Saturday, September 15, 2007

Some Saturday queries:-


Does the behaviour of the Formula 1 drivers Alonso and de la Rosa fall within the definition of picaresca? I imagine not.


Ditto the falsification of medical certificates for the obtaining of driving and shotgun[!] licences by a group of Pontevedrans which included a teacher and a psychologist?


And the involvement of 5 members of the Vigo Guardia Civil [national police] in cigarette smuggling?


Have I been too generous in my praise of Spain’s heavy newspapers and in my insistence that there’s no tabloid press here? If not, why has El Pais today printed a ludicrous letter from someone who implies the ‘English’ [meaning speakers of English such as Brits, Americans, Australians, etc.] are pathetic, ignorant, arrogant, cold, unfeeling, whatever because some of them couldn’t converse with a group of Spanish, Portuguese and French who were looking for a lost child on a beach and who - we’re expected to believe - could all understand each other perfectly because their languages have the same roots. Just like the Germans and the Dutch, presumably.


Is it true most Spaniards think the only time the British take any interest in their children is when they're checking to see whether they’re cooked enough to eat?


Would many people be attending Mass in Spain if every priest here were removed – like one in next-door Asturias – for fathering a child and, thus, proving he was not ‘obeying the rule of celibacy’?


Are the Portuguese police who are quoted today as saying there’s no direct evidence that Madeleine McCann is dead the same ones who yesterday were saying she might be buried below a new road, or under the local church; or was killed in the adjacent room to her parents; or thrown in a weighted sack off a yacht belonging to a friend of the McCanns?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Que uns pais maten a sua filla e monten un chiringuito mediatico-politico-financieiro como cortina de fume, estou seguro de que eso si non e picaresca.
Mais ben tratase de a reposta axeitada e flematica dunha civilizacion superior, dunha cultura amable, tranquila e nada, nada ruidosa.
Que unha escuderia inglesa de F-1 vexase envolta nun escandalo increible de corrupcion e espionaxe tampouco e picaresca, tratase duns emilios do piloto español (como esta o servicio meus Deus).

A vida e o seu devalar, mentras os mortos agardan, colin disparando os medios, en fin nada novo.

X M Carreira said...

In this case, the corruption is in McLaren. Alonso did his job and that's all. The rest are bullshits created by the British media.

Well, Colin, both chauvinism and looking down at South Europeans can be found in many features of the British culture (i.e. in the McLaren & McCann affairs). I still remember when a British civil servant said to one of my Portuguese friends: is Portugal a member of EU?

No culture is perfect, all of them show different pros and cons. Certainly, we Galicians have a lot of terrible defects that are easy to point out.

Kind regards, man.

Anonymous said...

"Does the behaviour of the Formula 1 drivers Alonso and de la Rosa fall within the definition of picaresca? I imagine not."

Last time I checked they were passing info to the engineers at McLaren, which at the time of writing this was still a British team.

What's Engish for "picaresca"?

Colin said...

I gave the translation in my previous blog.

Yes, of course McClaren were adjudged guilty but it all happened because of Alonso threatening Denis that he'd spill the beans unless he got the treatment he felt he deserved/had been promised. Very honourable. Not what I'd call 'only doing his job'. I recently defended him against the accusation of being a 'jerk', which now seems premature.

And, as you surely know, the drivers were given immunity ahead of testifying.

Colin said...

XMC,

When it comes to looking down on the Portuguese, I suspect you'd find they regard the world champions as their southern European neighbours, the Spanish. Possibly even the Galicians, who themselves had hundreds of years of being looked down on by their Spanish compatriots. That's how these things happen.

moskva9 said...

Colin,
As much as I admire the effort that goes into writing a daily blog, and I do believe that you do try to remain impartial, I sense some emotional strain - god forbid- "shining through" your comments. It's never meant to have been easy to live in a foreign country, perticularly when most people around do not share what you may perceive is the received common wisdom. Please, don't let this Madeleine thing get to you. The Spanish take on this issue will no doubt remain different to yours. If you were able to follow the German press, of which you would presumably expect a more neutral stance on this case, you would be able to sense that the tide has turned against the McCanns accross Europe. The British tabloid press has a .... er....bad press in Europe, and their support (and that of the broadsheeds unable to withstand the tabloid pressure) for the McCanns has possibly worked out in detriment of their cause. You frequently write you hope your afinity for Spain shines through - beneath the heavy lard of sarcasm. I am sorry, but it seems to me what often "shines through" is a form of mild contempt for the society you live in. Nothing wrong with that, this is YOUR blog, your views. Much of your criticism is just, and it would be salutary for Spaniards to take it into account. My own view is inevitably subjective, but are you being fair by portraying the Portuguese police as a bunch Faulty-tower-manuels? Are they much worse than the British cops who shot down Menezes? Politically biased the El Pais surely may be, but I could not imagine a paper further removed from tabloidism than El Pais. I have read the article that you mentioned in another blog, and call me cynical, but nothing in it surprises me. 10 years in the UK, have taught me the British are no different to other nations when it comes to fairness and honesty. Much as emotions tend to be hidden under layers of pretend stiff-upper-lipness, they are there, lurking beneath the surface. I realise, nothing of what I write will change the way you think, a bit too late for that I'm afraid. But this time I felt I had to voice my objection. And yes, despite the fact that he is a bit of a twit, I want Alonso to win, and Hamilton to loose.

Colin said...

Moskva9,

Many thanks for taking the trouble to write at length.

I'm sure you're right in saying I display a mild contempt at times. But I don't [dis]favour Spain in this regard; this is my default mode for everywhere, including - as my blog reveals - Britain. And, of course, it would be true to say there is something contemptible about every society, culture, race, nation, etc, etc. Even if it's 'bad manners' to say so.

As you say, this is a personal blog. No one is compelled to read it and I don't get a bean for my views, positive or negative. I guess I'm motivated by the number of readers and, if this fell to zero, I'd just stop and move on to something else, though without changing my views on anything.

I'm also sure you're right that the press across Europe/the world has turned against the McCanns but this doesn't make it right for so many people to air their judgemental views on such a complex case which involves parents who've lost a child they had to to through IVF to get. Of course, as was obvious from the start, the MCanns invited this turn of events by initiating their media campaign but I have always taken the view that it was wrong for anyone who had not lost a child to criticise this as we have no idea how we would react if it happened to us. Hopefully, the truth will come out, though I rather doubt it if they never find a body. Meanwhile, I'm just as contemptible about what is said/written in the UK as in Portugal or Spain. This is not an anti-Portuguese/Spanish issue. Nor one of 'looking down' on southern European people, as MXC has suggested.

As for the Portuguese police, I have refrained from making any comment on their [many] reported deficiencies. And yesterday I only asked [implicitly] why they were issuing conflicting statements around this emotionally charged case and leaking copies of Mrs McCann's diary to the press. Ironically, news today about a change in Portuguese laws around police secrecy MAY give us a chance to know whether the allegations of incompetence are true or not. As I've said, not all of these have come from the British press.

No, the Portuguese police are not worse than the British in shooting Menendes but I don't really think this is relevant, I abhor what the British police did in that case and, if I were a Spaniard living in the UK writing a blog, I guess I'd go to town on it - hoping that no Brits in Spain would say that I had no right to comment as 5 Guardia Civil members had just beaten to death a gypsy in Andalucia. Or two policewomen in Barcelona had been caught on camera beating and humiliating a Rumanian woman they'd just arrested. Issues are issues and should be discussed/commented on in an absolute, not relative, light.

And yes, you are right too that El Pais [much praised by me] is far removed from tabloidism. Which is why I asked why on earth they felt it necessary to print a letter the sole purpose of which was to be anti-'English', whilst making the ridiculous point that the French, Portuguese and Spanish could all understand each other completely. This sort of xenophobic thing happens, of course, in the UK media but always in the tabloid press, which you correctly say is [justifiably ] despised around the world. Nowhere more so than in my blog. En passant and ironically, the French for 'child' is closer to the English 'infant' than either 'niño' or 'chico'.

And, yes, you are right too that the UK has its fair share of dishonest people. Look at the prison population! And maybe standards have fallen but, when I was young, it was not uncommon for people to 'own up', as in fact an admirable Spanish lady did recently when she ran into the back of the parked car of some visitors of mine and left a note on the windscreen. The very opposite of picaresca. But maybe I have a rosy-eyed view of a previous era. Though I can say with conviction that the concept of 'fairness' was driven into us then, if not now.

Finally, I myself don't care a jot whether Alonso or Hamilton wins, as long as the championship goes to the [objectively] best driver. This may be a good example of old-fashioned British fairness. But one thing you can be sure of is that, if Hamilton wins, Alonso will say the mechanics disfadvantaged him because he set the industrial espionage ball rolling and cost McLaren 50 million quid. And he may well be right. So, let's hope Alonso wins and we can be saved more of this nonsense, even if it is vital to maintain public interest in a sport which is as intrinsically riveting as watching grass row.

Well, this is not how I planned to spend my Sunday morning but my thanks again for posting your comments. And for giving me the chance to expatiate on the issues. I appreciate that I may well come across as being defensive but I am relaxed about that.

And keep reading!

Cheers.

Colin said...

"I'm just as contemptible about what is said/written in the UK as in Portugal or Spain. "

I meant 'contemptuous of', of course.

Anonymous said...

"[...] no right to comment as 5 Guardia Civil members had just beaten to death a gypsy in Andalucia. Or two policewomen in Barcelona had been caught on camera beating and humiliating a Rumanian woman they'd just arrested."

Let's turn on the fan and throw some shit. Well done.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, of course McClaren were adjudged guilty but it all happened because of Alonso threatening Denis that he'd spill the beans unless he got the treatment he felt he deserved/had been promised. Very honourable. Not what I'd call 'only doing his job'. I recently defended him against the accusation of being a 'jerk', which now seems premature."

And wasn't Mike Coughlan the man who was receiving the info from Nigel Stepney?