Daft slogans are, for tourists, the most visible evidence of Barcelona’s role as a Disneyland of absurd and forgotten ideologies. The success of the dominant ultra-nationalist caste in Catalonia in stamping out Spanish and non-standard Catalan from public services is clearly reminiscent of that of Mussolini’s lot in mid-1920s Italy with respect to regional dialects and “foreign” languages like German, yet even by the early 30s José Ortega y Gasset (Artículos 1917-1933) was announcing the expiry of the sell-by-date on such manias:
Communism and fascism … both … arose in 1917. Can there have been, in all of history, a radical stance that has lasted much more than the 15 years corresponding to the predominance of one generation? When I see that today a young person “decides” to become a communist or a fascist, it seems to me as if he were opting for self-improvisation, for auto-anachronism and the renunciation of his own life-mission.
I’m a bit slow today and can’t think of the correct German equivalent for his exceptional use of extemporizarse, but I think “self-improvisation” is close enough, implying a rejection of a thought-through and worthy life.
Here’s the original:
Comunismo y fascismo son formas de la desesperación, son puras decisiones. Deliberadamente he recordado que nacieron hace quince años. Ambos, en efecto, surgen en 1917. ¿Ha habido en toda la historia alguna actitud de radicalismo que haya perdurado mucho más de los quince años correspondientes al predominio de una generación? Cuando veo que hoy un joven “se decide” a hacerse comunista o fascista, me parece como si decidiera extemporizarse, hacerse anacrónico y renunciar precisamente a su propia misión vital.
- Graves in Galician
Carlos Ferrera notes the bizarre preoccupations of Galician nationalist and regional deputy, Bieito Lobeira: If some catastrophe were to occur today that
- Quién soy, quién somos
Catalañol for qui sóc, qui som.
- Translating Lady Chatterley
The other night at a leather parade (lots of parading, not much leather) I got talking to an English-Catalan literary translator.
- Visto pero no oído
El organillo y el cerdito vislumbrados.
- King of Spain
When I went back to live in Ingerland a few years ago, it took a month before I felt I knew