Spain Doesn’t See What’s Offensive About Photo

By now, everyone’s seen Spain’s famous slit-eyed photo. It’s a real dandy. Comedy genius at its finest.

Of course, once the photo leaked yesterday, it was pretty obvious there would be an uproar — perhaps loudest from the host nation. Now that the uproar’s in full swing, Spain has to make its apology, which surely means a heartfelt response to the concerns of a billion people, right?

Um, not so much.


“It was something like supposed to be funny or something but never offensive in any way,” said Spain center Pau Gasol, who also plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. “I’m sorry if anybody thought or took it the wrong way and thought that it was offensive.”

“We felt it was something appropriate, and that it would be interpreted as an affectionate gesture,” (Jose Manuel) Calderon, who plays for NBA’s Toronto Raptors, wrote on his blog. “Without a doubt, some … press didn’t see it that way. We have great respect for the far East and its people, some of my best friends in Toronto are originally Chinese, including one of our sponsors, the brand Li-Ning,” Calderon wrote. “Whoever wants to interpret it differently is completely confusing it.”

With all due respect to Calderon and Gasol, those aren’t really apologies. They’re more explanations. And they’re not very good. Gasol is making it clear that if you think the gesture is racist, you misinterpreted it, even though there’s little room for interpretation, and Calderon would like you to know that he has Chinese friends. Nice.

The Western world has officially moved on from “My Black Friend.” Now, it’s “My Friend With the Funny Eyes That Look Like This, Haha!” Score one for multiculturalism.