Russia March 18th 2018. Now, before you go reaching for the sackcloth and the ashes, think of how very, VERY much this is going to piss off Theresa May, and Boris Johnson, and Gavin “Spiderman” Williamson, and Andrew Marr, and Jonathan Freedland, and Mario Vargas Llosa (but not Henry Kissinger , alas; he’s unpissoffable). See? not all is Gloom & Doom. After all, anyone’s gonna bring about Armageddon, it ain’t gon’ be Vlad the Impervious, innit, no matter what the Daily Mail says. And here’s an extra Reason to Be Cheerful: unlike with all those downed planes, Trump, Brexit, the Catalan Panto, chemical attacks, poisoned has-been spooks and so on, this time we really, really can, genuinely, legitimately and with concrete evidence on our tables, blame Russia for this. The Russians done it, your Honour! Life can be so sweet…:-)
Ciénaga Culture Dogs. Actually, in the original Ciénaga (Argentina) pattern that another fit of “cultural appropriation” inspired this lot, they’re supposed to be llamas. But that’s neither here nor there. My beasties are dogs and that’s that. This family snap is for all the pre-Columbian cultures of South America that were wiped out, totally or nearly totally, over the centuries, by successive waves of invaders, both foreign and domestic, but mostly foreign, from the Arawak to the Tehuelches. They are the ultimate non-Charlies and, as far as popular awareness is concerned, non-existent; that is, few people know they ever roamed the Earth and hunted and gathered and laughed and mused and made love and dreamed in the deep forests and on the altiplanos and in the green valleys and all over the endless plains. I mean, when was the last time you saw a poster proclaiming “Je suis Mapuche!”? Just as I’m still waiting for one screaming “Je suis Grenfell!” It’ll never cease to amaze me the infinite capacity of Crapitalism to pervert the course of reason and convince “the people” of the righteousness of its actions, no matter how cruel, unthinking or repulsive, so that the colonization of South America, or the invasion of the North American West, or that of Iraq, for that matter, were philanthropic, civilizing feats undertaken for the benefit of the ignoble savages that inhabited those places. Just like the enquiry into the Grenfell social cleansing* has resulted in a court ruling that will see the owners of dwellings with dodgy, combustion-prone cladding, lumbered with thousands of pounds, as they have been deemed responsible for the removal of said shoddy materials and replacement with newer, safer ones (very possibly also of dubious efficacy). Really, if the creative inventiveness of our dear leaders could be directed towards the common good instead of the major benefit of the racketeers, this world would be a sodding Garden of Eden, forsooth!
*Have a shufti as these names:
Socratic Whirls. Real happiness, like true love, is in short supply these days. There’s a lot of ersatz geniality, frenetic joviality, spasmodically hysterical fun and veritable truckloads of prefabricated bliss, but not genuine, fulfilling, life-giving happiness. In part because it’s boycotted, when not actually demonized, by The Man’s Machine because it’s too subversive, and in part because people seem to have forgotten that this rare bird is not to be found in your 10,000 “friends” on the mind-numbing FaceSoddingBook, or in 20,000 insipidly “inspirational” re-Twits, and even less in the 30,000 “Likes” on any (anti)social media platform. So, as a kind of public service, here are the Socratic Whirls with the first chapter of a kind of do-it-yourself guide to the bewildered hastily clobbered together with the Shoggoths, the Worms and other members of the Family. Enjoy.
And since Barbie is mentioned in the anti-list, here’s a bonus:
To paraphrase Adorno, you gotta laugh because there’s nothing to laugh about. 🙂
Vanitas Variation. Itches must be scratched. I’ve been itching for some time now to do a re-take of the old subject and my own previous version. Also, something with a Doomsday Clock in it. Another Vanitas seemed the perfect excuse.
Love Birds. Birds wrapped in a bubble of solipsistic love, in a Love Garden, observed with forensic amazement by another couple of birdies. Totally unrelated and certainly not intentionally, I nevertheless dedicate this ‘ere doodle to all the Spanish girls who have taken to the streets, blocked roads, disrupted public life and made a wonderful nuisance of themselves, today, 8th of March 2018, on International Women’s Day. Thus I break a personal tradition of never doing “Days”. Rules are made to be broken. Go for it, quillas! Tell ‘em what’s what! And remember the old song:
A kick in the groin
Can be quite detrimental
Karate is a girl’s best friend.
In Memoriam. Antonio Fraguas de Pablo “Forges”. 17 January 1942 – 22 February 2018
Last week another loved one, one of those I’ve never met but who had been with me from way, way back, climbed the cypress’ path, to put it with The Poet (Salvador Espriu). Antonio Fraguas de Pablo “Forges” left the world of matter and passed on into legend and cartoon heaven. He left us, his devoted life-long buffs, desolate, bereft and deprived. He left a vast and wondrous legacy, however. His gently biting humour, his irreverence, his love of life and of his beloved country and its languages will live and linger for as long as there’s ink and paper or pixels and screens. Back then, even long before Spain transitioned from the Middle Ages to Modernity, Forges was there for us with his Blasillos and his Marianos and his Conchas, his funcionarios and chupatintas, his corrupt politicians and his shipwrecked chaps, and his multifarious army of characters, both human and animal, all of them invariably sporting spectacles (yes, even his sardines wore glasses). In them dark days, the natives of “clean and noble, cultured, rich, free, clever and happy”*countries had existentialist philosophers and Noam Chomsky. We had Forges. On hindsight, and given that I never cared one fig for Sartre or his girlfriend, that Chomsky appears to have gone gaga, and that I’ve come to regard most Anglo-Saxons as a bunch of peasants, I’m so very grateful I was born where and when I was.
So, being a devout atheist yet feeling the need to formalize an expression of my grief, I betook myself to the shrine of the Great Un-Cognizable Celestial Auntie to pray for don Antonio’s subatomic particles. May they fare well and far, and fill the universe with their irrepressible joy, their kind-hearted sarcasm and their love. The pilgrimage was great fun and very educational, although most of the really juicy questions went unanswered, as I suspected they would. Like: is Auntie pregnant? If yes, who is the father of the fierce-looking maybe-baby that may or may not squat in her cryptic womb? Why are the two custodian FattyBumbums there? Have they taken to moonlighting as “security” to dodgy demiurges? And, most puzzling of all, why the scroll at Madamina’s feet bears a fragment of a poem by Joan Salvat-Papasseit? Never mind. It’s the thought that counts. And the willingness to ask the questions, especially the awkward ones.
Here’s a few links to the dearly departed stuff, mostly for the benefit of Spanish-speakers:
*Again, Salvador Espriu. Assaig de cántic en el temple