Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So, Act 4 of Spain’s national Comic opera has begun. Assailed by accusations of corruption but flushed with the success of the scalp of the Justice Minister, the Opposition Partido Popular announced yesterday they'd today officially accuse the prosecuting judge of perversion of the course of justice, if he didn’t remove himself from the case. And they may well have done so by the time you read this. This will run and run. To a full house.

And talking of madness, I don’t always agree with the writer and commentator, Will Self, but on the issue of the ghoulish media circus around the wedding and death of the ‘celebrity’ Jane Goody in the UK, I plead as guilty as him to the charge of being a hard-hearted cynic. You can read his trenchant views here.

Back in the little pool of Pontevedra, there were cars a-plenty without tickets in the little square today. But no sightings of any traffic cops. On the other hand, the old quarter of Pontevedra featured a feral pack of young Rumanian women with their clipboards and their monosyllabic demands for donations to some fictitious charity for the deaf and dumb. So, what on earth is the link between these? Well, it was a public holiday in Pontevedra today and the police had clearly taken time off from both persecuting motorists and arresting crooks. My initial thought was that crime must rise here on days like this but then I realised that Spanish criminals probably enjoy a good fiesta too. Though not their more industrious Rumanian colleagues, it would seem.

Which reminds me . . . At the head of the list of foreign nationals resident in Galicia I posted the other day were the Portuguese. At 19,000 as I recall. But, looking at the building site outside my house this morning, it dawned on me that the survey was probably done a year or more ago, when Galicia was full of construction workers from our southern neighbour. The real figure might be much lower now. Possibly around 19.

The Voz de Galicia this week gave this verdict on the campaign for the regional elections taking place next Sunday:- What we have is an empty campaign, devoid of ideas, devoid of proposals worth the name, devoid of debates but full of haphazard meetings. Which is like going to the bullring knowing that the bull’s horns have been trimmed. I wouldn’t disagree but, then, I don’t read all the guff so am probably not overly qualified to give an opinion. What I can do, however, is give you a picture of the poster for the PP candidate for President, looking as statesmanlike as he can. The other two will follow tomorrow. In line with my theory about the hankering for strong leaders, I can add that the theme next to the picture of the PSOE candidate – and current President – is:- Give him more power.

I give you Sr. Feijoo, of the Partido Popular . . .

Incidentally, consistent with my ad hominem theme, the PP is attacking the incumbent President for being responsible for Galicia’s economic plight. I suspect this is a mistake, given that most people here probably believe he’s been powerless to stop something caused by the dastardly Americans and not palliated by the bastards in Madrid.

At the same time, the BNG nationalist party is attacking the incumbent President – the head of their PSOE coalition partner - for being “A mouthpiece of the [fascist] PP party”. I suspect on the issue of which co-official language is to have de facto hegemony.

Said incumbent President seems to be too nice to make personal attacks on either of the two other candidates. Which rather suggests he’s not fit for office and shouldn’t be there in the first place.

Finally, I leave you with the odd results of two on-line polls carried out this week by local papers:-

Do you think the Oscars process is impartial?
NO - 67% YES – 33%

Do you think Penelope Cruz is Spain’s best actress?
YES – 10% NO – 90%

I’d be interested in any rationale for either or both of these.


Anonymous said...

Again Mr Davies, your pre-conceptions about the Spanish, very stereotypical, transpire from your arguments. Your "theory about the hankering for strong leaders" (of the Spanish) is quite poor, I think. What about the French or the Americans? Didn't they hanker for strong leaders, Sarkozy, Obama? And in the UK, the labour leadership? The conservative? Not looking for strong leadership? Not NEEDING strong leadership? Is there some residual need, deep in their psyche, to believe in strong leaders, Churchill, Thatcher like? Probably not.

I just think that your analysis is quite poor and superficial, your preconceptions cast a dark cloud on it. This "theory" of yours is based on the simplification of a trait common to all peoples, but it doesn't add to a honest or lucid reading of the concrete political reality in that country. You are living in Spain, sir. You congratulate yourself whenever any occurence conforms tou your own expectations (acquired in the mould of your original culture) of what is Spain and what are Spaniards. But you make no effort in getting to know what lies beneath the appearances, because you are very confortable in your own cultural and political values. I am sure that your "knowledge" and "understanding" of the Spanish culture, and of the Galician one, will be very valued and admired in certain circles of equally prejudiced and self-assured people, well done!

Thoughts from Galicia ... really?

Anonymous said...

Mr anonymous seeing as you represent the normal Spaniard on the mainland I am beginning to detest Spaniards and glad I don't have to live in your country. I can see that all good Spaniards worth their salt have left Spain and are now living abroad amongst civilized people. I bet you use two monitors so you can see your efforts in supermevision.

Midnight Golfer said...

As I can hardly keep up with Spanish politics on my own, I love reading about them from an outsider's point of view, especially a non-professional journalist, who isn't being paid to not have a sense of humor.

In your writings here on this website, I read a lot of delightful sarcasm, irony, and even a little tongue-in-cheek. For me, this is what makes it such an entertaining indulgence to read some of the unabashedly honest comments, as well.

I confess it gives me a certain type of schadenfreude. I hope I'm not wrongfully giving you the benefit of the doubt, Colin. It would be rather sad if one was supposed to take everything here literally.

For some reason I can't stop thinking about what those poll questions were supposed to have meant.
I'm really curious what they were getting at, and in what way do they mean, impartial?

I know that the Academy is not a politically impartial bunch, but I don't see in what way it would be perceived by someone in Spain.
Outside of the U.S., who cares what's popular among old Hollywood money?
It's not like they're handing out Nobel Prizes. (That's my attempt at dark humor, hope you get it.)

Now the other question:
Elsa Pataky is more attractive, Kiro Miró gives you that old fashioned feeling*, but I have no idea which Spanish actress is currently the "best."
Or did they mean best of all time?

*see Dumb & Dumber for reference.

Colin said...

Many thanks, MG.

No, you are spot on with your observation that I often have my tongue in cheek and not everything is to be taken seriously. The blog is meant to inform and amuse but the latter is far more important and I'm delighted to know it works for you. If not for Mr Anonymous, whose excellent English doesn't stop him drawing the most amazing inferences from what I write. Perhaps he doesn't have a sense of humour/humor.

Also appreciated the comments arond the surveys. Like you, I can't understand why it would concern anyone in Spain that the Oscars isn't impartial. Unless it is a reflection of anti-American sentiment or the basis of a belief that Spanish/Hispanic films and actors are intrinsically disadvantaged. Which is probably true, I guess. It being Hollywood.


Keep giving me the benefit of the doubt!

Anonymous said...

Mr anonymous (the other one, not me):

don't look for additional excuses if you have already decided to detest Spaniards. I am sure you have already found many many reasons to do so. However, if you really really wanted to loathe them, you should move to their country, otherwise you will never know how real (or how imagined) is your hatred. It would give you a more balanced and critical view(although this is not guaranteed).

Let me tell you though that you are misled in thinking that I represent the normal Spaniard on the mainland (on both charges), so try another reason to detest the people of that country, and a more self-convincing one.

Anonymous said...

Mr Davies, anonymous (the other one, not me), wrote (second comment in this thread):

"Mr anonymous seeing as you represent the normal Spaniard on the mainland I am beginning to detest Spaniards and glad I don't have to live in your country."

Mr Davies, do you condone your readers writing this type of racist comments directed to the happy people that are so lucky to host you? I thought you would feel compelled to critizise that kind of racist bigoted comments ...

Anything to say to those "anti-Spanish" bigots, sir? Not even that humble service are you going to conced to your beloved Spaniards?

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