Wednesday, March 02, 2005

As John Hooper pointed out in The New Spaniards, although the Spanish don't regard themselves as racist, they certainly are. This is because they’re currently stuck in what we might call Phase 1 of Race Relations. This is when you believe that, just because you didn’t really mean to upset anyone, no words you used could possibly have caused annoyance. Phase 2 is when you accept that certain words are loaded and don’t use them. This is Spain’s next phase and it is anyone’s guess when it will be reached. At the moment, most everyone here still thinks like the Spanish national soccer coach who’s just been fined for insulting a black Arsenal player; he is furious at what others consider a paltry fine from the Spanish authorities, on the grounds that he is ‘certainly not a racist and never intended to hurt anyone’. Phase 3, of course, is when you use objectively innocuous words and someone decides that he or she is nonetheless upset and so you are guilty of a crime. The UK appears to have arrived at this point and one must hope that Spain never does. If I still lived in England, it could well have been an offence for me to have written this.

Spain is experiencing its 4th ‘wave of cold’ of this extraordinary winter. It’s quite something to see pictures of the Lions’ courtyard of the Alhambra in Grenada cloaked in snow. Actually, that’s probably not unusual. But snow in Valencia almost certainly is.

I never did receive a reply from the Director of the Rias Baixas Tourist Board to my letter offering my [free] services to his organisation. So I am composing a sarcastic sequel. But, in truth, one is wasting one’s time expecting a reply to letters in this predominantly oral society. The only way to be sure of any sort of response to your initiative is to send your letter Recorded Delivery. In this way, you at least get a receipt from the Post Office clerk. In my case, I didn’t even get this as I hand delivered my offer.

Quote of the Day

The world is divided into three sorts of people: those who can add up and those who can’t.
Some bloody wag.

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