viernes, 16 de octubre de 2015

Truly the Best Comedy of the Year

Last night I saw the final episode of what must be one of the funniest satires I have seen in a long time - True Detective 2.
Three tormented cops. One with, wait for it, a drink problem and an estranged wife! And a fat kid who is teased at school. But just a second, maybe he isn't your son after all, because your wife was raped around that time, wasn't she. That's right, so you killed the culprit. Only you didn't, because it was the wrong man!
Another cop, a woman in a man's world. Alas she too has a cross to bear. A weird, hippy family background, a hooker sister, a rape that maybe wasn't, or maybe was. How about if she ends up falling in love with the first cop?
And the third one, maybe gay? Gay but hasn't fully accepted it? Bit suicidal, as they all seem to be. Murky past, needless to say.
And the baddies? Pulled straight out of the fifties B movies. Hilarious dialogues between the gangster, friend of cop A, and his wife. White suit, white dress, our baby! Heaven.

Don't miss the salute cop A gives to his son. And the tears of the ex wife as she finds out that this true detective was indeed the natural father. Or the way the lovers of the dead cops know that they have died via telepathy and burst out crying.

It's full of all the most topical typical clichés possible. It had me in stictches. Let's hope that at the American Awards for Best comedy True Detective wipes the board.

martes, 13 de octubre de 2015

Our European Fortress

This is not new news. Immigrants have been literally dying to reach our shores for decades. But now, with the Syrian crisis, refugees are once more back in the papers.
I sincerely hope that one day, this short piece, Bellavista, will no longer ring true.

lunes, 21 de septiembre de 2015

A crime is a crime is a crime, luckily.

The International Day of Peace.  The International Day of Happiness, of Malaria, of the Full Moon.  Even World Statistics Day. But as far as I know, there is still no International Day of the Delinquent.
This may sound flippant, but it falls into line with the American National Gun Association and its claim that the weapons industry employs thousands of workers. Or that the tobacco firms also help sustain not only jobs, but State Finances through the amount of taxes paid.
Thieves, murderers, embezzlers, fraudsters and infringers of the law in general give employment to thousands upon thousands of workers. The Police Force is the first to spring to mind, but we should not forget the prison system and its service industries. Nor the lawyers and judges and social workers needed to redirect these dysfunctional criminals.
Wrongdoers are indeed an essential part of the fabric of any prosperous nation. Without the corrupt there would be no need for investigative journalists. Without financial engineering endless hours of judicial scrutiny would become unnecessary. Without international skullduggery the innumerable and well paid watchdog committees would soon be twiddling their thumbs.
So an International day for Miscreants, Felons and Malefactors is something worth campaigning for. After all, it is in the government’s interest, isn’t it?

lunes, 15 de junio de 2015


Mucha polémica con los chistes en Twitter del concejable de cultura en Madrid. Los (ahora sí) puritanos, dolidos por su derrota, le han linchado públicamente por falta de sensibilidad, y por ser un impresentable.  Se indignan los españoles (ahora sí) honrados y respetables porque ellos nunca utilizarían el humor negro. ¡Jamás!
En el mundo Anglo-sajón estamos más acostumbrados a este tipo de humor, y no nos ofendamos con tanta facilidad (vacuidad).
“Humour is tragedy plus time”. El humor es tragedia,  más tiempo. Así lo dijo Mark Twain.  Y es una tendencia muy humana. El Holocausto fue, sin ninguna duda, uno de los episodios más oscuros de la humanidad. Es un horror casi inconcebible por su magnitud, pero aun así hay chistes, miles y miles de ellos, sobre esa tragedia. Incluso los judíos, y conozco a bastantes, se ríen con el humor negro de estos chistes.
Dicen los expertos, y la vox populi también, que el humor ayuda a distanciarnos del horror, a asimilar situaciones drásticas, a sobrevivir. Con el tiempo, somos capaces de reírnos de casi todo, pero sobre todo de lo que se llama ‘la violación moral'. Es decir, que encontramos más divertidos chistes que de alguna manera hace que nos cuestionamos, o que directamente voltean, nuestros estándares de moralidad.
Pero aceptar esa realidad no hace daño al rival, así que no creo que sirvan de nada estas palabras. Seguirán hasta conseguir algún beneficio de su repentina falta del sentido de humor.
Pero quizás, pasados unos años, podrán mirar hacia atrás y reírse de su postureo político y del ridículo que están haciendo.

jueves, 30 de abril de 2015

Self criticism

There was an interesting programme on Spanish TV on Monday night.  Three journalists, from leading newspapers in France, Germany and the United States, were discussing the current political climate in Spain.
All three of them pointed out one aspect which particularly surprised them. After years of austerity and cuts in social spending, to date no right wing xenophobic party has emerged (unlike in France, Greece, UK…).
That this should catch their attention shows how little they understand the Spanish electorate.
The party in power, Partido Poular, is right wing enough for most Spaniards, nostalgic as it is for other, now discredited regimes. It embraces not only the moderate right, but also the far right, those who would happily bring back authoritarianism and recreate a centralised, Catholic nation. So there is no need for another, extreme right wing party, as the poor response to Vox has so clearly underlined.
But more than that, the fact that Spanish politicians have under achieved does not mean that the Spanish electorate is undemocratic or tired of the format. The famous Transition was left unfinished, that is undeniable now. Perhaps the politicians believed that with left wing/right wing rotation real democracy would be achieved. Unfortunately they now realise it takes a lot more than that. Eradicating corruption is only possible with stricter control, and that means breaking down the oligarchies and corporate interests that riddle the Spanish state.
The irruption of alternative parties such as Podemos or Cuidadnos proves that the voter is mature, unafraid to do away with bipartisanship if necessary and embrace alternative politics.
There is a desire to have a modern, truly democratic state, honest and efficient.  Because democracy is not about political leanings, but about how a government can best serve its people. 
It would be simpler to blame immigrants for the current situation, but it would not ring true. The problem with Spain lies in its political leaders. So they will be changed.

jueves, 26 de marzo de 2015

All sewn up

Market forces dictate the world economy, and they've got it all pretty well sewn up.

Here's the trick.
You manufacture in the cheapest country with the lowest labour costs.
You sell on the best and most expensive markets.
You pay tax in the country that offers you the best deal, or in tax havens if you can swing it.

Obscene profits guaranteed.

No wonder they call it Free Trade!

So maybe, instead of stating where the article was produced, Made in China, for example, multinationals should be forced to add yet another label.

Tax Paid in Luxemburg, for instance. Tax paid in Ireland. Tax Paid in the Virgin Isles.

Then let the customer, who is always right, decide what to do next.

lunes, 16 de febrero de 2015

The Executioners

In Oklahoma they are thinking about bringing back the gas chamber because their supply of anaesthetic drugs has run dry.  Or the electric chair, or the firing squad.
There are a thousand ways to kill a human; we are very inventive on that score. Thankfully most of the excessively cruel ones, like hanging the culprit upside down over a sulphur pit, have falling into disuse. Nowadays for the State to eliminate one of its members there has to be a swathe of laws to guarantee that the miscreants are put down mercifully.
In ISIS they don’t waste time with legal niceties. They are not interested in killing ‘humanely’ like their hypocritical American cousins. Beating about the Bush is not their style.
Public execution is all the rage. Off with their heads! And upload it to the web for all to see. 
And we do, with morbid curiosity.
We had believed that the days of barbaric slaughter were over, a thing of the past, the stuff of History. Wrapped in comfort and relative security we had faith in the positive evolution of mankind. But as Lord of the Flies tried to warn us, the barbarian is inside us all. The veneer of civilisation that we have acquired over the centuries is fragile and thin. In one generation the culture of millennium is blown away.
We are what we learn. If we are taught to hate and destroy, we do so with verve and efficiency. If we are told that we have the right to set ourselves up as judges and executioners, so be it. Let the guilty tremble, our hands will not shake!
In the name of God, in the name of the Law, in the name of some Ideology or other, it makes no difference. It is power over persuasion, obedience over education. That is the real conflict. But it is a never-ending conflict; we must at all times remain alert and nip these attitudes in the bud. Not by the use of force, but by the use of reason, culture, tolerance and humanity.
There is no utopia. The moment we relax our efforts others will take advantage of that laxity. 
And we will be the first against the wall.