Sunday, March 7, 2010

Handy Manny: Bringing Down La Raza

My kid loves the cartoon Handy Manny.

I, on the other hand, have several issues with Senior Manuel,

First, why is Manny pigeonholed into the profession of Handyman? What is that teaching our kids about young, Mexican, migrant workers? Why can't he be, "Attorney Manny," or "Loan Officer Manny," or "Certified Public Accountant Manny?" There are plenty of ethnically motivated scholarships that would afford Manny a college education.

Secondly, try and find a normal, successful white man on that show. The best cook in the town is Mexican (OK, that's pretty true to real life), the Mayor is Mexican, and the owner of the hardware store is a woman.

The only white man on the show, Mr. Lopar, is a bumbling, sexually ambiguous candy store owner who snuggles his cat and lives with his mom.

Third, I don't want my kid getting folk tales mixed up. I work long and hard to convince my kid that there's a tooth fairy who will come take his tooth away when it falls out. This tooth fairy is kind and leaves money under the pillow. It eases fears and helps him cope with the idea of losing his beloved teeth. It's a tried and tested story. It works.

This arrogant Latino, Manny, trying to impose his own belief system, comes along telling tales of a tooth mouse that takes your teeth at night. This may be a Mexican tradition, but you're in America, Amigo. Now my kid is afraid of teeth-looting mice crawling under the pillow at night. Gracias, Manny.

Lastly, while I don't have a problem with shows that teach kids different languages, I do take issue with Manny teaching my kid the jargon of blue-collar workers. What would be wrong with teaching my kid things like, "I would like a sausage breakfast burrito" in Spanish? It's useful. There would be no miscommunication when ordering food at Rolberto's. Even phrases like, "I really like your silk shirt and low-rider truck, my friend," would help build relationships.

Instead, Manny is teaching kids how to order a pallet of sod in Espanol. Thanks. Now if my kid decides on a career in landscaping, communicating with co-workers won't be an issue.

Most people don't even know how to speak English correctly, so why teach them Spanish? Cases in point, the following errors are frequently made, even by adults:

"For all intensive purposes." I don't care how intensive those purposes are, it's pronounced "for all intents and purposes."

"Grant it/Granite," as in, "I like him, grant it he looks like a troll." Thank you for offering me a grant, but it's actually "Granted."

"All-timers/Old Timers Disease." Try Alzheimer's next time.

"Supposably." No such word. It's "supposedly."

"Doggy-Dog World." Maybe for Snoop. For the rest of us it's a "dog-eat-dog" world.

"Expecially." There is no X in "especially."

"Mute" point. Regardless of it's volume, the point is "moot."

You get the point. But it begs the question: Why not have "Grammatically Correct Manny," a cartoon about a well-spoken immigrant who teaches kids the importance of learning the language in their country of residence?

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