Of halters, esmirriaus and hake: basic insult meter of the adventures of Mortadelo and Filemón

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The Royal Spanish Academy of Language never offered a chair to Francisco Ibanezalthough few authors like the father of Mortadelo and Filemon they have done more – and for a longer time – to popularize obsolete words and reincorporate them into the language of the street through the tasty sandwiches of their comics. Above all, nouns and adjectives related to the animal kingdom, which by the hand of the genius of the cartoon became celebrated insults with which to avoid Franco’s censorship (first), distance themselves from cultural homogenization (later) and pass the filter of the blissful political correctness (finally). Suffice it to remember the dust that the journalist raised Carlos Herrera in his radio program in March of last year when it occurred to him to brand hake to the Chilean president Gabriel Boric after his inauguration…

“What is the secret to the success of Mortadelo y Filemón?”, they ask Albert Monteys and Manel Fontdevila on one of the pages of the compilation For you who were young (Astiberri). Language is one of the keys mentioned by the couple. “That I fall apart is only said by children raised on the basis of a lot of Mortadelo,” they admit. These are just some of the terms that Ibáñez contributed to disseminate as substitutes for other rude or hurtful words. Continuing to wear them is another way to pay tribute to him.

A de Andoba. A of Acémila. A for Acorn Animal. A from Alfeñique. A for Anthropoid. The first letter of the alphabet already demonstrates the richness and expressive power of the relationship between the TIA’s secret agents, always at odds with each other and victims, in turn, of the disqualifications of the Super or Ofelia.

B of Batracio. B for Berzotas. B for Bellaco. B for Burricie. The image of a donkey with a straw hat and the corresponding sack of alfalfa under its snout was a classic in the balloons that Ibáñez used for decades as a substitute for insults, in which they lived with not-too-clean toilets, bombs about to explode and bold Chinese characters.

C by Cabestro. C for Kestrel. C for Bald Calamity. C for Catastrophe with glasses. C for “Run, boss, run!” C for Nuclear pig. The C was one of the letters that he used the most to give titles to the adventures of his most famous characters: Space cocoa, antibirria clinics, against the Chicharrón gang…

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