Sunday, November 24, 2013

Spanish TV; Spanish discourse; Spanish doublespeak; Percebes; & The risks of Divination.

Taking my midday tiffin in a place I don't often frequent, I had the chance to view a TV program I'd never seen before. It was a glitzy show which seemed to include 2 or 3 cross-dressers whom I eventually decided were actually very butch women. And there was someone who very much looked - to my astonishment - as if he'd blacked up. All in all, it was a dreadful affair and it reminded me of the fact that the biggest TV celebrity in Spain is one Belén Estéban, a woman who's famous because she used to date a bullfighter. And because she now adorns daytime TV. This seems to be because she's even less appealing after her cosmetic surgery than before and because she's aggressive and controversial, so guaranteed to give viewers what they love to watch - a 6-party slanging match. It's a weird world.

Spanish discourse: I was walking past the pet shop in the mall at 2.30 yesterday when a father and his 6 year old daughter arrived to find the place closed. "Shit! Fuck!", expostulated the father, before knocking on the window to get the owner to open up. In like vein, one of the 2 young women I chat with on Saturday mornings said "Fuck" 3 times within the first 5 minutes of the first session. By the way, both young ladies cried off yesterday's session, for one reason and another. Par for the course here. After a while, good intentions give way to good excuses.

Another fine example of doublespeak from President Rajoy - The draconian new measures being brought in under the aegis of public security, he says, will not threaten personal freedom but guarantee it. Oy vey! Can anyone be surprised that elements of the new laws have been likened to Franco era legislation, by the judges no less.

Which reminds me . . . I've touched on the Spanish judicial system a few times in the last few weeks. So I wasn't too surprised to read that 65% of Spaniards have 'no faith whatsoever' in it. And that 75% think justice here is too slow and expensive, especially as one of the government's stealth taxes has been a rise in court fees.

Here's a BBC article on one of my bêtes noires, the Galician percebe, or goose barnacle. Something which - as I never tire of saying - only used to be given to animals until relatively recently.

Finally . . . I mentioned the local fortune-teller Maestro Sisse last week. I thought of him when reading this comment from Montaigne's essay on cannibals:- He also prophesies to them events to come: but let him look to't; for if he fail in his divination, he is cut into a thousand pieces, if he be caught, and condemned for a false prophet: for that reason, if any of them has been mistaken, he is no more heard of. Divination is a gift of God, and therefore to abuse it ought to be punishable. Amongst the Scythians, where their diviners failed in the promised effect, they were laid, bound hand and foot, upon carts and drawn by oxen, on which they were burned to death.

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