Friday, July 14, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 14.7.17

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.

Life in Spain:-
  • Spain has more levels of government than it really needs. And so far more bureaucrats that are objectively necessary. Many of whom need cars. So it is that Spain boasts a fleet of official cars which is 22 times larger than that of the USA. Which might not be a totally fair comparison.
  • TVE last night started a series on the Camino de Santiago. It's hosted inevitably, by a pretty young women whom I found rather irritating. But, then, I'm easily annoyed these days. It'll eventually be on youtube, of course, but not yet. Though there are many other videos there, if your need is immediate. Oh, just discovered you can see it here, which you couldn't last night.
  • This barrio - in Sevilla - is said to be the poorest in Spain.
  • Officially - click here - Granada is now the most beautiful city in Spain, narrowly beating out Córdoba. I'd still go with Salamanca but will take another look at those two soon.
  • This is the 5th bull-run in Pamplona. the one where Nathan's ignorance nearly got him killed. Go to the 50 second point if this is all you want to witness. As the rest of you can see, it's really quite amazing that more runners aren't more just than nudged by the horns.
  • My impression is that the light-coloured bull is either named or described as jamonero. Perhaps his colour. But I can find no evidence for this. Sierra? Maria? Anyone?
  • Not everyone enjoys the sight of bulls either running or fighting, but here's one chap happy to defend the Pamplona jamboree.
  • Says El País: Málaga’s growing reputation as an arts and culture hub is about to be boosted with the opening of a centre dedicated to the philosophical legacy of Spain’s Sephardic Jews. More on this here
  • As October get ever closer, Madrid has reminded Catalan mayors that they face a fine of up to €600,000 if they provide census date for 'improper use'. Such as an 'illegal' referendum on independence. Interestingly, The Economist has here described President Rajoy's strategy as unimaginative but effective. Which is his approach to everything, of course.

The Spanish language: Ever wondered where the tilde on the Ñ comes from? If so, click here for the fascinating answer.

Spanish Media: Well, sort of. The Olive Press is one of the news sources in my RSS reader. Or it was. As threatened, I've deleted it because of the unavoidable pop-up ads which block their page. It's also irritating that this 'newspaper' features reviews dressed up as news. I don't suppose they'll give a toss that they've lost me as both a reader and a citer. But one has to do one's bit.

Having heard Donald Trump praise his son as a 'special', 'high quality' and 'tremendous person' - though quite possibly both very arrogant and very stupid - I thought I'd search for his favourite compliments. And ran into this article from Esquire on how to talk like him. And to the article from his favourite news channel - CNN - at the end of this post. Enjoy. Meanwhile, a few of his favourite compliments are: super; very nice; and beautiful (women and walls). As others have said, it's like listening to a 10 year old describing the family holiday to the class.

Turning to that other grand legume . . . Here's how to big up Vladimir Putin if you're Moscow mouthpiece:-

Original foto . . .

Doctored foto . . .

By the way . . . The Russian national St. George’s ribbon put on Mrs Merkel indicates that the authors of the photoshopped image probably had no intention of claiming that it was authentic. 

Here's a nice little video of a 'Galician' garden. And possibly a Portuguese bottle of wine . .

Finally . . . As an ex-Catholic atheist, you'd expect me to put Catholics and US Evangelicals in the same box. And I do. But they seem to inhabit different corners. For the Pope has just weighed into the Evangelicals for espousing an “apocalyptic geopolitics” whose roots are “not too far apart” from that of Islamist extremism. As reported here in The Guardian. In this, the Pope might well be infallible.

Today's cartoon:-

Still on the Trump theme . . . .

And the original - set, of course in the 17th century English Civil War - which I used to admire from time to time in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool:-


During his first 3 months in office, Trump used these phrases as noted:-

BELIEVE ME - Said in 26 speeches

"The interpretation of this one depends on the ear of the beholder," says Sclafani. "To supporters, it likely sounds like a reassurance coming from a president they already trust and believe. To critics, it may sound like a desperate command from a leader who isn't naturally believable.

"But this phrase -- or as linguists call it, a discourse marker -- has an interactional function that serves as a cue to his audience." During a long speech, a phrase like "believe me" tells the audience to pay attention, and serves to highlight or reiterate a certain point. 

WE'RE GOING TO MAKE - Said in 12 speeches

Such phrases "may be interpreted as reassurances as a confident leader or businessman," Sclafani says. "These constructions ... present a positive outlook and optimistic view of what the president can and will accomplish for the nation."

A LOT OF MONEY - Said in 9 speeches

"[Trump has a] predilection for speaking in generalities," Sclafani says. "These general expressions can be seen as having multiple functions, but oftentimes the president uses them to provoke a reaction in his audience -- of shock, dismay, or disgust."

HE'S A GREAT GUY - Said in 6 speeches 

"Trump tends to talk in personally evaluative terms - both positively and negatively - about his contemporaries. During his campaign, he was better known for his personal insults, but he is also a very complimentary president," Sclafani says. "His compliments, however, tend to be less substantial in terms of touting the complimentee's professional credentials or abilities, and are rather generally evaluative."

WE'RE GOING TO TAKE CARE OF - Said in 8 speeches 

"These expressions remind me of what [linguist George] Lakoff refers to as the 'Strict Father' model of government, in which the nation is a family and the president is seen as the parent," Sclafani says. "Conservatives, Lakoff argues, adopt a 'strict father' view of the nation-as-family, in which the president-parent is the authoritarian and disciplinarian, but also the protector of the family."

"I was also struck by the frequency of these expressions occuring in the plural - we vs. I - given that his campaign rhetoric was very 'I' (individually) focused," she adds. "In this sense, since becoming president, one could say that there has been a shift in his language to expressions connoting national unity, whereas his campaign speeches were focused largely on what he could do himself as an individual."


This is another example of Trump's consistent pattern of compliments. If Trump is talking about "incredible," people, he is most likely talking about the military or law enforcement. Of the six times he's said the phrase in public speeches, four were in reference to law enforcement, one was in reference to the Navy, and one was in reference to those "who serve our country in uniform." 


"The exact amount of money is not important to convey his message, as what may sound like 'a lot' to some may not to others, depending on their personal economic background," Sclafani says. "So expressions like 'a lot of money' and 'billions and billions of dollars' are ways of conveying the idea of an expensive undertaking while not having to provide specifics (which he may not have)."

WINNING AGAIN  - Said in 5 speeches

"Winning" is one of Trump's favorite persuasive motifs. Like his use of "beautiful" and "great," the idea of "winning" invokes an immediate reaction. Winning is good. Winning is what people want to be. It also frames everything as a challenge, a competition to be won, which definitely echoes Trump's competitive personal nature and business background.

It also harkens back to one of his most iconic campaign moments. At a rally in Albany, New York in April 2016, Trump delivered a passionate acclamation that was full of "win:" "You are going to be so proud of your country. Because we're gonna turn it around, and we're gonna start winning again! We're gonna win so much! We're going to win at every level. We're going to win economically. We're going to win with the economy. We're gonna win with military. We're gonna win with healthcare and for our veterans. We're gonna with every single facet. We're gonna win so much, you may even get tired of winning. And you'll say, "Please, please. It's too much winning. We can't take it anymore. Mr. President, it's too much." And I'll say, "No, it isn't!" We have to keep winning We have to win more! We're gonna win more. We're gonna win so much. I love you, Albany! Get out and vote. You will be so happy."

If you are counting, that is 13 "wins" in the span of a few sentences. 

What it all means

Says Sclafani: "In general, Trump's rhetorical style as president can be seen as an extension of his style as an executive in the business world. This is especially apparent when we compare his style to previous presidents and his opponents in the 2016 election," 

"By contrast, others come off as overly hesitant, academic, or wonkish. Trump doesn't bother to get bogged down by details . . . He presents himself as a visionary type of leader, focused solely on his vision for the future of the country."

God help the USA.

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