Epeolatry Sunday: Narcos, swearing in spanish, and some of the (many) reasons I yell at the TV

Today’s edition of Epeolatry Sunday is brought to you by the second season of Narcos. Briefly, for those of you who aren’t stealing someone else’s Netflix account, Narcos is a series based on Pablo Escobar and the Colombian cocaine wars. Every episode is chock-a-block full of wild 80s fashion, salsa music, seemingly endless drive-by shootings, and rampant casual homophobia/sexism. It is also – and this is what endears it to me – thoroughly bilingual and the dialogue shifts between English and Spanish even faster than people get gunned down in the street. Luckily for my long-suffering boyfriend, this also means I’m too busy trying to follow the Spanish dialogue to spend as much time yelling at the TV as I normally would (but that’s another post).


Netflix doing its best to make it seem like Narcos features strong female characters. Unfortunately, that effort never went much further than the advertising.

Back in the day, however, I watched the first season in Canada, where it came with English subtitles – so I had a little more time to think about things. One of the things that made me sad was the constant use of marica (basically “faggot”) as the insult of choice (yes, yes, I know: “Cultural context!” and “That’s just how it is/was!”. Like “But it’s in the book!” these are excuses and do not make it ok). One thing I really do dislike about nearly all the languages I speak is the use of queer and/or female sexuality or sexual “deviancy” as the primary form of insulting someone (the exception to the rule here is Quebecois French – I have absolutely no issue with using the Catholic church as an insult).

However, in season two, the insult of choice has changed. Which brings us to our word of the day:

Malparido(a): adj. literally meaning “badly born”. Most commonly translated into English as “bastard” or “son of a bitch,” although it could just as easily be translated as “fucking dick” or “fucking asshole,” thus avoiding bringing the person’s mother into it at all.

What I like about malparido (or, if you’re referring to a woman, malparida) is that, actually, it isn’t insulting you either via your female relations or your sexuality – neither of which have anything to do with your own personal failure as a human being. So, thanks, Narcos, for that at least.

Though, to be honest, I also appreciate the general lack of unnecessary sexual assault. Going by TV shows alone, when compared to, say, Westeros, Medellin in the 80s was not the worst place to be a woman. At least you got paid for your trouble there! But, again, I think that’s another post.


One comment

  1. […] loved that Netflix didn’t shy away from bilingual dialogue in Narcos (more thoughts on that here) and that (despite its many other flaws, including but not limited to the obnoxious all-American […]

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