Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 6.2.18

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.

  • I believe the Spanish for 'a hollow laugh' is una risa superficial. I wonder how many Spaniards met with one of these President Rajoy's demand that the Catalans choose a leader who respects the law. This from the head of a party and a government which is mired in massive corruption and who is himself personally implicated in corporate bribery.
  • Which is a nice lead-in to this video, which might not go down too well with Sr Rajoy, or any of the 'Spanish nationalists' at whom it's aimed.
  • Talking of Spanish nationalists, here's an interesting article on the appalling complex up in the Valley of the Fallen outside Madrid.
  • On a (slightly) lighter tone, below is the response of Chris Haslam to the wave of outrage which met his tongue-in-cheek Sunday Times article on how to be Spanish. I would say this but it does rather endorse my own take on what he was about.
  • God knows I'm no huge fan of the way the NHS is run but, after his latest bit of inanity, I'm finally getting Fart fatigue. One is forced to concede he's never going to say anything sensible, never mind wise, and that – if he's not to be shot - he really should be ignored.
  • Meanwhile, below is a profile of the man from yesterday's Voz de Galicia.
  • And here's an interesting account of his main financial backer and of how and why he and his family came to favour Fart. You couldn't make it up. I fear.
The UK
  • Hugo Rifkind in The Times: We are becoming in our discourse far more American. God, guns and gays aren’t quite our thing but the spectacle of rival, polarised, talking heads going head-to-head has become mainstream awfully quickly. Mr Rees-Mogg and Mr Corbyn are figureheads for an age in which aiming for consensus is a mug’s game. In newspapers, which even at their most partisan still have broad ambitions, they can both sound small and obscure. Where they belong is in the new media landscape of Breitbart, The Canary, Conservative Woman, The Skwawkbox, and so on, where everything is straightforward, and there are right thoughts and wrong thoughts and heroes and bastards and no space in between.
The Gender Wars
  • No man would dare say this these days, so thank god it came from a woman Times columnist: Female emancipation was all about giving women control over their own destinies. Now they have that control, they are presenting themselves once again as powerless victims of male oppression, even while benefiting from being presented as sexual objects.
  • Pontevedra city's mayor continues with his campaign to make it car-free. Yet another on-street parking area has been 'humanisised'. I guess not everyone will be unhappy with his assurance that this - his 4th - will be his last term in office.
  • Eurosceptic I might be but I still recoiled in horror at this comment about a (rabidly anti-Semitic) British MP's activities in 1940: By early May Ramsay was pursuing yet another of his hobby-horses, the prospect of European Federal Union, which he believed the Government secretly to be pursuing as one of its war aims. A Eurosceptic, he warned that the project of such a union would be seen in most of Europe as ‘the setting-up of a Judaeo-Masonic super-state’. Good to know he was later imprisoned as a threat to the British war effort. Though not for his anti-Semitic bilge. Of course, he never could have imagined that a superstate would indeed emerge, but dominated by Germany, not by Jewish and Masonic bankers.
Today's Cartoon


1. Chris Haslam responds to Spanish outrage

On January 21, the "Travel" section of The Sunday Times published a thirteen-page special dedicated to the wonders of holidays in Spain. I wrote several articles encouraging British readers to travel there, but also a short piece, "How to be Spanish," which tried to be funny. In previous weeks, we had published similar humorous articles - "How to be French" and "How to be Italian" - along with special reports on tourism in France and Italy.

My intention was to mock lightly - and with affection - Spain, my favorite country, and to point out in an exaggerated way some characteristics that British people traveling to Spain would recognize and that Spanish readers would also observe in themselves. To my Spanish friends it seemed very funny. Many Spaniards, however, failed to see the funny side.

Angry tweets and comments on social networks started immediately. Newspapers, Spanish radio and television networks took up the story. I apologised and I do it now: it was never my intention to insult a country that I love.

Throughout my twenty years in The Sunday Times, I have written tens of thousands of words about holidays in Spain, and also two novels set there. I lived in Spain for three years in the eighties, and I travel to your country at least four times a year. I am downhearted after finding that some people in Spain now think that I don'tt like their country,

Many of my critics asked what would happen if the Spaniards said what they think about the British. ABC went a step further and posted an answer, "How to be British." Written by Álvaro Martínez, the article blamed the British for having carpets in their bathrooms. Apparently we only shower four times a week. We drive on the wrong side of the road, queue for everything, have dinner at tea time and eat rhubarb crumble, which - says Martinez - has incredible laxative properties. We put on white socks with sandals, we devote twenty of the twenty-four hours a day to drinking, we love to fight and jump from the balconies. We are not interested in culture: the British represent only 0.39 percent of the Prado's visitors in Madrid, says Martínez. However, we are diligent in filing false claims for food poisoning. My answer to all this is that the criticism seems fair to me. The opinion of ABC is not only funny but perfect. We can accept it. Apart from the crumble.

After thirty years of travelling through Spain, I thought I understood the country. I was wrong. Now I am clear that I am very far from understanding the Spanish sense of humor. Mine, certainly, they don't get.

So, I would like to say to Spain: a thousand apologies. Spaniards do drop things on the floor of bars, they do shout (well, they speak loudly) and some do drink red wine cold. But these statements were not critical, and I'm sorry if you took them as such.

Spain is still my favorite country: for food, landscapes, culture and, above all, people.

It's a shame they'll never invite me to come back.

2. Trump, the psychopath: Salvador Harguindey

Carl Jung, in his essay 'Wotan', described the personality of the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as "malignant narcissism," adding that his majority election was precisely because he was the worst of the Germans. With the president of the United States, Donald Trump, a similar situation occurs. The reason for his choice may lie in what the American film director Robert Altman has said: that the United States is heading towards total stupidity. This narcissism is interspersed with the so-called "Peter Pan syndrome" (now Donald Trump). Its main characteristics reflect elements such as megalomania, chauvinism, contempt for others, especially if you perceive them as different, the total lack of empathy – a key characteristic of every psychopath - a total absence of compassion and also of respect for the weakest and most disadvantaged, including, in some cases, cruelty. His extraordinarily inflated ego makes him appear to the world in an exhibitionist way, as if he were the center of the universe. His excessive desire to feel admired and blindly obeyed, while creating all kinds of dependencies and submissions, his only valuing those who agree with him, who praise him repeatedly, who praise his arrogance and bend before him to practice an unusual, sick belligerence.

In his excessive aim to exercise absolute and totalitarian control of the world relating to him, this type of pathological personality, which we have already described in an earlier article, tries obsessively to convince others that external reality must be exactly as he demands it to be. In order to make his goal a reality, he does not hesitate to endanger humanity with such frivolous and childish phrases - such as "My nuclear button is bigger than yours" - with which he wanted to rival the North Korean Kim Jong-un in full dialectic escalation between his two countries. This delusional thought is known in psychology as "fantastic pseudology." This situation is typical of beings whose sick consciences end up making them believe their own lies. By not tolerating those who are not completely in agreement with their opinions and dictations to a simple contrariness, they react very aggressively, with a lack of self-control, irrationality and immaturity that turns them into extraordinarily dangerous beings. Their behavior can even lead to violence, from dialectics to physics (which can be manifested in actions so unimportant of a democratic leader such as the veto of the press, insults and repeated disparagement of journalists, politicians and actors, threats to any potential enemy, real or paranoidly invented, etc.), at the same time giving free rein to anger and hatred unfit for a healthy nature and personality.

For Trump, the world is just a scenario in which he and his great ego are the main protagonists and the rest no more than his audience. When he feels attacked, he gets ahead of the danger, real or imaginary, viciously chasing anyone who gets in his way, someone exclusively destined to serve and pay himself. The systemic deformation of reality leads to delusions that make him define himself as a genius, but where everything he shows is ignorance, materialism and superficiality. This is accompanied by a childish grandiosity and an extreme presumption, as well as impetuosity and arrogance. His need for ostentation forces him to elevate himself by debasing others as much as possible, the strong to avoid competition and the weak to subdue and humiliate them even more (the "shit-holes"). As a medical prognosis, this type of patient is usually difficult to cure, representing psychic alter egos like a galloping cancer.

Continuing with President Trump and his family . . . Albert Einstein said: "The destiny of nations must not be left inevitably in the hands of the irresponsible owners of political power." Perhaps his family could help rid the world of this dangerous and uneducated Neanderthal, a true psychopath, by whom it is on the way to becoming infected. By the way, Melania, you'll earn a good deal of money by separating, no matter how much the saying goes: "Money, fame and power attract women." In this way, you will get shut of Don's inflated ego: his ego-tismo, ego-ism, ego-centrism and ego-worship. Unless someone enlightened gets ahead of him[??], everything is possible. America first! But the rest of humanity very much before that.

No comments: