To Pau Gasol and teammates: From a Spanish viewpoint
A special Ticket to Beijing post by Pablo Scarpellini, an editor for Hoy, the Spanish-language newspaper owned by Tribune, which also owns the L.A. Times:
Don't worry, Pau, you don't have to apologize. And, no, you didn't do anything wrong. Because, you know, it was just a stupid picture, a photo promoting the Beijing Games with you and your teammates using your fingers to slant your eyes.
And, yes, it was a kind gesture toward the Chinese people, as the Chinese Embassy in Madrid is saying, and it didn't mean to offend anybody, because the intention was the opposite and that's what counts. I guess that to some people having slanted eyes is something embarrassing or wrong. Otherwise, I just don't get it.
You have to understand, Pau, we are dealing with the narrowest minds of our times, those capable of finding unforgivable sins in innocent things, those capable of blowing of the alarms when a Janet Jackson breast is exposed. But we both know that not everybody is like that here in this big country, that there are a lot of people who convince you every day to stay. And it's not about the paycheck.
I wouldn't waste my time or yours exposing concepts that you already know if it weren't for the fact that I work in this building too, and I don't want you to think that we -- at Los Angeles Times Media Group -- don't have broader mentalities to understand what's going on in other parts of the world. And just for the record, there are intelligent journalists working here who really get it.
As you may imagine, a lot of people from Spain have been writing to this blog about this issue, offended because a columnist who obviously doesn't know us says that we practice racism in the privacy of our own little country. And, as you can also imagine, they said the obvious, that a country like the United States, at this point in time, cannot give lessons to anybody in human rights or racism, that comments from twisted minds are the ones that create international antipathy toward this big country.
Maybe the problem is that they once tried to cook paella with basmati rice and thought they were starting to understand the culture. Ouch!!
We need to open our minds and stop writing about issues that are simply not there. And I, on my part, will keep on proudly wearing my L.A. Times T-shirt. Yes, I finally stopped by our gift shop. You never know.
-- Pablo Scarpellini
Photo: Pau Gasol. Credit: Oliver Morin / AFP/Getty Images