Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Politically Correct in Andalusia

So I'm standing at the bar at Juan Peña in Córdoba, eating the best fried eggplant in the world and a delicious asparagus salmorejo, because all the tables are taken. And I'm surrounded by caballeros--those utterly recognizable Spanish men whose bellies stick out over the pants their wives pressed for them that morning and who are given to walking in the street with their hands clutched behind their back.

There is far too much eggplant, so I offer some to a caballero. He asks me if I'm on vacation, and when I say no, he asks what kind of work I do. When I tell him I'm a journalist, he asks if I'm a bullfight critic, a perfectly reasonable assumption since it is feria. I tell him no, but that I (truthfully we) did write a story once about a bullfighter. I couldn't remember his name. "He's French," I said, "and Muslim." The caballero turns to one of his buddies. "What's the name of that torero?" he asks. "You know, el moro."

Only in Spain is the word "Muslim" interchangeable with "Moor."

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