I mentioned a couple of years back that the leaflet they give you in Córdoba’s justly famous Grand Mosque seemed a little mean-spirited to me. As I recall, its main message was that it’s only thanks to the Catholic Church that this magnificent building is still standing today. Things, it seems, have now gone a little further, with the city’s Bishop demanding that all signs to it call it not a mosque but a cathedral. And that the same be done in all official documents and in all tourist materials. Putting aside petty-mindedness, the reason for this is that Fernando III almost destroyed the aesthetics of the place by plonking a cathedral in the middle of it after he’d taken Córdoba from the Moors in the 13th century. Not a wise move on the part of the Bishop, I wouldn’t have thought. And bound to come to nothing, I suspect. And hope.
So, do you have extrinsic or intrinsic values? Your answer will determine how you really respond to the issues of the day. For it seems we’re not quite as rational as we think we are. We respond according to our social identity. And this is forged by value systems classified as either extrinsic or intrinsic. In brief – “Extrinsic values concern status and self-advancement. People with a strong set of extrinsic values fixate on how others see them. They cherish financial success, image and fame. Intrinsic values concern relationships with friends, family and community, and self-acceptance. Those who have a strong set of intrinsic values are not dependent on praise or rewards from other people. They have beliefs that transcend their self-interest.” See here for more on this. And on its implications for your politics.
Yet more data has emerged on the levels of corruption down in Valencia, where the model appears to have been the regime of Jesús Gil in Marbella during the 90s - currently giving us the circus of a hundred or more officials and their advisers being prosecuted for the embezzlement of zillions of euros over the early years of this decade. I guess in both cities they thought they could get away with it as much as Gil had in his heyday. And which they may yet do in Valencia. Meanwhile, it was no great surprise to hear that the Pope’s imminent visit was being used a fund-raising exercise for the owners of Lichtenstein and Swiss bank accounts. And that the local TV station is implicated in the shenanigans. Cue shrug of the shoulders from the majority of Spaniards, it seems. But it’s good to know the state prosecution service take things rather more seriously. Though they must have a job on their hands keeping up with the miscreants.
I mentioned the Spanish banks and savings banks (cajas) yesterday. Bang on cue, it’s reported that the pressure brought to bear on them over the last year or so has not produced the necessary degree of reform and restructuring and so they’re going to have their arms twisted even further up their backs. Just the mañana syndrome, I guess.
Finally . . . I’ve discovered a new wrinkle in my satnav. When a street is called something like Ferdinand y Isabela, the English lady pronounces the ‘y’ as the letter Y and not as the Spanish for ‘and’, or ‘ee’. Which must be helpful if you don’t speak any Spanish and have to stop and ask the way. In theory this should never need be the case, of course. But she appears to have no knowledge of the right names of the streets around my house and I’m pretty sure this isn’t a unique instance.
Tailnote for new readers: Exciting news. The first seven chapters of my daughter’s novel can now be read and/or downloaded in pdf form, for easy reading. It’s a “Fast-paced political thriller but, above all, a personal tale of pride and paranoia.” Set in a fictionalised Cuba, it’s being e-published at the rate of at least a couple of chapters a week. If this entices you, click here.