Why Spain loves rancid foreign musical clich├ęs

Easy: in a country prone to civil war it’s important to have something everyone can agree on, regardless of their local ethnic and linguistic allegiances. The Balkans form the obvious comparison: chronically incapable of even vaguely democratic self-government, they imported German princes in the nineteenth century and are now erecting statues of Bob Marley. So…

Of prostitution in Spain

Since both Spanish prostitution and Henry Mayhew came up yesterday, I thought it would be interesting to combine them and copy-paste from the excellent (though slow) Perseus database at Tufts the latter’s view of the former. I assume his street prostitutes who “traffic for the bare means of subsistence and submit to any and every…

Bonaparte moon

A double reflection makes up the man who was born on the thirteenth day of the moon, lost his throne on the thirteenth day of the moon, and fought the battle of Waterloo on the thirteenth day of the moon: I wonder if Josephine’s astrological babblings didn’t cause Napoleon’s natural military interest in the moon…