Lluís Foix is another of the lost old fools who wander round La Vanguardia gabbling the ultra-conservative mantras of the Franco era, but with a Catalan accent, bien entendu. Lying (sorry: publishing extraordinary errors of fact) about America has been an integral part of La Vanguardia’s corporate culture for a very long time, and Mr Foix provides a fine example for the younger generation. And so the catalogue of fallacies which he presents today to the world as journalism under the title American Hegemony shouldn’t surprise you in the least. Here is a brief selection of corrections:
- A million marines? Let’s make that roughly 170,000 marines, and they don’t just serve at sea. That’s marineros you’ll be thinking of, Mr Ex-Correspondent in London and Washington, but even then the number’s wrong.
- There is not a lot of crime in the States, relatively speaking. In fact, according to the International Crime Victim Survey figures, roughly the same percentage of people in Spain as in the US are victims annually of one or more of a basket of popular crimes.
- I am not by any means a fan of what Mr Bush believes constitutes economic policy, but it is simply untrue that there has been an explosion of poverty in the States. Poverty rates are roughly the same now as in the early 70s, and the marginal increase in the early 2000s simply reflects the recession, which it seems slightly unfair to blame completely on Mr Bush. I look forward to Mr Foix blaming upcoming increases in the Catalan poverty rate – due to job losses caused by corporate relocations and salary cuts imposed by those multinationals that stay – on Mr Zapatero.
- Mr Foix is confounded by the awfulness of empires past, and predicts with glee the rapid demise of American do-goodery overseas. However he omits to mention one imperial enterprise, far bloodier proportionally and far less valuable to humankind than any I can think off at this moment (except perhaps the Belgians in central Africa): the Crown of Aragon’s attempts at Mediterranean expansion during the late Middle Ages. Some people do remember: I’ll bet you didn’t know – this is first-hand knowledge, no bullshit, and it must be documented somewhere – that there is still a bit of Greece up towards the Albanian border where the local interpretation of the word “Catalan” serves as a synonym for “barbarian”.
- He cites, describes as a “splendid book”, Barbara Tuchman’s “the March of Folly in which she conducts an exhaustive review of the history of all empires, beginning with the Spanish and ending with the British.” That’s interesting, because if he had but read the sub-title – “From Troy to Vietnam” – he would know that it was slightly broader in scope than his “reading” suggests. (Buy it: )
- This, however, is the one that cracks me up. Mr Foix, mega-corporatist, anti-capitalist, can’t spell the name of one of the world’s best-known Marxist historians, Eric Hobsbawm. “Hobswamm”, indeed!
What a moron.
- Having your glass of water and drinking it
Coverage of the Barcelona water crisis in yesterday’s Vanguardia was a standard victimist litany: Our consumption per capita is low compared to
- Unnacompanied into the woods?
The other day someone gave me the (impeccable) English translation of Gabriel Tortella’s classic El desarrollo de la España contemporánea. Historia
- Reading in China
When people emerge from feudalism only to find themselves imprisoned once more by pyschopaths dressed as plumbers, it’s difficult to take
- In praise of virtual travel writing
Nice story here about underpaid author Thomas Kohnstamm, who wrote his Lonely planet guide without going to Columbia. (Or did he
In the last 8 years 922,200 foreigners have moved to Catalonia, taking their share from 2.9% to 15% of total population.