Thursday, April 03, 2003

Here are a few excerpts from today's La Vanguardia:

"The testimony collected by this journalist (Sophie Shihab of Le Monde) seems straight out of Pentagon propaganda. Yet it is true. An old man states: 'The English don't shoot at us. The civilians are only in danger from those Fedayeen dogs, who shoot at the English from our houses.' A student says: 'Those Fedayeen idiots think they're going to stop the airplanes by burning oil. There hasn't been a revolt yet in Basra because we don't have any weapons.'...An ex-policeman says that two people who appeared dancing on a CNN broadcast when the Anglo-American troops entered Iraq were murdered shortly afterwards."--Plàcid Garcia-Planas, Kuwait City. Well, Plácid, thanks for the vote of confidence. Gee, couldn't it be that all of the alleged Pentagon propaganda IS ACTUALLY THE TRUTH? The student's comment is an excellent argument against gun control, by the way. The death of the two celebrating people who thought they'd been liberated from the rule of a "murder state" (much better than "rogue state", I think) may be one reason we're not hearing that much open sympathy for the Brits and Yanks from the Iraqi people. The Iraqis don't want to talk until it's all over and our journalists are wise not to identify any Iraqis who do so.

"The White House--and especially the Pentagon--insist on making this transfer (of power to a civilian Iraqi government) only after American economic and security interests--the oil, the reconstruction contracts, the functioning of a regime supervised by the CIA--are assured...Any day the American president pounds on the table, pulls his revolver out of his belt, and threatens Teheran and Damascus with being next on the "blacklist" if they collaborated under the table with Saddam's regime...Meanwhile the Anglo-American troops continue firing the missiles and the machine-gun bursts that will sow the seeds of hate and anger in the Middle East in the generations to come...Bush wants a "viceroy" wearing a New York Yankees cap."--the ineffable Rafael Ramos, London.

"Iraqi Defenses Appear Impenetrable"--headline on Robert Fisk's latest dispatch. Uh, Bobby, you're about 48 hours behind the times.

In Parliament yesterday Zap talked about the "horror" of the "illegal, unnecessary, and unjust war" and said the Allied plans had "completely failed". He added that the war is not "clean"--gee, Zap, if we wanted to make it dirty, we'd have nuked Baghdad years ago--and that there hasn't been a popular revolt against the Saddam regime. Therefore, Spain should withdraw from the Coalition. Aznar called Zap "dangerous" and "an isolationist" and reminded him that he'd supported the Gulf War in 1991, when women and children got killed too and the bombers actually took off from Spain, but the government in power in Spain then was Socialist. Gas called upon Aznar to resign. Aznar told him not to pass out any lectures in morality and that he, Gas, had never condemned Saddam's regime. He also reminded Gas that members of his party were taking part in the illegal and antidemocratic attacks on PP headquarters and offices around Spain.

Classy Spanish Politics Anecdote of the Week: The Socialist spokesman in the Valencia City Council suggested that Foreign Minister Ana Palacio, who was caught badly off balance by a question at a recent press conference and stumbled through a monumentally bad answer, was suffering from "mental complications due to her illness". Palacio recovered from cancer several years ago.

The real Jesús Gil is being investigated for disappearing 92 million euros while he was mayor of Marbella. Viva el Atleti!

Terenci Moix, the Catalan author, kicked off. Too bad, every man's death diminishes me and all, but Terenci never wrote anything worth reading as far as I can tell. He did love cats in real life, so I hope he's in cat heaven, but his stuff is just infumable, as they say around here.

I must be honest and admit that I am prejudiced against a certain kind of gay man, the kind that behaves in an exaggeratedly effeminate manner. Like Terenci Moix, whose real name was Ramón. What kind of guy would change his name from Ray to Terence? It just bugs me, not so much because it's "typical" of gays--most gays, of course, do not behave effeminately--but because it's so obviously a phony put-on. Look, dude, it's cool and all if you're gay, but don't camp it up, please. That just turns me off, and I'll bet a lot of straight people and a good few gay people agree with me. Trust me, guys, we may bug you and turn you off by talking about, like, stock car racing, but you bug us and turn us off by talking about, like, Marilyn Monroe. We need to arrive at a "no stock cars, no opera arias" agreement. I think we can all live with that.

Remei also has a problem with that kind of gay man; she believes they're parodying and making fun of women by copying stereotypical women's behavior badly. She admits this almost certainly isn't conscious on these men's part, but she still doesn't like it.

I remember, when I went to the University of Kansas in 84-87, living in Hashinger Hall, the fine-arts dorm. The joke at Hash was that most guys walking around campus who acted a little fruity were really straight, but if someone acted a little fruity AND lived at Hash, then you knew he was gay. I would bet twenty percent of the guys in the dorm were gay or bi, and there were a few lesbians. That was back before it was fashionable to be a lesbian, so these chicks were for real. Anyway, though, I come from the first generation that was brought up to think homosexuality is more-or-less normal, but in suburban Kansas City in the 80s you didn't see much of it. At the dorm we sure did, though, and had to adapt to it at the confusing age of 18. Now, I remember writing a paper for high school on the gay rights movement (remember looking through those damn Reader's Guides to Periodical Literature for hours on end?) and finding references in Time and Newsweek from the late 70s that still referred to homosexuality as abnormal and a mental disease.

I know you guys face discrimination that I don't. But give us straights a break. Those of us in our late 30s are the first bunch who have been taught that gay folks are OK just like the rest of us, and the lesson hasn't completely taken effect yet. There are a couple thousand years of Judeo-Christian tradition that we've had only about thirty years to get over, and I'll bet many of the people who are most anti-gay would prefer to see gays in the army than in the churches. The last redoubt of the hard-core anti-gays is found among elements of (by no means all of) the Christian Right, and they firmly believe that homosexual behavior is in itself immoral. That's a belief that is hard to change.

Anyway, back to star of stage, screen, and sociology Eulàlia Solé! Lali just wrote a boilerplate feminist novel that has recently been published, and they printed her photo in the paper. God, she's even uglier than she used to be. Anyway, here she goes.

We must ask ourselves why this war has generated so much repudiation. It isn't that other military conflicts leave people with human qualities indifferent, as those who have a bad conscience for supporting the attack on Iraq like to claim. What is happening is that this war is monumental for various reasons: it is a pre-announced war (so Lali, you'd have preferred a sneak attack?); international law has been violated through not obtaining the desired permission from the UN (what about those 17 UN resolutions that Iraq violated?), the Anglo-American troops are perpetrating aggression against a State that, although in the hands of a dictator like many others, is sovereign (wait, since many countries have dictatorships, does that mean we shouldn't try to overthrow one in particular, which is probably the worst in the world after North Korea? And so what if the Iraqi state is sovereign? It's not legitimate, that's for sure. And wasn't Germany a sovereign state when we attacked them back in 1941? Remember, we attacked the Germans, they didn't attack us. Yes, I know they declared war first, and they were sinking our ships, but on land we were the attackers. And what's this aggression? Saddam took over full power in 1979, attacked Iran in 1980, fought until 1988, attacked Kuwait in 1990, attacked the Kurds and Shiites during his whole reign, and provided aid and comfort for every terrorist group imaginable and its dog. That sounds like pure aggression to me), the Bush Administration has lost all credibility when it became known that it has auctioned off the reconstruction of flattened Iraq to companies belonging to his minions (so, Lali, you want us to get the port of Umm Qasr fixed so we can send in humanitarian aid or not? You want us to put out the fires Saddam's men set or not? Private companies do both things a lot better than armies do), and, a decisive factor, people are better informed than ever... (You mean that the Western media is permitting Iraq to broadcast its propaganda around the world, something that no other country has ever permitted during wartime).

Lali's solution, anyway, is for the Americans to be forced to withdraw by a UN resolution for a cease-fire and then a process of negotiation for Saddam's exile. Yeah, that's sure realistic there. She feels it is unjust that Blair, Bush, and Aznar will not be punished as war criminals responsible for the "massacre". Sorry, Lali, they won't, but Saddam and his thugs most certainly will be if the Iraqi people don't get hold of them first. I vote we let them string Saddam up themselves if they want to. He'd look lovely hanging off a lamppost.

Plagiarist Márius Serra's column has not been suspended while he is supposedly being investigated internally. It's in the paper today.

Barcelona beat Boy Qaddaffi's soccer team, 5-0. Gerard scored a hat trick. Qaddaffi's son played, badly, during most of the game. 20,000 people showed up. I didn't because it rained. The spectators at the match chanted, "No to the war" and "fervently applauded" Boy Qaddaffi when he left the pitch at the 79th minute. He was also roundly applauded when he took a very bad shot at the Barcelona goal. I wish it had gone in so we could accuse FC Barcelona of tanking a goal for an unspecified amount of cash. Gerard said after the game that he thinks there's some kind of anti-Barcelona conspiracy since they wore those damn peace T-shirts. Somebody's out to get them. See, when the splendid Barcelona fans tossed the pig head and the whiskey bottle and the mobile phones and the lighters and coins at Figo, the club was sanctioned by the Spanish Federation with having to close their stadium during two home games. They appealed and delayed and whatever and now the Federation is putting down its foot and saying, "Look, you are going to close down for two games and you are going to do it sometime this season." They're whining because if the punishment goes into effect now the key games against Real Sociedad and Deportivo will have to be played in some other stadium. Yep, there's a conspiracy against them because they're pacifists. That's why they're threatening to sue the Federation. Can the Federation kick them out of the league? I bet in the States a league can kick out a team that sues it. I've certainly never heard of a team suing any American league except for Al Davis's Oakland Raiders.

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