Tuesday, August 7, 2007

El País

"So, David", I imagine my adoring public asking me, "how do you keep up with current events, while you are over there in Iberia? It must be hard to stay abreast of the latest Bush administration atrocities."

Indeed, though it seems fair to point out that not keeping completely abreast of said atrocities might be considered a major advantage of living here in eSpain. Depressingly enough, it's not as if they are going to go away any time soon, and there will presumably be ample time to catch up with things upon my return to San Francisco.

Nonetheless, the question is a fair one, and deserves a serious answer. I have two primary sources for keeping up on current events while I am over here. The first is the always-informative www.Salon.com, who can stop sending me e-mails already - I renewed my subscription last night, OK? Smart, eclectic, funny, informative, with a definite liberal bias (they are, after all, San Francisco based), Salon is also host to Table Talk, a highly eclectic, intelligent, funny, muy simpático community of subscribers, who have been an invaluable group of online friends for me during the past year or so.

My second major information source these days is the newspaper El País and its online website. Among the main Spanish dailies, it would be considered the most left-wing, in contrast to the ultra-conservative ABC, (a reliable mouthpiece for - say - the view of the Catholic hierarchy, as well as of those remaining diehard franquistas), or the more middle-of-the-road El Mundo. I generally buy El País at least three days a week (to read it daily would be an impossible time-sink; articles in the Sunday magazine section alone can keep me going for days). For whatever reason, it seems to suit my level exactly - the articles are interesting, generally well-written, and understandable, while still presenting enough of a challenge to keep expanding my vocabulary. Often as not, at 3:30, after the morning´s classes have ended, you'll find me eating lunch in a local café, poring over the newspaper, underlining unfamiliar words for subsequent lookup. I wish I could say that the percentage of unfamiliar words is steadily decreasing, but this doesn't yet seem to be the case. On the other hand, it is really good for my vocabulary.

Helpful hint: for up-to-date news of goings on in the Bourbon family, the País website is far superior to the paper itself (way more photos). Though of course, for special occasions, such as the recent royal baptism of the Infanta, it may be worth splurging on one of those magazines specifically dedicated to this aspect of eSpanish life. Might I suggest Hello! magazine? They have a special subsection devoted to the goings-on of assorted European royal families, and Eurotrash generally.

As a public service, here is the link:



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