News from out here west of the Besós:
The story that's probably gotten the most attention recently in Spain is the suicide of a woman with muscular dystrophy who had been living in pain for years. She finally got the courts to allow her to turn off her life support. The Catholic hospital she was in would not comply with her wishes, so she was moved to a different hospital which would. Now she's dead.
This opens up the old euthanasia can of worms, of course. This is a pretty clear case of someone who consciously wanted to die, and it seems very cruel not to allow her to. There's an analogy here with De Juana Chaos, who threatened suicide through hunger strike. I'd have allowed him to do it without force-feeding him, which they did for a while.
We had a problem with this in the States, though, that was named Jack Kevorkian. Kevorkian facilitated suicide for many people who were nowhere near terminal cases; some of his victims were merely depressed, and he apparently talked people into killing themselves. It's the old slippery-slope argument that comes up on the terrorism and torture issue, too.
For a country whose media is constantly talking up alleged censorship in the United States, there have been a couple of good ones recently over here in Spain. The first was an ad campaign for the loud, flashy, and tasteless fashion firm Dolce & Gabbana. The photo shows a semi-nude gentleman, surrounded by three other semi-nude gentlemen, restraining a lady in a position somewhat reminiscent of rape.
A Spanish feminist group got all outraged, of course, and the government got into it, and D&G pulled the ad in Spain, saying that Spain "was still backward" and did not know how to appreciate artistic photography. I guess I don't, either--the photo seems just sleazy to me. Reminds me of Mapplethorpe. It doesn't appeal to normal heterosexuals at all. And, of course, the ad campaign did its job--it got massive publicity for the company, which Iberian Notes is right now providing more of.
Meanwhile, the (Socialist) regional government of Extremadura financed, with taxpayers' money, an exhibit of Catholic-porno photos. Naturally everybody got offended. The answer to this is really simple: no government financing whatsoever of the arts. Let the market take care of it. Get private funding. It's not like there aren't thousands of foundations passing out grants. If one of them wants to subsidize photos of Jesus having a wank, fine, but the government ought to stay out of it.
And, of course, the difference in the treatment handed out to Christians and Muslims is appalling. The Zap government criticized the famous cartoons of Mohammed for offending Muslims. But we can subsidize photos of the Virgin Mary giving Jesus head and that doesn't offend anybody.
Meanwhile, get this. The Generalitat, Catalonia's regional government, subsdizes this guy to make porno movies in Catalan. He has received almost €30,000 "in order to contribute to the diffusion of the Catalan language."
I think I'm going to apply to the Gene for a subsidy myself. Let's see. I'm one of the most flatulent people in the world, due to my vegetarian diet which is heavy on those beans and cruciferous vegetables, not to mention the occasional egg. I'm going to bottle my own farts. They're a work of art. My ringpiece is a musical instrument. Perhaps I'll even provide the audio for each bottled fart. I'm sure true aficionados will appreciate the difference between a long-built-up bean burrito fart and a quick-and-juicy scrambled eggs job. Where's my €30,000?