Friday, January 26, 2018

Thoughts from Galcia, Spain: 26.1.18

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.

  • Quite a surprise announcement. The PP leadership must be worried. Very worried. No wonder there are now whispers that Rajoy might not be their main man for the next general election.
  • How to learn Spanish rapidly. Perhaps. Not exactly earth-shattering.
The EU 
  • Interesting observation:The EU’s uncompromising and united stance on Brexit has begun to unravel after European leaders in Davos offered deeply conflicting accounts of what sort of deal may eventually be possible. While France instantly shot down fresh demands from Chancellor Philip Hammond for a bespoke accord that includes financial services, Ireland floated the option of a “Norway Plus” arrangement that better reflects the unique nature of Britain’s relations with Europe. While EU politicians do not always sing from the same hymn-sheet, the clash on this core issue is unusual. It opens a window into emerging divisions that are usually obscured. Business as usual, then. No one knows what's going on nor what will eventually happen. Meanwhile, everyone is playing to the gallery.
  • Nice comment: Many liberals are upset with Trump because he forces them to discard their illusions, so tightly and preciously held, about the nature of the United States. Or to put it in another way, about the nature of U.S. imperialism. And that's one of the reasons why they're furious with Trump. They're angry with him because he's forcing them to restructure to a degree their basic fundamental premises, through which they've been able to deceive generations. 
  • Which reminds me . . . A while ago, I drew up a table of all the (tsunami of) adjectives – both positive and negative – used in respect of Fart. Listening to something yesterday, I wondered if I'd included 'totally shameless'. 
The UK 
  • From a UK political commentator: Theresa May’s speech at Davos was a classic. Which is to say, a classic of the May genre. It said absolutely nothing. In fact, you could argue that it said less than nothing because it kept going back on what it had just proclaimed in a neat one step forward, one step back manoeuvre. 
Nutters Corner
  • Ex adviser to President Fart and now Fox News contributor, Sebastian Gorka; 'The Guardian' is a rabid right-wing loony-left rag. Yes, indeed. Why on earth had no one ever realised this before his insight? But here's a surprise: Some critics have challenged his academic credentials. I think I'd go further and question his sanity. 
Social Media.
  • Another nice comment: Pretty much everybody now acknowledges, including the companies themselves, social media have been used for “malevolent purposes” and because their status as publishers or communications vehicles has not been legally defined, no one has had to take responsibility for this. Clearly, that is unsatisfactory. Join the revolution!
The Gender Wars.
  • Reader Maria made a valid comment yesterday: As for the gender issue, it would depend on what is masculinity? Is it the expectation of a man to act like a macho-know-it-all? If a woman is looking for a "masculine" man, perhaps she is nostalgic for a time in which most of the decision-making was done by men. In any case, how about searching for a man who is a "person" rather than a stereotype? Feminine and masculine are two words whose meanings have always been subjective, and really are not at all useful in defining a person. A man can be strong and have "feminine" qualities. Perhaps what the author meant is that "strong" women are searching for "strong" men, and will reject a weak personality saying they're not "masculine" enough, confusing terms. I accept this and would only add that my own preference for a partner has always been an intelligent, strong woman who is also 'feminine'. And I would expect my partner to be looking for an intelligent, strong man who is also 'masaculine', but with feminine sensitivies. But I wouldn't like to have to give hard definitions of any of these terms . .   It's all about chemistry at the end of the day. But without the certainties of Chemistry.
The Culture Wars 
  • That interview has thrown up numerous commentaries/videos. This one shows Paterson himself ruminating on it. And here's an excellent discussion of Newman's cognitive dissonance. Personally, I'm not convinced she really believed every view she was purporting to champion.
  • Our press currently seems to be obsessed with the economic growth of our near-neighbour, Portugal. I can't decide whether this is admiration or envy. But, anyway, one fact reported is that 500 Galician companies now have an operation south of our MiƱo border. Another is that foreigners have a very advantageous tax regime for 10 years after taking up residence there. Hmm.
  • When I mentioned to the staff in my regular bar yesterday that one of our everyday beggars was dressed in a 'coat' of blue plastic, against the rain, I was assured he was from a good family and really quite rich. This is not the first timeI've heard this sort of thing and I can't help wondering if this is part of a pattern of urban myths here.
  • The Venice restaurant which, to say the least, overcharged 4 Japanese diners now faces fines of at least €20,000, for breaches of health-and-safety and food-hygiene regulations, as well commercial code infringements, including inaccurate description of goods. The Osteria da Luca enjoys a parlous rating of 1.5 stars on Tripadvisor, where 83% of customers class it as “Terrible”. One wonders why anyone these days would risk it. Are there really people out there who don't have a smartphone? 
Today's Cartoon

"If it is any consolation, the public loves your dress . . . It's just flying off the shelves"

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