Just a few days after Spain’s annual celebration of its connection to the international Spanish-speaking community, Mario Vargas Llosa published his thoughts about “hispanidad”. In general terms, he presents himself as a defender of both the word and the concept. While recognizing some of the prices that were paid for Spanish colonialism in the Americas, he points to the region’s cultural connections to the western tradition, all of the way back to classic Rome and Greece. He also mentions, more than once, the power and importance of the language. For some Spanish speakers, the word “hispanidad” evokes pride. For others, it is a reminder of a colonial past. This dichotomy feels simplified and false to me, but nevertheless it felt worthwhile to share this opinion piece. Not least because it was written by Vargas Llosa, but also because it was written well. It isn’t clear to me that the good mentioned by Vargas Llosa outweighs the costs, but I’m also not sure that this is the correct question to be asked. Spain’s colonial legacy in the Americas is one that all Spanish speakers must incorporate into our lives. To see it as simply a point of pride or a reason for anger is a way of avoiding the reality in its entirety. Whatever your feelings about “hispanidad,” reading Vargas Llosa’s writing can be fun. At the very least the experience reminded me of an observation made by a friend; one that once it was said to me I’ve never been able to unsee: Vargas Llosa is a great writer, no doubt. However, his books lack humor. It’s almost as if his words are proof that he’s a man who missed something beautiful in life. Ouch. Read it yourself to see if you agree.