Connect with us


Dispelling the myth of the nanny as homewrecker: Shakira rescues the one Gerardo Piqué fired | Culture

Shakira continues to assert her essential mantra that “women don’t cry, women invoice.” She recently released El jefe, her new song with the American group Fuerza Regida. In this song —which could be categorized as a protest song— the Colombian singer advocates for the labor rights of the most vulnerable workers. Her lyrics address the plight of these workers, many of whom are Latin American immigrants who have had to endure abusive working conditions at the hands of ruthless and greedy employers. Awaiting her trial in Spain for alleged tax fraud of €14.5 million ($15,440,180), in another unexpected turn of events, the artist sings: “I have a shitty boss who doesn’t pay me well. I arrive walking and he arrives in a Mercedes Benz. He’s got me like a recruit. The son of a bitch, yeah.”

In her proletarian anthem, Shakira dedicates a special place to Lili Melgar, the nanny of her children, Sasha and Milan. Melgar was also the person who allegedly informed the singer that someone in her house was eating the jam that no one liked. “Lili Melgar, this song is for you, because they didn’t give you severance pay,” the singer says in the video as she looks at the camera and links to a close-up of Melgar. The singer is referring to Piqué’s sudden dismissal of the caregiver when he learned that she was his ex-partner’s ally and confidant. That’s a flash of sisterhood from the ordeal of Shakira and Piqué’s separation, in which some misogynistic prejudices that we thought had already been transcended reappeared, like blaming the footballer’s new partner, Clara Chía, for the situation and publicly humiliating her by calling her Twingo.

Through Melgar’s cameo in El Jefe, Shakira pays tribute to the relationship between the two women and highlights the work of caregivers, which allow millions of people to continue their professional careers while someone else raises and cares for the most important thing in their lives: their children. Although Piqué allegedly fired the Bolivian nanny, months later Shakira hired her to take care of the children again, this time in Miami, her new place of residence. On X (formerly Twitter), Melgar’s own daughter confirmed that her mother is still the Colombian singer’s right-hand woman. “Despite everything, she continues to work with SHAKIRA. I LOVE YOU MOM,” Dariana Melgar wrote on X. Other users have shared recent photos in which Shakira’s sons Sasha and Milan are outside Spain, accompanied by their mother and Lily Melgar. Shakira has reportedly granted Melgar the copyright for her participation in the video, and there has been speculation that the singer may have paid her a large amount of money for inspiring the song.

The decline of the homewrecking nanny

Nannies have always played a special role in the lives of celebrities. These women live in the bosom of the families and are deeply involved in their private matters. They are the same women today’s big influencers tend to render invisible, as if children were raised by magic. In reality, nannies are critical figures in the celebrities’ lives. It is rare for nannies to receive positive press, although it does happen. For example, Enrique Iglesias said that he thought of his nanny like a mother and trusted her more than his own parents; she was the one who financed the recording of his first album. But for the most part, nannies have been portrayed as responsible for breaking up marriages and seeking fame and fortune through questionable methods.

While these workers were sustaining the capitalist system, the press was running stories like actor Ethan Hawke’s: while still married to Uma Thurman, he fell in love with Ryan Shawhughes, the nanny of his two children; he married her in 2008. Sienna Miller found out that Jude Law was having an affair with the nanny from one of his children. “I was in so much shock over it all. And I’d really just begun. I was only 23. But if you get through that, you feel like you can get through anything… It was really hard. I look back on it and wonder how I did get through it—but I did,” Miller explained years later of her separation from Law because of that infidelity. Now living on a farm with her husband and children, Rebecca Loos made headlines in the English tabloids and Spanish press for her alleged relationship with David Beckham. The family had hired Loos as a personal assistant to help them navigate their new life in Madrid. Princess Diana was blackmailed over then-Prince Charles’s infidelities with their children’s nanny. Eventually, the BBC was ordered to pay compensation in the amount of €2.35 billion ($2,501,575) for “totally unfounded” assertions that had “serious personal consequences” for Alexandria Pettifer, Princes William and Harry’s nanny. Whether true or false, all these cases of nannies allegedly tearing famous families apart created a great deal of distrust toward them in popular culture.

But it is not only popular culture that has denigrated this profession. For example, domestic workers in Spain did not have the same labor rights as other employees until 2022, when legislation granted them the right to unemployment benefits and protections against dismissal. Spain’s second vice president and minister of labor at the time, Yolanda Díaz, stated that the feminist decree made Spain “a better country [by] focusing on those who have been the most forgotten, the most vulnerable working women.” She added that domestic workers have unique characteristics: over a third of these women are over 55 years old, 44% are foreigners, and over half of them work on a part-time basis. The 2022 law stops treating them as if they were invisible; Shakira’s music portrays them as allies who do essential work, not threats. The popular image of the homewrecking nanny has finally begun to crumble.

Lili Melgar
Lili Melgar, the nanny of Shakira and Piqué’s children, in ‘El Jefe’ video.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more English-language news coverage from EL PAÍS USA Edition

Source link


Welcome back, Samuel Beckett | Culture

The 20th century brought us Stalin, Mao, two world wars, the Holocaust, atomic bombs and a couple more carnages that I would rather not recall. Several million people died as a result, according to the most conservative calculations. Logically, the soul of Europeans was shaken, and it is admirable that we have survived as a species. A Martian would have expected us to commit suicide once and for all with a big nuclear bash.

The battered world conscience led to several new outcomes in terms of human representation. Living with the constant threat of extinction affected artists, who are the ones that truly represent us and not politicians. So the artists began to represent us as they saw us: strange, deformed, shapeless, anomalous, invisible, crippled, stuttering, or simply mute.

We have been more temperate for several years now, and it seems that we are now able to analyze that past, which was called “the avant-garde,” with some calm. Not everywhere, of course, but it is possible in a West that is fading, but which is no longer massacring its slaves. And the effect that this awareness of destruction had on literature was the emergence of a group of immense writers who could no longer represent humans in a luminous and heroic way, so to speak. However, it would be a very bad idea to leave them for dead. Joyce, Proust, Kafka, Faulkner, Bernhard, Manganelli, Benet, Rulfo — throughout the West, a literature took shape during the 20th century in which only the bare form remained with a capacity to simply be. And one of its main writers was Samuel Beckett.

It is a source of joy that this difficult, harsh, dark, but wise literature’s ability to fascinate, moralize and illuminate us has not run dry. And reading these artists is a very convenient way to understand that everything could go dark at any moment. I am currently celebrating the release of a new Spanish translation of Watt, Beckett’s last novel in English, by an affordable publishing house that can reach many students (Cátedra).

The story behind this novel is another novel in itself, well told by the translator José Francisco Fernández in his extensive foreword to the new Spanish version. Beckett wrote it while fleeing from one hideout to another as a member of the Resistance, pursued by the Nazis who were occupying France. In those absurd conditions, Beckett carried his notebooks, in which he was writing and annotating what would finally become the novel Watt, which is the name of the main character, who is as non-existent as Godot, the most famous of Beckett’s characters. Watt has a partner, Mr. Knott, whom he serves in a parody of the old novels of masters and servants that have been immortalized thanks to television series like Upstairs, Downstairs.

Rejected by the publishing world

Although he finished it in 1945, Watt was not published until 1953 after being rejected by almost all English and American publishers, who were very reluctant to recognize that this convulsive and sarcastic prose was a faithful portrait of 20th-century civilization. And once it was published it barely made an impact. It was not until 1968 (what a year!), when it was published in French by the Minuit publishing house, in the author’s version and with the help of the Janvier couple, that enthusiasm for the novel would begin to get some traction. The French powers-that-be recognized themselves in the portrait of the warped, disintegrated human race, described with a lacerating irony that the Irishman created out of nothing.

There were other effects that fascinated those who dominated literary opinion at the time. One of them was the obvious caricature of Descartes, a philosopher whom Beckett always counted among his favorites, and the reference to whom was immediately picked up by the masters of structuralism and deconstruction.

Welcome back, then, to our Beckett, a precise portraitist of terrifying years that could return at any moment.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more English-language news coverage from EL PAÍS USA Edition

Source link

Continue Reading


The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction

A faded felt bicorne hat worn by Napoleon Bonaparte sold for $2.1 million at an auction on of the French emperor’s belongings.

Yes, that’s $2.1 million!!

The signature broad, black hat, one of a handful still in existence that Napoleon wore when he ruled 19th-century France and waged war in Europe, was initially valued at 600,000 to 800,000 euros ($650,000-870,000). It was the centerpiece of Sunday’s auction collected by a French industrialist who died last year.

The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction

But the bidding quickly jumped higher and higher until Jean Pierre Osenat, president of the Osenat auction house, designated the winner.

‘’We are at 1.5 million (Euros) for Napoleon’s hat … for this major symbol of the Napoleonic epoch,” he said, as applause rang out in the auction hall. The buyer, whose identity was not released, must pay 28.8% in commissions according to Osenat, bringing the overall cost to 1.9 million euros ($2.1 million).

While other officers customarily wore their bicorne hats with the wings facing front to back, Napoleon wore his with the ends pointing toward his shoulders. The style, known as “en bataille,” or in battle, made it easier for his troops to spot their leader in combat.

The hat on sale was first recovered by Col. Pierre Baillon, a quartermaster under Napoleon, according to the auctioneers. The hat then passed through many hands before industrialist Jean-Louis Noisiez acquired it.

The entrepreneur spent more than a half-century assembling his collection of Napoleonic memorabilia, firearms, swords and coins before his death in 2022.

The sale came days before the release of Ridley Scott’s film Napoleon with Joaquin Phoenix, which is rekindling interest in the controversial French ruler.

Continue Reading


The Call for AI Regulation in Creative Industries

THE VOICE OF EU | Widespread concerns have surged among artists and creatives in various domains – country singers, authors, television showrunners, and musicians – voicing apprehension about the disruptive impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on their professions.

These worries have prompted an urgent plea to the U.S. government for regulatory action to protect their livelihoods from the encroaching threat posed by AI technology.

The Artists’ Plea

A notable rise in appeals to regulate AI has emerged, drawing attention to the potential risks AI poses to creative industries.

Thousands of letters, including those from renowned personalities like Justine Bateman and Lilla Zuckerman, underscore the peril AI models represent to the traditional structure of entertainment businesses.

The alarm extends to the music industry, expressed by acclaimed songwriter Marc Beeson, highlighting AI’s potential to both enhance and jeopardize an essential facet of American artistry.

The Call for AI Regulation in Creative Industries

Copyright Infringement Concerns

The primary contention arises from the unsanctioned use of copyrighted human works as fodder to train AI systems. The concerns about AI ingesting content from the internet without permission or compensation have sparked significant distress among artists and their representative entities.

While copyright laws explicitly protect works of human authorship, the influx of AI-generated content questions the boundaries of human contribution and authorship in an AI-influenced creative process.

The Fair Use Debate

Leading technology entities like Google, Microsoft, and Meta Platforms argue that their utilization of copyrighted materials in AI training aligns with the “fair use” doctrine—a limited use of copyrighted material for transformative purposes.

They claim that AI training isn’t aimed at reproducing individual works but rather discerning patterns across a vast corpus of content, citing precedents like Google’s legal victories in the digitization of books.

The Conflict and Seeking Resolution

Despite court rulings favoring tech companies in interpreting copyright laws regarding AI, voices like Heidi Bond, a former law professor and author, critique this comparison, emphasizing that AI developers often obtain content through unauthorized means.

Shira Perlmutter, the U.S. Register of Copyrights, acknowledges the Copyright Office’s pivotal role in navigating this complex landscape and determining the legitimacy of the fair use defense in the AI context.

The Road Ahead

The outpouring of concern from creative professionals and industry stakeholders emphasizes the urgency for regulatory frameworks to safeguard creative works while acknowledging the evolving role of AI in content creation.

The Copyright Office’s meticulous review of over 9,700 public comments seeks to strike a balance between innovation and the protection of creative rights in an AI-driven era. As the discussion continues, the convergence of legal precedents and ethical considerations remains a focal point for shaping the future landscape of AI in creative industries.

Thank You For Your Support!

— By Darren Wilson, Team

— For more information & news submissions:

— Anonymous news submissions:

Continue Reading


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!