Thursday, October 18, 2007

One of the things about Catalan nationalism is that there are complete and total jerks on both sides of the issue. Case in point: Albert Boadella, a theatrical director and playwright, who is one of the founders of the Ciutadans anti-Catalan-nationalist political party. I generally agree with Ciutadans's view on nationalism, because it's on the right side of the issue in its campaign against anti-Spanish discrimination.

But Boadella is a self-righteous prick. He's disgruntled because the "cultureta"--that is, the Generalitat-subsidized official lower-middlebrow Tàpies-Porcel-Llach-Joel Joan-Els Pets TV3 Catalan-only exclusivist branch of Catalan culture, which just embarrassed itself before the whole world in Frankfurt--has ignored him and denied him subsidies ever since he began criticizing them. So of course he has to react immaturely. He's written a book, and he held the premiere on a boat offshore of Barcelona "in order not to do it on Catalan territory." How childish.

Of course, this doesn't mean he's going to pack up and leave, since "the climate is benign as long as the nationalists can't change it." Boadella claims that in the rest of Spain, his works fill theaters, while in Catalonia "the silent majority" does not. Well, Al, the market has spoken. People around here won't go see your stuff, for whatever reason. So you have two choices: Give the people what they want, or don't change what you're doing and accept that you're going to be poor and ignored.

But no, Boadella blames his lack of success on a Catalan-nationalist campaign against him, on the part of both Convergence and Union and the Catalan Socialist Party, which would be just about the first time those two lots ever agreed on anything. He claims that they unfairly criticized his work because of his politics; I'd respond that his politics are an integral part of his work, which is generally crappy anyway. Boadella added that he "cares less about Catalonia than Burma."

He's just as bad as Carod-Rovira, but on the other side.

Other notes: Iberia announced that starting in 2010 it will fly four regular nonstop routes from Barcelona El Prat to the US and Latin America. Hey, all you right-thinking perennially indignant Barcelonese, if America sucks so bad, why do you want direct flights there so desperately?

TV3 is gleefully chortling that Sarkozy will be brought down by the combination of the transport strike and his separation from his wife. Naturally, as good capital-S Socialists, they're playing up the marital-discord part, and playing down the fact that Sarkozy is going to stomp the unions on this one. Hispano-Catalan lefties, who are all Francophiles and Americaphobes, have been terribly disappointed at France's turn to the right; they feel abandoned by their parents.

Judge Garzón jailed two more Batasuna leaders, charging them with belonging to a terrorist organization. He added that he was going to lock up a whole bunch more of them. Good. ETA-fomented "kale borroka," street violence in the Basque country, is up massively over the last week. I don't understand why there aren't lots of plainclothes cops all over Basqueland ready to whack these jerks on the head as soon as they torch an ATM or a garbage skip.

The Guardia Civil finished its search of the Odyssey ship, and they didn't find anything or they would have announced it. The ship has been released and is free to go.

The IMF predicts a Spanish economic growth rate of 2.7% for 2008, and Spain's second-largest bank, BBVA, predicts 2.8%. The Zap government's prediction is 3.3%. We'll see who's right. I'm going with the BBVA, since they're the private institution whose income depends on getting such predictions correct. For 2007 the IMF and the Zap government agree that growth will be about 3.7%. The IMF warns that Spanish housing prices may decline because credit has become tighter, making the demand smaller, and it adds that the housing market is considerably more overvalued in such European countries as Britain, Ireland, and Spain than it is in the US. It estimates Eurozone growth for 2007 at 2.5% and for 2008 at 2.1%. The rise in the price of the euro--it hit $1.43 today--is hurting Spanish exports; Spain runs about a 10% trade deficit, which is made up by income from tourism.

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