The Cultural Differences Of Free Newspapers

Photo by Vlada Karpovich at

I don’t have anything to write. So I am going to talk about the free newspaper I picked up from the grocery stores today. Since I’ve been learning a bit of Spanish, I also picked up free Spanish newspapers like “El Especialito” and “Latinos Unidos”, which are usually piled next to the entrance area of the store.

It is impossible not to notice the cultural differences demonstrated in these free newspapers, although I have to say not all the differences can be attributed to the differences in cultures. Some are due to the volume of circulation. For example, there are much more Hispanic than Asians in the greater New York area (New Jersey included). On top of that, Asians are scattered into many different languages, which makes the circulation of each newspaper of each language quite small in comparison.

Still, the cultural differences are quite obvious:

The Front Page

Usually the front pages of “El Especialito” are always an actress or a female singer, which makes me feel that it is quite unfair to actors or male singers. Why can’t they make the front pages?

Color Pages

All the pictures are colored and at least three or four pages are full page pictures. I guess they have the high circulation volume and don’t mind to print more expensive color pages.

Car Dealers

There are huge car dealer advertisements in Spanish newspapers, which you will never see in any of the Asian newspapers, for the simple reason that car dealers dislike Asians very much and will never advertise on Asian newspapers at all. Even the Asian car salesmen dislike their Asian clients, let alone car salesmen of other ethnicity. The reason is that we Asians like to negotiate the price. We go to every car dealer in the area to negotiate and compare the price before we make the purchase. Actually rumor has it that there was a couple who had gone to 100 dealerships in NJ, PA, and New York City before they bought their Toyota Camry. This is probably an exaggeration, but it has a little bit of truth in it.

Cemetery & Mausoleum

Occasionally there can be a full page advertisement for cemetery and mausoleum in the Spanish newspapers. Every time I see them, I feel a little … I don’t know how to describe it. Probably I can say it piques my interest since you will not see this in Asian newspapers. I have to say Latinos’ relaxed attitude towards death, funeral, cemetery is quite refreshing since death is part of life too, right?

However in many Asian cultures, death belongs to a specific area of taboo and ritual, that can only be talked about and handled in a particular way. An advertisement for funeral home or cemetery is just not going to be accepted by the superstitious public.

The death ritual can be manifested in different ways in different places. For example, Japanese people don’t want to see dead people in their own buildings. If somebody dies in a building, the body cannot be carried out in the regular elevator since it is considered very unlucky for those people who ride the elevator every day. For hotels, there are separate service elevators, and the transportation of the dead bodies will not pose a problem. However for regular residential buildings, there are no separate service elevators available. It ends up that funeral homes have to hire people who can go up and carry the body down through the stairs during the early morning hours or late at night. And it is no surprise that usually it is an immigrant who would be hired to do such a job since no Japanese will do it.

24 thoughts on “The Cultural Differences Of Free Newspapers

    1. Yes, I think so too. I mean they don’t care what female readers want to see although female readers probably make up a higher percentage of readership. I know that 70% of the books are read by female readers. Don’t know if it is true for magazines or newspapers.

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        1. Yes, I think it is because female readers are more familiar with the male style of thinking and will not stop reading even if the book is unfriendly to women. Philip Roth is such a prominent example. His narcissistic attitudes toward women has never caused him to lose female fans, some of whom are well know female authors who would publicly defend him and find excuses for his narcissism. I just can’t believe it but it is what has happened. LOL. Life is more ridiculous than we thought.

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        2. I actually read a fascinating article about that. Basically, it was about how male stuff is targeted to be enjoyed by everyone but female stuff is so niche and only targeted towards women. I heard the largest group of people who are Philip Roth readers are women. It’s a sad irony.

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        3. I think it is a macho kind of thing. A little boy is taught not to read books from female authors since it is not manly enough. Actually it is not only about female authors, but rather all the authors, male or female, who write about family issues, are being ridiculed. There was a classical literature called “Dream Of Red Chamber” which is about stories of a rich merchant’s family. All family issues. I have heard from many of my male friends, throughout the years, that they dislike the book even if none of them has ever read the book or read beyond the beginning chapters.

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        4. True, it’s also like you said earlier with the humour. Many men hate female comedians even when they haven’t actually heard anything by them. Did you see the way men reacted to Chelsea Handler joking about how happy she is being unmarried and childfree? It was so funny to see grown men throw tantrums because this one woman has decided to live her own life as she wants to.

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        5. I should watch it and I will definitely watch it. And it doesn’t surprise me at all. Women everywhere struggle so hard just to get a bit of autonomy on their own aspiration, career, preference, or choice. The community I live in do not think women should be allowed such freedom. Not only men who oppose it, but also women oppose it too even if this give women more freedom–I mean relative freedom. There are a long way to go…

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        6. Yes, sometimes women are the loudest voice opposing women having more rights. It’s so ironic and I can’t believe they don’t realise that they’re literally fighting against their own gains.

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        7. I don’t know why this is the case but I have certainly observed this. Probably because many women were brought up in a negative environment, which instills negativity into them. And they in turn become negative towards everybody. Since they can’t be too negative against men or the system itself, they end up unleashing their negativity towards other women.

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        8. So true. I guess it is because women have to compete for very few worthy positions in the society that are available to them and women have to fight very hard. Along the way, women become more negative and more aggressive towards other women, just for the purpose of preserving their hard-won social status.

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        9. Yes, women’s life and women’s work are not too much different from the stone age. For example, raising children, cooking, and other methods of nurturing a family. Men’s life and men’s work are vastly advanced since none of them have to hunt for a living anymore. And the social structures are so rigid that often women can’t find alternatives and are stuck and have to fight for very limited opportunities with other women. It ‘s the same as poor people fighting poor people for scantily available chances.

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        10. Yes, so true, so true. Even right now, when kindergarten is so expensive, those engineers still don’t make childcare robots to help provide certain amount of care to alleviate women’s workload. It’s women’s job…

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        11. Absolutely. People want flying cars but not bots that can help with housework and childrearing since it’s seen as ‘unnatural’ and a woman’s job.


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