2008.Aug.25 Monday · 4 comments

in Books & Other Media, Life

“I think that I shall never see a billboard lovely as a tree. Indeed, unless the billboards fall, I’ll never see a tree at all.”

– Ogden Nash

Buenos Aires – The city of Buenos Aires has declared war on billboards, with the intent to remove some 60% of them, roughly 40,000, from the various barrios, calling it “visual pollution”. While I agree in principle that billboards on an in general basis are nothing more than an eyesore, I have to admit I would miss (should this ever actually come to pass) the amusement that some of them engender.

Caras y Caretas billboard advert
Caras y Caretas (Faces and Masks) is a local weekly that often has eye-catching adverts, like this one for its issue devoted to the global (and in particular local) food supply crisis, with a quote (oddly attributed to “Angel Parra-Quilapayún” – Ángel Parra is a Chilean folklorist who is part of the Nueva Canción movement, and Quilapayún is a sextet within the same movement, and while they’ve appeared together, they are separate) that roughly translates as “What fault does the tomato have, sitting quietly on the vine, if some son of a whore comes along and shoves it in a can”.


In other news, recently the Lucchetti pasta company introduced its Tirabuzones con Salsa de Queso – the local version of mac’ and cheese. Now, having grown up with a fair amount of the blue box version thrown in here and there as quick and easy side dishes to dinner, and for many years using the same as a late night snack when getting home from bar-hopping or working late, I have an admitted fondness for the… crap. We all know it’s not real mac’ and cheese, and given the time, I’d much rather put together the real thing. But, it’s a convenience, and it’s strangely addictive. So I thought I’d give the Lucchetti a try, as the Kraft stuff isn’t available here. Let’s just say I took a bullet for the team. Really, you don’t have to try this stuff out. The pasty, insipid greyish sauce that coats the corkscrew pasta (a claimed three portions per box, you’ve got to be kidding, it didn’t fill one soup bowl, but then, thankfully…) like Elmer’s glue is about as tasty. Even salt and pepper didn’t help.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

BANightlife August 26, 2008 at 22:32

I think it will be very refreshing to have the city clear of billboard advertising which covers up much of the nice old architecture at present. At the same time though it also covers up much of the ugly 60’s and 70’s architecture too at present which is a good thing. I heard they did the same in the city of Brasilia also, which is now completely clear of any billboard advertising whatsoever – I like the sound of it.

dan August 27, 2008 at 09:24

In reality, I too like the idea of the removal of most of the billboard type advertising, though, of course, it’s likely to yield to something else to simply replace it. I remember when they removed a huge number of billboards in New York City about twenty years ago – landlords just rented out the sides of their buildings to be re-painted with adverts, which in the end is actually uglier than the billboards were, since most of what gets done are simple large point text ads rather than anything with graphics to it, and truly covered up much of the architecture.

schussheim August 28, 2008 at 14:05

“Que culpa tiene el tomate…” it’s an old republican spanish song from the days of the Civil War (1936-1939).
On the other hand, welcome the billboard removal!

dan August 30, 2008 at 13:15

Thanks for the info. The song, it appears, was written by Chicho S´nchez Ferlosio, a Spanish songwriter, and was made famous in a recording by Chilean nueva canción singer Victor Jara. The full lyrics of the song, originally titled “La hierba de los caminos” though later retitled as “Que la tortilla se vuelva”, are:

La hierba de los caminos
la pisan los caminantes
y a la mujer del obrero
la pisan cuatro tunantes
de esos que tienen dinero.

Qué culpa tiene el tomate
que está tranquilo en la mata
y viene un hijo de puta
y lo mete en una lata
y lo manda pa’ Caracas.

Los señores de la mina
han comprado una romana
para pesar el dinero
que toditas las semanas
le roban al pobre obrero.

Cuándo querrá el Dios del cielo
que la tortilla se vuelva
que los pobres coman pan
y los ricos mierda, mierda.

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