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.
- Especially for student readers, here's The Local's list of 10 reasons you should do your gap year here in Spain.
- Not to be outdone, here's Eye on Spain's list of 50 curious facts about Spain. Most of them are things to be proud of but no. 37 is normally called 'piracy'; number no. 47 could be better phrased; and no. 49 is shameful.
- Rather more seriously, here's an interesting Spanish perspective on the spat between the French and Anglo women over male sexism. It's in Spanish but there's a tarted up Google translation at the end of this post.
- So, President Fart has cancelled his trip to the UK 'for personal reasons'. In other words the thin-skinned bully and braggart is so slighted he's prepared to insult – again – his closest ally. Of course, there's also the fact that no one could give him the guarantee he demanded that no one one would protest against him. So he took the coward's way out. Getting re-elected by his core base seems to be the only thing he really cares about. And why not? It's been very good for business.
- One of those holy but wealthy US pastors – Cindy Jacobs - says that God will smite the North Korean leader soon unless he converts to Christianity. Read her loony words here.
- If you haven't been sufficiently terrified by the articles todate, try this one. I wonder how anyone can stay on Facebook after reading it.
- The new mobile radar machines are reported have been a major success in their first month, even though they collared only 1% of drivers who passed them. The 2 most profitable stretches have been wide roads on the way out of the city where you might be forgiven for thinking the 50kph limit had ended. I took a look at one of them yesterday – a four-lane highway where there are no residential properties and where the council clearly couldn't afford to put up a 50kph sign on the exit road. Though, strange to relate, there is one on the other side of the central reservation, where the road approaches the city. Just before the 30kph sign.
- I had more fun with my satnav/GPS) in Oporto last night. My Garmin – in Spanish at least – has the very annoying habit of telling you 3 times in quick succession how you are to negotiate a roundabout. Which gives me plenty of time to realise that the English 2-syllable instruction Keep Left needs a total of 10 syllables in Spanish – Manténgase a la izquierda. Imagine this said rapidly 3 times in the space of 20-30 seconds and you'll understand why I shout at my satnav. Keep right is a bit shorter. Well, only one syllable in fact.
- I ordered a book through Amazon UK last week. Two associate companies offered it in paperback at a low price. But one wanted more than €9 euros for packing and posting, against 5 for the other one. It's bad enough paying this amount if the book arrived within 2 to 3 days. But after more than 2 weeks?
- A sentiment I totally agree with: Champagne is only good for cleaning drains. Like foie gras, lobster and oysters, the drink of the super-rich is just a naff and ghastly attempt at one-upmanship. Plus it gives me a headache.
Catherine Deneuve vs Oprah Winfrey: Woman against woman. José María Robles
Feminism is split by the reaction to cases of abuse uncovered in Hollywood
Oprah's 'outraged' is Catherine Denueve, who calls them "puritans"
In Spain it is seen as a "train clash" between visions up to now near. «If I were a man right now, I would lock myself in my studio to watch porn on the internet for a while. Real women would not merit taking the risk of destroying my career. Is that what we want? "Asks the female American journalist and writer Lionel Shriver. "MeToo has become a campaign that does not allow dissent," says Claire Fox, founder of the British Institute of Ideas.
Like them, many other women with a public profile have wanted to make their voices heard 4 months after the first complaint of sexual abuse against producer Harvey Weinstein. They are testimonies that contrast with the speech of the presenter Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globes gala this Sunday and which testify that the feminist movement is producing a clash of sensitivities.
The frictions have even jumped from the US to Europe. «Rape is a crime. But insistent or clumsy flirting is not a crime, nor is chivalry macho aggression”, the actress Catherine Deneuve and a hundred French artists and intellectuals wrote yesterday in the newspaper Le Monde.
They are critics of the "puritanism" of the campaign against harassment with the hashtag #MeTo, which in her view makes women "eternal victims", and supporters of the men's "freedom to bother", and they insist they don't feel represented by “that feminism that, way beyond the denunciation of abuses of power, acquires the face of hatred for men and their sexuality".
The publication of this manifesto just one day after the gala organized by the Foreign Press of Hollywood does not seem a coincidence. Marisa Soleto is the director of the Fundación Mujeres and a lawyer specializing in public policies on equality. She describes as a "train clash" this feminist polarization and points out that the MeToo label "is a denunciation that doesn't just affects affects sexual behavior. We are not talking about flirting or suffering a persistent bore. We are talking about power relations”. She adds: “Maybe Catherine Deneuve has not had this problem in her life ... I am convinced that this is not just a gesture of lack of solidarity with other women, but simply the defense of a social order that perhaps does not seem so bad".
Last October, the film director Leticia Dolera published in eldiario.es a letter entitled 'The scandal of machismo dressed up as normality'. In it she told how at 18 he suffered the first of several sexual harassments by colleagues. Dolera summarized yesterday in a tweet how she saw the confrontation between supporters and detractors of Yotambianism: "They called us feminazis, now Puritans. We do not care. Ww will continue. # Lopersonalespolítico #MeToo”.
The writer Carmen Posadas and the journalist Carmen Lomana are some of the signatories of Against Generalisation of gender, a statement in which they rebel "against the use of women as an expression of a monolithic block of thought" and against "a current that by default presents women as victims of hetero-patriarchy, of a macho society, which to us seems harmful to the expectations of any woman and, above all, of girls and young women who should know that, now, in Spain, they can get where they are propose”.
It took Deneuve only 24 hours to get an answer in her own country. Laurence Rossignol, former minister for Women's Rights, considered the document signed by the actress "a slap in the face for all women who denounce the reality of sexual depredation".
"It's all too complex to throw absolute truths in others' faces," María María Blanco, a professor of economics at the CEU-San Pablo University and author of Aphrodite Unmasked - a defense of liberal feminism. Blanco encourages looking for nuances in a debate where there seems to be no one who wants them. “The generalizations - and excuse the language -' They are all whores' or "I'm sure many of them went without panties to the producer's office to see what they could get' seems to me an outrage. That's like saying that if they are all sluts, they are all rapists. Not in the field of cinema, nor in television, nor in any other. These generalizations are brutal."
Blanco claims to feel "a lot of anger" when she sees how "a more radical sector of feminism, which is usually leftist, which is an exclusive feminism, which gives itself the moral authority to judge other women". However, she warns that she sets her face again denialism: "Harassment and abuse exist, and we must applaud women who have really been victims and have dared not only to say it aloud, but also name the abuser. I would love to see this happen in Spain.
She also admits that she did not feel comfortable with the last part of Oprah's speech, which in the US has even been compared to Martin Luther King's historic 'I have a dream'. "I had the same feeling as when I heard Madonna being recognized by Billboard as the woman of the year. In this case, she was even more aggressive, because she insulted Camille Paglia, a heroine for me ... I say that they seemed similar to me because they point to problems that are real but when it comes to attributing causes to them or finding answers they fall into hypocrisy". And at this point, remember the poses of Weinstein and Winfrey together.
Can we get something positive out of this exchange of blows among feminists? "There are many debates that are not productive", says Marisa Soleto. "In the end, on many occasions, when we talk about women's rights, we end up focusing the debates on women themselves and not on the problem in general terms. A productive debate in this area is whether we really have to have a relationship of powers of sexual relations in which the risk of sexual harassment or sexual assault is a reality. Normally we are talking about very fixed positions in which nobody convinces anyone”.
As I think I put it the other day – A cross-cultural dialogue of the almost-deaf.