks reading this might have needed Spanish lessons to understand what was going on, but I`m on the fast track, Charlie!