Category Archives: Rants

Shut down democracy to save democracy!

One of the more esoteric arguments against the Catalan independence referendum (an argument favoured by our erstwhile interlocutor who still may not speak his name), is that the act of holding such a referendum is so profoundly undemocratic, it should be prevented at all costs.

The basic premise of the position is, with apologies to Voltaire:

"I do not agree with what you say, and I'll defend to the death any powers which will let me or the Spanish state stop you from saying it".

Thankfully, it has been put even more clearly on Nació Digital. Absolutely no chance that this is a spoof.

Jo amb la legalitat, jo amb C's 

Ciutadà no delincuent , 01/03/2013 a les 20:34
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Esta persona que votaría en un referendum ilegal antidemocrático es un delincuente y por lo tanto debería actuar la fiscalía y la justicia para quitarle su acta de diputado y sus derechos políticos (inhabilitación del derecho a voto y a presentarse en unas eleccciones por lo menos durante 25 años).Es antidemocrático que los catalanes voten un referendum. Quien votara deberia ser ajusticiado por el ejército. No se puede ir en contra del Reino de España porque Cataluña en sí misma no es nada, no existe, no es ni un país ni nada igual que el dialecto catalán muchas veces confundido con una lengua.YO SOC DEMOCRATA PER AIXO VOTO ALBERT RIVERA PER PRESIDENT

TODS AMB CIUTADANS!!!!!

Good luck to him, I say. The best way we can defeat a public expression of an opinion we dislike these days is to deem it 'undemocratic'. Makes it all so simple.

Why some control of the press does not mean Hitler

Boing Boing is one of the most enjoyable blogs around. It combines silly shit with genuinely interesting shit in a format that people like me have loved for years. From time to time, editors of Boing Boing, respected as they are as media experts, get a chance to comment on current affairs on newspaper websites like that of The Guardian. This is cool because new media arseholes like myself yearn for old media recognition. Well, I don't. But the rest of them do.

So Cory Doctorow, the dude from Boing Boing, gets to write a column from time to time for The Guardian. Which is something I'd love to do (except for the rooting around in my private life, the tall poppy syndrome mentality and the likelihood of my words being twisted by some scumbag on a personal blog: kudos for avoiding comments on your column, Cory: that's the best way to stop dissent).

In his column, Doctorow celebrates the downfall of the News of the World because of its revolting tactics [it's the paper's attitude which was even more revolting as far as I'm concerned], but warns that such a case ought not be used to "rein in the press".

Doctorow, full of the fear of fascism, agonises:

For me, the phrase "the press is too powerful" is as chilling as "these elections are too time-consuming" or "this secret ballot is just a farce" or "due process is too expensive; we know who's guilty and who isn't." It is a contradiction in terms: for while it's possible for a particular company or cartel to be too powerful, the idea that the institution of the press is too powerful is Orwellian. If a media company grows too powerful, that generally means the press is not powerful enough: an all-eclipsing media empire blots out press freedom by monopolising distribution channels, distorting discourse and allying itself with this party or that in exchange for favours and (of course) more power. A powerful press is one built on vigorous, pluralistic debate, one that allows new voices to emerge and new points of view to be heard. The more diverse the press is, the more powerful it becomes.

 

Sadly, this is his response to suggestions that the press (that old dog we can't quite bring ourselves to shoot) ought not regulate itself, but that someone else should take a look at the whole mess and… sort shit out.

When I say "the press is too powerful", I do not mean, "there ought to be a commission what decides on what, how and why a newspaper reports a story". No, I mean to say: "the press, outside of its service of information to the people, and reporting important news and suchlike, ought not exert such power over Government that said Government is rendered entirely at the mercy of a foreign man hellbent on a personal crusade whose ideology is exactly that by which he became the most powerful media magnate in our history".

I hope the entire empire comes tumbling down.

Incidentally, England already has very attractive and lucrative libel laws. So Doctorow clearly doesn't know what he's talking about.

You don't speak Catalan. And you've lived here how long?

One of the most frustrating debates I have with other expats (never Spaniards) in Barcelona is the one about Catalan school teaching. I know various Poles, Brits and Germans who bang on about Catalan being a stupid/dead/useless language and how they'd rather have their (real or imagined) kids educated in Castilian Spanish. Not one of these people speaks any Catalan. And they've been here for years.*

Of course, that's each individual's prerogative. Speak whatever language you like. But if you've been here for a few years and you don't speak a word of it, something's wrong. You know why? It's not that hard.

If you speak Spanish, Italian or French, you should be able to pick up some Catalan in weeks. I'm not talking about nivell C, but you should be able to understand a school teacher if you've been here for a few years. You just should. If you don't, you're either incapable or unwilling. What's it to be?

I'm happy to talk about language policy etc, with someone who can speak Catalan (like Trevor at kalebeul). But if you've made no effort to learn it – and it's just NOT THAT DIFFICULT – then your opinion means nothing to me. Make the effort, then you're entitled to your opinion.

==

*It is surely a coincidence that many of these people are given to a weird sort of anti-immigrant casual racism which is as unpleasant as it is illogical. Guys, you are immigrants. So am I. Do you lack all self knowledge?!

/rant