Saturday, October 24, 2009

Well, with my sun-bearing houseguest gone, the Atlantic Blanket has descended on us once again. Were we really on the beach only a few days ago? And will this rain ever stop?

But there is good news. We have yet another new fiesta in Pontevedra, hot on the heels of our initial seafood festival of last month. Come the weekend of 31 October-1 November, we’ll be celebrating the inaugural OutubroFest. As you may have guessed, this will centre on beer and German food. Truly are the Spanish at their most impressively efficient when it comes to making money from having fun. Come to think of it, this might be the only time they’re impressively efficient.

Today’s other good news is that we had yet another record grape harvest this year, presumably because of the extended Indian summer. With demand for wine probably down during a global recession, you might expect prices of Galicia’s excellent albariño white wine to fall in your supermarkets and stores. But I wouldn’t count on it. Tradition has it that bumper crops are followed by reduced prices for the grape growers supplying the bodegas, whereas the price of the wines made from them rises inexorably. Don’t ask me how this is possible. Could there, perhaps, be a cartel? The Rías Baixas Winegrowers Association in their snazzy new offices in Pontevedra?

A week or so ago, I took myself off to the Basilica of Santa María in Pontevedra, to view it through the 1907 eyes of Ms Meakin. But it was the feast day of Santa Teresa and there was a Mass taking place. Which rather got in the way of things. Undaunted, I went off today to the ruins of the church of Santo Domingo to view these in the same way. This time I fell foul of the Spanish tradition of closing places of interest on the day when most people are free to visit them. Monday, then. Sorry, Tuesday. Very little opens here on Mondays.

Finally . . . If you’ve persisted in following the comments of Cade to this blog you’ll know he may finally have decided to stop wasting his time on demanding that I engage him in ‘rational discussion’ on the subjects of the local language, Gallego, and Galician nationalism. You’ll also be very aware that Cade specialises in the sort of ad hominem abuse which seems to be a constant feature of Spanish discourse. Witness, for example, the Comments section which follows any Economist article on Spain. Reading this stuff, it’s sometimes not difficult to understand why, even in the 20th century, the country had to resort to a civil war to sort out its differences. Anyway, it’s not just foreigners who despair of this state of affairs. The writer of a recent article in a Gallego paper who suggested that the association of the language with Galician nationalism was doing neither of them much good was deluged in vitriol from his fellow Gallegos. One observer – Let’s call him ‘D’ – wrote that the writer had effectively become a conduit for excrement. Leading a sympathiser to add this support, which you should be able to understand if you read either Spanish or Portuguese. More or less:-

Lamentablemente, teño que estar de acordo con D. no seu comentario sobre Vieiros. Lera a interesante entrevista a Monteagudo xa antes de chega-la primeira mensaxe á lista, cando o número de opinións-resposta non pasaba de medio cento, opinións que -con todo- non tiven paciencia para seguir lendo despois do cuarto ou quinto insulto. Que mágoa que unha referencia histórica como Vieiros, que se esforza en ofrecer contidos de interese e en contar con colaboradores de valía se vexa ensombrecida pola ruindade e mal gusto dunha parte dos seus respondentes. Outros sitios web galegos ofrecen tamén a posibilidade de opinar sobre artigos e colaboracións varias, pero en ningún caso o resultado é tan lamentable. Vieiros tentou (hai un tempo alomenos) filtrar e controla-las respostas, pero seica non houbo maneira. O problema está en que, aproveitando o anonimato dos "alias" con que algúns contestan, aprovéitase para insultar e/ou mentir de balde. Supoño que haberá que velo en positivo: hai un espazo para expresar frustración e odio sen ter que pagar ou ser recriminado... Outra parte dos comentaristas teñen tamén oportunidade de desautoriza-lo autor simplemente por non exercer de ou apoia-lo reintegracionismo, aínda que o artigo trate sobre política latinoamericana, sociedade madrileña ou sociolingüística marciana. En fin, afortunadamente hai vida alén do micromundo opinador de Vieiros.

So much for ‘rational discussion’


Juan said...

¨...the association of the language with Galician nationalism was doing neither of them much good:..¨

Seems right on the money to me.

CafeMark said...

Seems you've inspired Cade to start a blog after all Colin! I won't put the link here, as it could be (will be?) seen as offensive. But just be aware that all your comments will be carefully scrutinised and criticised on his new blog. How does it feel to have such a dedicated follower? It makes you realise that perhaps being a politican or someone in the public eye, is more difficult than we realise.