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The real story of the Spanish transport mascot La Bussi

La Bussy

Image: Arianna Lara Carrillo

A week ago there was a new bus mascot gladly introduced himself world in Sabadell, a city outside of Barcelona in Spain. For some, it was large, unique and colorful, with a certain je ne sais quoi. I, like many others, thought it looked like Pixar’s Baymax in Spanish style. Others were stunned by the talisman and even called it a nightmare.

In the end, I’m sure that Sabadell new bus mascot would made a splash on the social media anyway. However, he produced an absolute tidal wave due to his name: “Bussy”. As someone who is always one of the last to learn the latest slang, I did not attach much importance to this. I thought it was just a funny name. However, my brain exploded when my editor tsked tsked and gave me the definition of a similarly spelled word from Modern dictionary. I will leave you to watch it.

The coincidence caused delight, a lot of laughter, confusion and assurances of allegiance to Bussy (mascot) from many members of the LGBT community on Twitter, and now I understand why.

Screenshot of a Buzzfeed article calling for Bussi "new gay icon."

However, as a bilingual Spanish speaker living in Spain, I can guarantee you that “Bussy”, the name of the city’s new bus mascot, absolutely not associated with its English spelling. It just doesn’t mean the same here.

In fact, the name Bussi means something completely different. As Agusti Hurtado, director Illa Escola d’Art i Disseny, a school of arts and design in Sabadell, told me in a phone interview on Friday that the mascot’s name is a combination of the words “bus”, which have the same meaning in Spanish and English, and the word “si”, which means “yes” in Spanish. In other words, Bussi, which is not a real word in Spanish or Catalanalso spoken in Sabadell, means yes to the bus.

Why? Because the whole idea of ​​Bussi is to promote the use of public transport, especially buses, among children in the city. The colorful lines on the mascot are actually the same colors as those on the maps showing the bus routes in Sabadell.

“Problem with the name? It completely eluded us, because, of course, the jargon, which is so specific to the United States, that it did not even cross our minds, ”Hurtado said in Spanish. “Though it’s pretty funny.

When asked to speak about Bussi and the reactions to his name, the local city government told Gizmodo that they would not comment on the controversy.

The real story of “La Bussi”

According to Hurtado, Bussi was the result of a competition organized by an art school and a local bus company. Transportation Urbans de Sabadellor TUS. The school has a long history of collaboration with TUS, he explained, and has in the past created exterior and interior signage for the company’s buses, bus card storage sleeves, and promotional catalogues.

Last school year, TUS representatives came to the school and said they needed a mascot for the activities they hosted for children to promote sustainable public transportation and civility, such as showing children to give up their seats to the elderly on the bus. Hurtado agreed, and the students set to work under the guidance of their professors.

Approximately 30 mascot proposals were submitted and evaluated by the jury. A jury selected a series of finalists, from which a design by student Arianna Lara Carrillo was selected as the winner. She and the other finalists received a small cash prize. Carrillo’s big prize was that her work was accepted by the company and used in the city.

“The news here shouldn’t be about whether a hater on Twitter likes the mascot or not. The news should be that we have a small city company that wants to partner with the school, with the students,” Hurtado told Gizmodo, referring to some of the backlash Bussi has received on Spanish social media. “On behalf of the company, this is a bold bet on young talent, on talent that is being trained.”

I had one more question for Hurtado, which, after the name of the mascot, seemed to be on everyone’s mind: what exactly was Bussy? interpretations had nothing to do with it. Some said he looked like Baymax, a cute and adorable robot, while others compared him to an evil clown like the one in it. Hurtado noticed that some even said that it was an alien, while others asked if it was an onion, a vegetable on the coat of arms of the city of Sabadell.

Image for article titled The 'La Bussi' talisman is promoting public transport, so get your mind out of the ditch

As it turns out, Bussi is neither one nor the other. Lara, the winner of the competition, was inspired by marine animals when she created the mascot. However, since she wanted to create a talisman with as few known connotations as possible, she decided to create something completely new: an imaginary animal.

“On the day of the presentation, the children all asked [Bussi], What about you? It was as if they were saying: “You are not a dog, you are not a dragon, you are not a cat, so who are you?” Hurtado recalled. “And then I told them: “Busy is what your imagination thinks.”

In fact, Hurtado said the kids loved Bussi and everyone wanted to play with him and take pictures with him. He also referred to a video on social media where a child appears to be running away from Bussy in fear. The child was not afraid, said Hurtado, he was playing with Bussi. Bussy just can’t run, which is to be expected in this suit.

Negative reactions in Spain

In the same way that Bussy covered English social media, he also made an impression on social media in Spain. Contrary to the reactions in English, which emphasized Bussy’s name, reactions in Spanish were focused on the appearance of the mascot, and some less than kind.

Diana Gomez, for example, is best known for playing the title character in a Spanish-language Netflix series. Valeria, tweeted in Catalan that she now felt a little doubtful, saying that she was registered as a resident of Sabadell. Others on social media say that Bussy is scary and resembles a fat beetle, according to a local publication. La Vanguard. Don’t worry, there is also bussi stans in spainincluding those who want the mascot to be on a key chain or as a plush toy.

People on social media have also pointed out that this is not the first time Sabadell has hit the headlines and is embarrassing, as some would say, though I disagree. Back in 2013, a group of Sabadell residents filmed a video of their version of South Korean artist Psy’s famous song “Gangnam Style” titled Compra en Sabadell or “Buy at Sabadell.” The video was naturally intended to encourage people to shop in the city, though apparently just managed to create embarrassment, rage and arguments.

As for Bussi, Hurtado said the school doesn’t like the criticism the mascot gets from haters, especially since art is subjective. He also stressed that the local city authorities had not paid anything. for Bussi, contrary to what some say on Spanish social media. The student received a small cash prize from the bus company. because her work was used, but that’s all.

“It’s true that when you launch something like this, it’s inevitable that the whole world has an opinion,” he said. “There have actually been some very funny reactions to the memes. From a humorous point of view, we can also laugh at these memes. But when it comes to hate comments, comments where people say “I like this” or “I don’t like this”, it’s subjective.”

Moral of the story: It’s okay to laugh, as long as it’s fun. However, we should always stop and, whenever possible, try to find more information about something before we go out and insult it or say we hate it. As we learned from this case, you never know who might be behind it.

And now for the pictures of Bussy, for which you all came here. Click and you will receive.

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