Langston Hughes in Spain

Idealism vs realism as a Stalinist hack copes with the Italian bombing of Barcelona but struggles to explain why Moorish peasants are slaughtering Spanish workers in the battle for Madrid.

Langston Hughes in 1936.

Politics, the art of confusion

A borrowed verdict on the current public utterances of Spanish officials, and a suggestion that the Catalan national question may be about to be resolved in the same way it was in 1918-23.

The demolition of <a href=''>Puig i Cadafalch's symbolic four columns</a> in 1928, CC from <a href=''>Wikimedia Commons</a>

A dangerous lack of a sense of his own absurdity

I know a quite considerable number of clever, balanced Italians, and I also believe that there are millions more out there. Tragically none of them seem to show the slightest inclination to get involved in their country’s political process, which is left to people like Berlusconi, who, while not a new class of José Antonios…

Heil controversy in Catalan school book

El Mundo apparently says that Catalan schools are using a book which encourages small children to give the Hitler salute. Not so: heil is afaik an old-fashioned and regionally-specific greeting, along the lines of the English hail. The publisher is wrong to believe that this is the normal greeting–that’s hallo–and El Mundo is wrong, as…

Amando de Miguel gets something right about English

Amando de Miguel’s blog contains myriad hoards of fascinating localisms, but, as has been observed in the past, as soon as thought of the English language enters through one ear, reason appears to exit via the other. Re criticisms of the poor Catalan spoken by José Montilla, the Catalan president, de Miguel writes that “ethnic…

Berlusconi and the new (Roman) falange

Mr Clarke blogging at It’s Probably The Pox, My Son links to a typical bit of mendacity, or gross ignorance if you are feeling charitable, from John Hooper at the Guardian: Silvio Berlusconi, who won a general election earlier this month, welcomed the latest evidence of Italy’s leap to the right by declaring: “We are…