I just got another of a series of phone calls from 1-555-000-9561, some telemarketing recording in Spanish. I searched for it because I get this once a month or so, and I was curious how they manage to look like they're dialing from "555" when that's not a real area code.
Anyway, I found this web site (800Notes.com) that collects reports of weird telemarketing calls, and lots of people have been getting this. The amusing thing to me was how many people, maybe 1 in 20, were just especially enraged about the fact that it was in Spanish:
AT WORK - MY PRIVATE CELL PHONE RINGS AND THIS MEXICAN JUST STARTS RUNNING HIS MOUTH - I HUNG UP --- IF YOU CAN'T SPEAK ENGLISH - GO BACK HOME ---- I PAY AMERICAN DOLLARS FOR MY CELL PHONE, SOMEONE NEEDS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS CRAP -- SORRY -- JUST AGGRIVATED.12:05 PM.
I'm fascinated by this hugely different attitude people have towards variety in the world. The people who react this way seem to be irritated by seeing anything different from what they're used to. Do they think it will hurt them somehow to hear it? As for me, I think my irritation with a telemarketing call would be inversely proportional to how exotic the language was. If someone called me up and tried to sell me timeshares in Ainu or Quechua, I'd probably at least opt to attend the obligation-free seminar in Aspen.
I guess change irritates me, too, with certain things -- I hate the way menus in Microsoft Word change themselves around trying to adapt to my use patterns, making it hard for me to find things. So, I can be a xenophobe too. I wonder what determines when we prefer variety and when we prefer homogeneity?