Their Head-Bashers – and ‘Ours’: Hong Kong vs. Catalonia

I don’t claim to know enough about the situation Hong Kong to render a definite opinion about the true sources of the citizen uprising there. My sense, however, is that while the roots of protest movement are probably largely indigenous, the US has opportunistically latched itself on to the cause of the protesters, and is … Continue reading “Their Head-Bashers – and ‘Ours’: Hong Kong vs. Catalonia”

The Ghosts of Chauncey Gardner and Francisco Franco at the Trials of the Catalan Independentists in Madrid

Watching the trials of the Catalan independentists now taking place at Spain’s highest court in Madrid, I have been reminded again and again of a scene from Hal Ashby’s marvelous 1979 movie Being There. The protagonist of that film, Chauncey Gardner, played by Peter Sellers, is a fiftyish man who has never ventured outside the … Continue reading “The Ghosts of Chauncey Gardner and Francisco Franco at the Trials of the Catalan Independentists in Madrid”

What Nerve! Catalonians Trying to Swear in the Coalition That Won the Most Votes

On December 21st, 2017, Catalans went to the polls to choose representatives for their Autonomous parliament. This, however, was no normal election for it did not come about because the previous legislative term had ended, or because the sitting president had called for early elections. Rather, it occurred because the central government in Madrid did … Continue reading “What Nerve! Catalonians Trying to Swear in the Coalition That Won the Most Votes”

Never Mind: Big Media and the Catalonia Vote

Americans of a certain age will almost all remember Gilda Radner’s Emily Litella character from NBC’s Saturday Night Live. She was the little old lady who regularly appeared on the Weekend Update mock news program to give her opinion on the pressing events of the day. Week after week she would launch into involved explanations … Continue reading “Never Mind: Big Media and the Catalonia Vote”

Catalonia and the Art of Differential Diagnosis

As in the sound practice of medicine, the key to generating useful political analysis lies in the art of differential diagnosis. This is especially true in times of apparent epidemics. When seemingly similar symptoms arise in numerous patients, or in the case of politics, in numerous sites of social action, there is an enormous temptation … Continue reading “Catalonia and the Art of Differential Diagnosis”

Last Sunday In Catalonia: Pirates 1, The Invincible Armada 0

One of the many stereotyped images of the Catalans propagated over the years by the Castile-centered Spanish state is that of the freebooting corsair interested, above all, in money, and disposed to doing just about anything to get more of it, a mindset, it is said, that makes them fundamentally different and less trustworthy than … Continue reading “Last Sunday In Catalonia: Pirates 1, The Invincible Armada 0”

Catalonia: Spanish Centralism or Self-Defeating Hubris of the Authoritarian Mind?

On Wednesday, the Spanish government conducted a number of armed raids upon government ministries in Barcelona, and effectively suspended the charter of the autonomous government to which they belong in order to interdict the circulation of that most dangerous of social threats: ballot boxes and the little paper slips that citizens place in them on … Continue reading “Catalonia: Spanish Centralism or Self-Defeating Hubris of the Authoritarian Mind?”

Breaking: Forced Takeover of Catalan Government Institutions by Spanish Police Ahead of Oct. 1 Vote

I just got of the phone with Josep Maria Sole Sabaté, my friend and a leading Catalan historian and public intellectual. He was nothing short of breathless as he described the helicopters flying overhead stated flatly that he was in the the midst of a coup being carried out by the Spanish State. He wanted … Continue reading “Breaking: Forced Takeover of Catalan Government Institutions by Spanish Police Ahead of Oct. 1 Vote”

NPR Publishes an Annotated Version of Trump’s Inaugural Speech

Working in what I presume they see as the interest of factual accuracy, NPR has published an annotated version of Trump’s inaugural speech. In theory, this is probably a good idea. My problem with it lies in the network’s clearly selective use of this practice. They did not, to my knowledge, ever do anything of … Continue reading “NPR Publishes an Annotated Version of Trump’s Inaugural Speech”