Wednesday, August 24, 2005

La Vanguardia is reporting that a good deal of the conflicts we've been having between civilized people and the local squatters are the fault of a bunch of Italian anarchists who have moved in here because Spanish law is weak and not enforced anyway. I buy that up to a point. The main thing the local squatters are pissed off about is that a handful of them are going on trial in Madrid for some rioting they did here back in around 2002, and I don't see the Italian connection there. As for the rioting here in Gracia at the recent fiesta mayor, they arrested a couple of Italians, but they also arrested some locals, one of whom is from the posh suburb of Sant Cugat.

La Vangua's campaign is in favor of more "civic behavior," but I've got news for them: Very few of their readers are out on the streets setting up barricades and throwing shit at the cops. The only thing that's going to stop uncivic behavior is arresting the people who behave uncivically, and that is something they do not do around here. Too much of Catalan society is still anti-law and order and looks benignly on dumb kids raising hell for no good reason because they're answering the contradictions of modern postindustrial dehumanizing society with humanistic self-expression.

This goes back to pre-Franco days: Much of middle-class society here was mixed up with very unpleasant elements (Esquerra Republicana and Estat Català, just for starters) during the twenty years before the Civil War. Then the Franco regime was obviously unpopular among these same people. Now that there's nothing whatsover to be angry about and we live in a prosperous democracy, this bunch is still not happy because, like, they didn't get everything they wanted from the Constitution so they constantly whine about it. This lot still doesn't deal very well with the concept that everybody has to obey the law, even their own kids.

They're also denouncing Lance Armstrong, two pages at the beginning of today's sports section, on no evidence whatsover for allegedly having taken EPO in 1999. Damn, the Europeans hate to lose. What crybabies. Of course, this comes from the French press. In addition, Andy Robinson claims that Google's plan to provide direct access to over 60 million books is somehow satanic. And, of course, France is afraid that somehow the Americans are going to take over world literary heritage, so they're trying to get the EU to spend more than a hundred million euros on its own program. Seems thay're worried that--guess what--people will read books on European history by American authors. Says the head of the French national library, "It's normal that there is an 'Anglo-Saxon' perspective on cultural heritage, but there should also be a European viewpoint. It is politically essential." And, of course, Portugal is on fire and everyone's unscientifically blaming it on global warming.

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