If nothing else, Hurricane Irene leaves us with the legacy of a fine fake-Twitter account, @ElBloombito (aka "Miguel Bloombito"), which takes satirical aim at the Spanish-language announcements that New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg appended to the end of his many hurricane-related press conferences. Bloomberg has been working on his Spanish public speaking for years (and has even received intensive tutoring sessions), but his very Bloombergian enunciation was too good a target to pass up for Rachel Figueroa-Levin, the creator of the @ElBloombito Twitter account.
Figueroa-Levin, a self-described "Jewyorican," was interviewed by The New York Observer about her creation. Jewyorican is a nice second-order blend, combining Jew and Nuyorican, the latter of which is already a Spanglish blend of New York and Puerto Rican. (The Observer's headline weirdly mangles it into "Jewryican.") Figueroa-Levin's parody of Bloomberg's Spanish struck a chord over the weekend, and the account currently has about 12,000 followers. Here are some of @ElBloombito's pearls of wisdom:
Muchos trees esta falling downo. No stando under los trees. Que splat!
El hurricano esta mucho worse. No vamos en el street. No es cute! Remaindo where tu are locatedo!
Nueva Yorko will get through el hurricano por que nosotros el besto personas de la earthador.
No walko en el outsido! Mucho dangerouso! Muy agua en la calle. El rapido speed winds que knocko you over.
No looto el bodega. Esta es Nuevo Yorko!
Ay Ay Ay todos things are mucho wet!
Los cans del trasho por favor to turn them back overo. Gracias.
Los offices del la cuidad will be opentado mañana. El commuto el mucho tough y mucho slow. Que crowding!
One could call this jocular style "Mock Spanglish" — or perhaps "Mock Mock Spanish," a label I used five years ago for a somewhat similar satirical undertaking. At the time, Mexican-American comic Paul Saucido had recorded a ringtone for a company called Barrio Mobile in which he imitated a Southern-sounding border agent saying, "I repeat-o, put the oranges down and step away from the telephone-o. I'm deporting you back home-o." Because the ringtone was decontextualized from Saucido's standup act, it was initially (mis)interpreted by many observers (including me) as an offensive exercise in "Mock Spanish," to use the terminology of Jane H. Hill, who has analyzed such pop-cultural examples as "No problemo" and "Hasta la vista, baby" from the Terminator movies. When Saucido was revealed to be the creator of the ringtone, it became clear that this was actually a case of Mock Mock Spanish — a parody of "how people try to phonetically speak when they talk down to you," as Saucido put it.
Compared to a disembodied ringtone, a fake Twitter account like @ElBloombito has a better chance of having its satire hit the mark, especially when Figueroa-Levin's identity was quickly unmasked by The Observer and Time's Newsfeed. The target, Bloomberg's earnest attempt at speaking Spanish, was also readily discernible to anyone who had watched the Mayor's press conferences and cringed at the Spanish portions (even if you have to give him points for trying).
And via commenter Rose Fox, here is Bloomberg's good-natured reply to a question about @ElBloombito: