16 Comments

  1. I think dvandom has it @1: it appears to be a pun contrasting the primary & secondary meanings of “gay” versus “blue”. As crude as that seems now (13 years later), it’s better than the alternative: at first I was afraid that the whispered adjective might turn out to be “white”.

  2. I have to agree. Blue is masculine and manly, which is why the other kid was confused. If this comic is less than 20 years old, it’s baffling why the creator would make it or why it would be allowed to pass the censor.

  3. @ S.B. – I meant “blue” in the sense of a mood, meaning “melancholy, sad, or depressed“, as opposed to “gay”, meaning “lighthearted and carefree“. The black kid is clearly implying the alternate “sexual orientation” meaning, but Baldo does not appear to have understood that part.

  4. I have no clear idea what the joke is supposed to be in the comic, and perhaps it is intentionally vague (that would be my argument) and a bit of a Rorschach test.

    FWIW, it never occurred to me until seeing the comments that it would be interpreted as a homosexual slur. If we wanted to go to a sexual reading along the lines of “he is compensating,” perhaps consider the fact that a Mini Cooper is…mini. Perhaps it would imply the opposite of a red sports car?

    But again, I think it is intentionally vague and open to the reader’s interpretation. I can imagine other readings that do not require an assumption of a slur on the part of the creators.

  5. I’m hoping somebody with real knowledge of Spanish will step in and answer that.

    From my limited abilities, looking just at the lower one from Bill’s original post, there is nothing that looks wrong or misleading.

    The “totally” in panel 2 was “sin duda”, which literally-by-parts is “without doubt” — I don’t know how “no doubt!” is used in casual English these days, but there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with making it “totally”.

    In the final panel, Baldo’s question and the wiseguy’s answer both use “séa” which is a subjunctive form of ‘to be’, appropriate for the hypothetical “even if” construction — I don’t think an English subjunctive would be appropriate! And “even if” seems to be the standard translation for “aunque”.

    The light-haired kid’s final line is rendered pretty loosely, but not misleadingly. “Nunca me lo imaginaba” is literally “I never imagined it” and casually maybe “I never woulda thought of it”.

  6. @ Targuman – I’m not fluent, but I can piece most of this together. In recent years I have had the impression that Baldo is usually written in English and then translated to Spanish, but there have been exceptions, and most of these strips seem to have been written in Spanish, and then translated into less than perfect English (witness “chrome air cleaner“). In the second panel of the strip above, the Spanish dialogue is significantly different from the English version: “Any guy who drives in a Mini Cooper is without a doubt a…” (there’s no reference to any color), and Baldo’s 4th-panel reply is “Even if the Mini Cooper is blue?“. The repeated “they’re” in the English version (seeming to indicate the drivers, rather than the cars) is a massive translation mismatch, and the Spanish version of the last comment by the blond kid would be “I’ve never thought of that.

  7. P.S. @ Mitch4 – I considered using the subjunctive in that one line, but I decided that “Even if the Mini Cooper were blue?” was a little to literary for Baldo, and it would be way out of place for his friend.

  8. Crudity admission: Seeing just the English in the top post, with plural “they’re” and “blue” I was expecting to be able to fill in “blue balls” somehow. Oh, but that wouldn’t be “Baldo”.

    Kilby, thanks for working on the translation diffs! I totally missed that the final panel (of the original lower strip) has the Mini Cooper in the Spanish but just “they’re” in the English. Still, I don’t know if I agree with your judgement that the “they” would have to mean drivers — I don’t see why not cars, even tho not named.

  9. @ Mitch4 – I agree that it doesn’t have to be the drivers, but the pronoun is open-ended, and invites misinterpretation, fostered by the subject of the second panel. I really can’t figure out in which direction this strip was translated. The “gay” vs. “blue” pun (which is only in the English version, there’s no hint of it in Spanish) seems to be too original for an accidental translation result, and if he didn’t mean it to be “gay”, then I cannot figure out what the whispered insult was supposed to be.

  10. There are two kinds of Mini Cooper drivers, those who drive the car that BMW developed and named the “Mini Cooper”, and those who drive a REAL Mini Cooper, the 1960’s racing version of the Mini, which pioneered such innovations as transverse engine, McPherson struts, and rubber cone suspension.

  11. I didn’t know most of the history that Mark in Boston kindly shared with us, but I did pick up somewhere (partly at least by driving by a dealership) that Mini is or was the major term (brand or “line”) while Cooper is the minor term (model) – so Mini Cooper is like Ford Fairlane – despite “Mini” feeling so much like a model or specialization designation.

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