Everybody say “queso”

International tourists are common near my office. This afternoon I was passing a group Spanish-speaking tourists taking a group photo. The woman holding the camera intoned “Uno, dos, tres … queso!” Now, I always thought the tradition of saying “cheeeeeese” while one’s picture is being taken stems from the approximation of a smile one’s mouth forms when making the “ee” sound. But could it be that cheese is simply a cross-cultural symbol of happiness? Or was the woman making an ironic cultural reference? Or is saying “cheese” for a picture something spanish-speakers have adopted from English in contradiction with the original motivation? Any of those explanations is kind of hilarious.

  1. #1 written by Genug May 13th, 2009 at 22:55

    My guess is that it started as #2 and then eventually lost the irony through repetition and is now simply #3 for most people. But you kind of smile to say queso…

    RE Q

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