Language Play & Politics a la Chilensis

The Clinic, mina, puns, language**This post was “Freshly Pressed” on November 18, 2010.

Chile’s alternative  news weekly, The Clinic (firme al pueblo, por supuesto) is a master at attention-grabbing and deliciously irreverent headlines that require a very good understanding not only of Chilean Spanish, but of Chile’s current events. If you’re a foreigner here in Chile, make a point of regularly checking out the covers at your local newsstand—and give yourself a big pat on the back if you get the headlines—it’s a sure sign you’re making progress on your cultural and linguistic Chilensis.

English humor seems to be more language-based than Spanish is. A lot is based on puns, which aren’t very frequent in Spanish, but they do come up from time to time, and The Clinic is one of the best sources for finding them. I spotted this cover a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t resist a giggle.

Todos se Agararran a la Mina,” which literally means “Everyone Grabbed the Mine.” Yeah….? And you see a picture of a bunch of guys running after a flashy curvy woman… Okayyyy…?
What? Don’t get it?

Chilean Culture quiz time:

Language first: “mina” certainly means “mine,” but it also means “hot young woman.” Getting it now? They guys running after the woman? Not so funny? Remember that this was right after the whole rescue-the-miners bit, when a lot of people were criticized for getting in on the game and taking a piece of the action!

Yeah, yeah, I know… jokes are never as funny when they have to be explained…

Then there’s the who’s who in Chile quiz. Who are all those guys whose faces have obviously been intentionally sloppily Photoshopped onto marathon-running bodies? Take a closer look.

The Clinic, mina, language, politicians, journlists, TV personalities

How many of these figures can you identify? I come up with 8 of the 10.
Hint: Most (All?) were criticized in one way or another during the Rescue Efforts…

(Answers tomorrow!)


30 responses to “Language Play & Politics a la Chilensis

  1. As I watched the rescue, the thought did cross my mind …what is Don Francisco, Farkas and others doing at the rescue site? The Clinic has now given me the answer.

    Living in Canada I feel completely handicapped as far as guessing who all those guys are. In no particular order: Piñera, Don Francisco, Farkas, the Mining Minister, and that’s it. Don’t know any of the others. I would appreciate it though if you could provide me the name, phone number and email of the flashy, curvy woman. On second thought, you’d better not. My wife may not be pleased about this, LOL, 🙂

  2. The Clinic took that name after The London Clinic, where Pinochet was detained.
    I like to read it when I can, also, it has a web site (,they often put some funny pictures along with the political jokes. Some of them are a little over the top, but funny xD.

  3. Hi John- yes, you’ve been away a while… Fortunately, one of the 2 I can’t identify is the flashy woman… Or maybe I’m just siding with your wife? You know how gringas stick together!

  4. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. I haven’t heard (seen?) blip from Cachando Chile for what it seems like ages, especially to those of us readers who are hooked on all that goes on here.

  5. Hi Marmo- I never realized where the name The Clinic came from– pero Lógico! I was also surprised when I realized that The Clinic has been around for 11 years already!
    I love their irreverent sense of humor and their covers.
    The website has its “gracia” as well, although I agree with you that they really cross the line at times!

  6. Pot calling the kettle black??? Explain yoursle sir!
    And yes… A very long absence on nmy part- during which I finished up 2 major (and several minor) work projects and made some real headway on my book and Masters thesis. But the good news is that all my big work projects are done and I’m now reserving time/space por lo mio! And part of “lo mio” es Cachando Chile!!
    Glad to see you’ve been patient!

  7. My middle name is PATIENT, I am deadly serious! I am a Capricorn. For those not fully familiar with this very exact science :-), one of Capricorn’s main personality traits is patience and perseverance.
    Therefore, I will wait for as long as it takes to savor another post from you Margaret. Have I provided a satisfactory explanation Madam? 🙂

  8. Oh such flattery! But hopefully you will never have to wait so long again!

  9. So Marmo- Did you identify all 10??

  10. I’m not sure of 1 (IS she someone famous?), 4 or 5 (who looks like a priest). So only 7 out of 10.
    I love the clinic and its humour. We always have copies of it floating around at work.
    Marmo: Didn’t know that about the name of the Clinic. Interesting!

  11. Hi Rob-
    I’m not sure about Nº 1 either (that’s my 2nd of the 2 I don’t know)… 4 & 5 were tough… 4 I don’t know, but both are politicians (not priests).
    The Clinic is fun, and always challenges my cultural knowledge, although I do admit sometimes they go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to iconoclastic and shock factor!

  12. I know all of them except the girl in the gold dress. I’m also not 100% sure if I have number 5’s name right. I’ll check back tomorrow to see how I did 🙂

  13. You’re in good company- so far no one has come up with the woman’s name (I don’t know either). I have name #5, but not #4, so you may have to fill us in on that one!

  14. The girl is just a random girl, surely picked up for using the miner helmet. I think elusive #4 is senator Baldo Prokurica, he´s a right wing senator for Atacama, where the San José mine is. That´s why he´s beside left wing senator Isabel Allende, #7, also from the same region.
    The Clinic covers alone could be an interesting subject, they always make something about current news. Also, I think that poorly shoped photos are funnier than those made more carefully; I don´t know why, but I laugh a lot more with an awful photoshoped picture, =).

  15. I suspect you’re right about the woman… her outfit is interestingly (and intentionally) put together-gold (it’s a gold mine) and the helmet, of course, along with tools on her belt and $ sign around her neck…
    And congrats for identifying Baldo Prokurica, I wouldn’t have known, but I checked Google images, and sure enough, that’s the guy!
    Good catch on positioning him next to the socialist senator (but don’t give away all the names just yet!!)
    I completely agree about the covers of The Clinic… I have often thought about writing a piece just on them (let’s call this an introduction!)
    And yes, the bad Photoshopping is intentional to make the point that much clearer…may also save them from a potential law suit at some point… they get pretty close to the very fine line sometimes!

  16. Hi, Margaret:

    As far as I know, #10 is Amaro Gómez-Pablos, the Spanish-accented guy from TVN, and #3 is Negro Piñera, the President’s ineffable brother Miguel.

    I usually laugh a lot with The Clinic’s covers—ever so sarcastic and witty—. The surprise comes when you look inside, because not all in it is humor, and there are some really good articles now and then. (I am not a regular reader of The Clinic.)

  17. Hi Raúl- Yep, you’re right! And I agree, I love the covers of The Clinic and love their irreverent attitude, but I don’t buy it all that often, more because I don’t have time to read the whole thing, but also because I think they go too far sometimes…

  18. You explained it and I STILL don’t get it!! 🙂 (No worries, just haven’t had enough caffeine yet, and “I’m a blonde…yeah yeah yeah”)

    Congrats on being pressed! 🙂


  19. Raúl has a point there; many times The Clinic has clever and well written stuff inside. And usually are news that TV doesn´t show, that´s what make it more interesting.
    I wont tell the other names, but I think the harder ones were #4 and #5 xD If someone identifies all the others, you can say that person is really “cachando Chile”, like Kyle!

  20. Yes, I agree- The Clinic is iconoclastic, hard-hitting and doesn’t worry about stepping on toes, so it it tells it like it sees it!

  21. Haha- not to worry Teri! More a matter of not being Chilean enough rather than being caffeine deprived and blonde! And yes, I was excited to hear Cachando Chile had made the “Freshly Pressed” section ( Very Cool! Thanks for checking in! come on back for more!

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  23. I learned some Chilean slang today. Awesome. Great post 🙂

    Felicidades on being a featured blog!

  24. Hi Tracy- Glad you enjoyed it! Take a look at the Glossary to learn lots more “Chilensis”… and Thanks!

  25. Pingback: Language Play & Politics a la Chilensis: The Answers | Cachando Chile: Reflections on Chilean Culture

  26. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed from all of us here at consider it an honor to be Freshly Pressed.

  27. Legendary post, I enjoy this spectacular site,I found you along freshly pressed!

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  28. Hi. I came across your amazing blog by chance, while looking for something else in Google.
    It’s interesting to read what expats say about the sometimes bizarre Chilean newspapers, like this.

    As you might already guessed, The Clinic is a popular, ‘lefty’ mag that showed up for the first time on the streets, when Pinochet was hold under arrest in “The Clinic” hospital at London. Many people in Chile celebrated this as they were long waiting for Pinochet being judged. Pretty much like if Khadafi or Bin Laden were been caught in some US hospital, instead of the known story.

    As you well pointed out, the cover reads “everyone grabbed the mine”, in the sense that all of them were trying to get some credit or pull some political profit off the rescue, though none of them were really involved.

    The pun actually plays a bit with the Chilean naughty slang -as usual in The Clinic, since “mina” also means hot girl, and “agarrar” is slang for sex foreplay…Yeah, you got it: the hidden title would be “they got laid with the hottie”, and that’s what’s comes up to chileans’ minds first when reading it.

    Not sure how a title like that would work out overseas, but in Chile it’s kinda surfing on the edge of what’s politically correct, which makes it even more funny.

    BTW, I’m Chilean, and like to read blogs of expats about my country, specially the worst opinions. In fact, I was lucky enough to find one from some american girl, some days before my first trip to the States. She was deeply upset about chilean guys catcalling and staring at her on the streets, which is flattering for latina girls, but I was unaware of how nasty and rude it is at the other hemisphere. Thanks for the tip, angry lady!

    Great blog, Congratulations!

  29. Thanks Engineer! And yes, as you point out, any time there’s an intercultural interchange, both sides have the opportunity to learn about their own cultures as well. I’ve often thought that we learn as much–if not more–about our own cultures when we travel because it makes us look at things in a different light (ie catcalls for a Latino heading to the US) and for expats–it’s a learning experience that goes on forever.
    Glad you enjoyed the blog and looking forward to reading more of your comments!

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