Sunday, November 19, 2006

Here's a fascinating AP story on the release of extensive Nazi Holocaust archives, which will certainly provide us with much more specific knowledge on what happened in all of Europe during the Second World War.

Meanwhile, Burger King has launched a new monsterburger here in Spain and our local enlightened and illustrated are of course indignant, so indignant that they've roused the Health Ministry.

And the Christian Science Monitor has an extensive report on Zap's Alliance of Civilizations.

Here are the main planks of the A of C's platform:

• The international community should draft a white paper to analyze the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
• An international conference should be convened to reinvigorate the Middle East peace process.
• Ruling parties in the Muslim world should provide space for the participation of peaceful political groups.
• Leaders and shapers of public opinion should behave responsibly and work to promote understanding among cultures.
• The UN should appoint a high representative to assist in defusing cross-cultural tensions.
• The UN should establish a forum for the alliance of civilizations under its auspices.
• Journalists should receive improved training in intercultural understanding.
• Media content should aim to promote intercultural dialogue.
• Educational materials and media literacy programs in schools should face a critical review.
• Governments should increase the number of international youth exchanges and youth-oriented websites.
• The international community should create media campaigns to combat discrimination.

Just brilliant. That'll fix everything. The only concrete steps I can see in the plan would involve censorship: "training journalists," which would mean indoctrinating them; media promoting "international dialogue," , which would mean someone controlling what they report; a "critical review" of educational materials, which would amount to a complete rewriting; "creating media campaigns to combat discrimination," which would mean straight-out official propaganda.

Speaking of "censorship," here's Josep Cuní of TV3's morning show, on which I have appeared several times. Note that Cuní is the TV3 guy who Manuel Trallero was accusing of bias in favor of Israel the other day. Cuní brags about having spent a couple years in the US, and once recommended a Jeremy Rifkin book to me. Why, of all people, that idiot Rifkin, I have no idea, but that's the kind of person Cuní seems to take seriously.

Although the official excuse is that no distributor has been found in the United States to facilitate (Al Jazira's) programming on cable, which is how the world reaches a Yankee, the truth is that Washington's pressures have, for now, impeded the empire from seeing the "terrible side of the conflict."

What an arrogant and ignorant jerk. Cable, "how the world reaches a Yankee"? Ever heard of internet, radio, broadcast TV, newspapers, and newsmagazines, Mr. Cuní? Hint: The Americans invented all of them in their modern form, with the possible exception of newspapers, for which some would claim British priority. As for "Washington's pressures," that is cheap conspiracy theory crap. Who in Washington? What pressures? And the use of the words "Yankee" and "empire" demonstrate that Mr. Cuní is suffering from sovereign-nationalist anti-American bias.

We're going to see "Borat" this afternoon; TV3 is going to begin running the TV series on Tuesday and their slogan in the teaser ads they've been showing is "The program that puts the United States up against the ropes." For some reason, over here in Spain they don't really get a lot of Anglo-Saxon comedy. They think stuff like the Simpsons is an acid commentary on the hellishness of American society rather than just being a laugh. Today Jorde Batlle Caminal in La Vanguardia called the movie "an extremely furious sociopolitical satire." I asked Murph, my informant on all things British, and he said, "No, it's just a piss-take."

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