Spain and the correct relationship between man and dog

Away with those canine metaphors! More Cela in translation!

Mr Freeman’s winning slogan, “Battersea: It’s the dogs!”, and a passerby’s response, “Why are you saying Battersea’s gone to the dogs?” recalled the Charles Butler vs Edward Hugh (which page am I meant to link to?) ding-dong about whether the Spanish economy is merely a shrunken pair of doggy dice (pic) or actually heading full-speed to SW8.

Which in turn recalled a stupendous passage in El molino de viento / The windmill, one of Cela’s lighter bits of localism, in which he reminds us of how good things were before animalist figures of speech addled Northern European brains:

Mr Asterio, the veterinarian, was a very skillful domino player. Mr Asterio Pelayo, the veterinarian, as the result of the kick of a mule, had one ear like a cauliflower. Mr Asterio Pelayo Mozárvez, the veterinarian, was the doyen of the province’s elderly bachelors. Mr Asterio Pelayo Mozárvez, alias Glanders–we’re talking about the veterinarian–had been a progressive councillor.

“If you want to get on in politics,” he used to say before the war, “don’t quarrel with priests, don’t chase whores, don’t poison dogs.”

Afterwards, when war came, they almost shot him: some because they wanted to quarrel with priests, and the others for quite the opposite reason. Neither of the parties to the contest made any utterance regarding dogs, but, since they were all Spaniards, they agreed that dogs are best off stoned and with a tin can tied to their tail.

“Mangy mutt! Cut him off over there, Paquito, and boot him in the eye! Don’t let him get away alive! Whack him on the back, and you’ll see how it cracks!”

None of this should be taken as a recommendation to trust 1930s economists over their contemporary counterparts.

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