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Spanish Views from a Small Town

Thoughts about life in a small Spanish town from a transplanted American, commenting on things that catch my attention.

Not So Fast, 5. The New Garbage Pail Kids.
12 July 2021 @ 21:25

This week, another issue of El Jueves came out, and the camp over at extreme right Vox went berserk. 

To begin, I will explain that El Jueves is much like the American Mad magazine. It is a satirical comic, which lampoons everything that walks on two legs. It doesn't matter who it is, if someone says or does something that catches the public eye, they will be satirized by this magazine. This week, it was Vox's turn. The magazine published a series of fake baseball cards, with different, disgusting characters lampooning actual members of the extremist organization. The artists made them look like the Garbage Pail Kids cards, from the 1980's. The images are a little too disgusting, perhaps, but the lampooning messages are the usual. 

On the official Twitter account of Vox, someone, probably the leader, Santiago Abascal, posted: "Se llama Ricardo Rodrigo Amar y es presidente de RBA, grupo que edita El Jueves. Su revista difunde odio contra millones de españoles a diario. Es posible que muchos de ellos le empiecen a exigir responsibilidades cuando le vean salir de su despacho de la Diagonal de Barcelona." (His name is Ricardo Rodrigo Amar and he's president of RBA, the house that publishes El Jueves. His magazine spreads hate against millions of Spaniards daily. It's possible that many of them will start to demand responsibilities when they see him leave his office on the Diagonal in Barcelona.) This was posted with the RBA president's picture.

They were, via tweet, asking some of their followers to accost the president of a publishing house because one of the magazines they run published a satire of their leaders. That someone might take it into their head to wait for the RBA president to come out and verbally accost him because of this tweet, is bad enough. But there are enough stupids out there, that someone might get into their head to do something a lot worse. Memories of Charlie Hebdo come to mind, and have been mentioned in passing. Journalists' associations have come out against Vox, citing that the tweet is a declaration of war on freedom of press. 

It's not the first time that a satirical magazine has been targeted in this country. Back in the early 1970's, one similar to El Jueves was founded, called El Papus. It was censored many times, and even received fines from Franco's declining government. Then, in 1977, when freedom of speech and press were newly approved, a small group didn't like the satire the magazine was making of those who still yearned for their dear, departed Franco. On the twentieth of September, 1977, a briefcase was left at the office. When it went off, it killed the doorman, injured eighteen people, and destroyed the offices. It didn't kill the main objective, though, which was the director of the magazine. A small terrorist group, Triple A (Alianza Apostólica Anticomunista), claimed the bombing. 

No one was ever charged with it, or with the murder of the doorman, nor with the grave lesions of the secretary, who was declared invalid for life. The act was not recognized as a terrorist act, and the death and the lesions were declared a "labor accident." Not even the Tribunal for Human Rights dared to call it terrorism for "fear of destablizing the young democracy." They got away with murder, literally.

We are not that young democracy any more, but, with the judges looking favorably on Vox, if anything happens to the president of RBA Publications, I fear that whoever is brought to trial will not receive a long prison sentence. Because, of course, Vox wouldn't mind that something happen. They will then blame the victim, saying he provoked a "true" Spaniard into action. Because they are experts at victim blaming. 

We haven't really come that far.

Life continues.



Like 1


Neilg said:
12 July 2021 @ 23:45

A bit smeary.
Vox, it appears, dislikes something that someone has written. In what way is it bad to say that?
The author tries to stand up her smear of Vox by trying to imply that Vox is urging attacks on the publication. No: it is clear that they are urging people to challenge the publication. To make them justify their views. That is the lifeblood of democracy.
An unpleasant blog based upon the unsubstantiated assertion that Vox is "extreme right". Is it really? Its last manifesto was the economically most liberal of any party.
A string of smears that really need substantiating.

cranniedwall said:
13 July 2021 @ 14:47


If someone, or a group, has a problem with a publication in which they feel they have been misrepresented, of course they can challenge the publication. But, in this case, Vox urged its followers to wait for a person to leave his office and challenge him upon exiting his office building. This can give rise to certain misunderstandings. I'm sure you're familiar with the comment, "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?" In such a call, there is always the possibility of misinterpretation, and the person challenged may come to physical harm.

The economical manifesto of a party is not necessarily indicative of their political views. Let's face it, under the first years of Hitler, Germany had a booming economy. Vox has made no attempt to hide the fact that they admire Franco and his dictatorship. Nor have they hidden their views on women's rights, LGBTQ rights, immigration, and many other things. These are easily found in newspaper graveyards, and in their program. My assertions can be checked out in many places, including the centrist newspaper, El País.

I'm sorry we don't agree. But thank you for giving me your thoughts.

Neilg said:
13 July 2021 @ 16:24

Not good enough.
I used to be a journalist and people were always asking me about what I'd written. No harm done.
Yet you, without evidence, are eliding that into physical attacks.
You also fail to prove that Vox are 'extreme right'. All you have done is repeated that other enemies of Vox are using the same slur.
Where's the objectivity in that?

cranniedwall said:
13 July 2021 @ 19:29

I see you talk of "enemies of Vox." I merely mentioned newspaper graveyards, their own program, and the newspaper El País.

1. They are ultra-nationalist.

There is nothing wrong with defending the unity of Spain, but Vox would do away with the different autonomous regions, and strip away the different minority languages of any protections against their disappearance.

2. It supports only traditional views.

Fine, there's nothing wrong with someone supporting the traditional family, or with going to Mass every Sunday. What is wrong is denying those who think differently the chance to live how they wish. There is no Islamization of Spain; in reality it's tending toward an agnostic society. And those who wish to marry someone of their own gender do no ill to anyone.

Within those traditional values, is also the admiration of Francisco Franco. Franco was a dictator who started a civil war against a democratically elected government and then went on to persecute those who thought differently well into the following years, practically until his death. It should be illegal to praise him, as it is to praise Hitler in today's Germany.

3. They are xenophobic.

If it were up to them, all immigrants would be shunted out of the country. Except the wealthy.

4. They use social media to stir up hatred.

That message on Twitter about the president of RBA is not as innocent as you may consider it. It does incite, by asking their followers to wait for someone outside their office, to "demand responsibilities." Responsibilities can be demanded many other ways.

They also use fake rumors and half-truths to spread misinformation, both in the regular media and in social media.

I assume you also expect me to provide specific details. I am not about to spend any more time on this, nor do I have the rest of the evening to do research. But I wouldn't mind if you were to provide some specific reasons on why, for you, Vox is not extreme right.

Neilg said:
13 July 2021 @ 23:53

Not good enough. There is a tendency for the 'woke' to describe anyone they disagree with as 'extreme right'. It is unthinking, uneducated and often a dishonest smear.
You raise a number of points to try to support your 'extreme right' smear:
1. You say Vox want to abolish autonomous regions. So what? How does that support your 'extreme right' slur?
2. Have you any evidence that they want to stop other religions?
3. Have you any evidence that they 'want to shunt all immigrants out of the country'?
I think some people just label views they dislike as 'extreme right' because they are afraid of debating the issues, preferring to try to put them beyond the pail. It happened in the UK with Brexit where Leave voters were routinely depicted as thugs, bigots, racists etc.
You do honest debate of public issues a disservice

cranniedwall said:
14 July 2021 @ 00:15

Fine, then. You give me evidence of how Vox is just another political party that only wants the good of everyone living in Spain, including those who don't think like they do. Explain to me how they defend the rights of women, LGBTQ, immigrants, migrants without papers, and Muslims. Give me specific instances, preferably from reliable sources (though it seems, according to you, that newspapers and their own website aren't). It's only fair to ask you for your evidence, just as you insist on me giving you.

Neilg said:
14 July 2021 @ 00:21

You have made a smear which, no doubt, you intended to be damaging.
You have to substantiate it.
You know the nature of fascism which is the smear I think you want to infer?
It isn´t just men in black shirts. It is corporatism in which all the "interests" in an economy are under state control for the alleged good of the nation. So if Vox is economically liberal, as they are, then how can they be corporatist/statist? Surely that applies more to Spain´s traditional parties than it does to a liberal party?

Neilg said:
14 July 2021 @ 00:25

Incidentally, I´ve just seen your illiberal comment about Franco.
Franco was terrible. Authoritarian and illiberal.
But people should be able to praise him if they misguidedly want to do so. And others can disagree! That´s how it should be in a democracy.
Perhaps it is you that is the authoritarian. I note that Hitler, Stalin, Mao etc etc etc imposed similar bans

cranniedwall said:
16 July 2021 @ 21:57

You seem to be a libertarian. I am not and never will be. You accuse me of not substantiating my claims. Yet, when I asked you to substantiate yours, you didn't do so. Let's just say we're on opposite sides of the fence and will never meet in the middle. If my blog bothers you, don't read it.

Neilg said:
16 July 2021 @ 23:45

I am a liberal. You are an authoritarian looking at the values you espouse

lenox said:
17 July 2021 @ 11:22

Vox? it's an extreme right party sure enough. It is against abortion, euthanasia, sexual freedom and it favours military service, racism and blind nationalism. It wants to make all nationalist and 'communist' parties illegal. It wants the Spanish flag and the national anthem played at all schools. Spanish as the only national language. Deport all illegal immigrants. Deport all legal immigrants who have fallen foul of the law. Close down all 'fundamentalist' mosques and deport radical imams. Ban the teaching of Islam in schools. Build an 'unpassable' wall around Ceuta and Melilla. A full protection of bullfighting. And hunting. Change laws against gender-violence (men are people too!).
It is supported - blindly - by the far-right media (most of the foregoing comes from La Razón).
From El Plural: 'Vox is a fascist party. The right wants to prevent us from calling things by their name' (Opinion).

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