Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Giving And Taking Offence: Moments Of 2016

With there having been as much politics as there has been this year - failed election, failed investitures and so on - there was ample opportunity for the insults to fly. But the best was left until the end. With Mariano Rajoy on the point of being anointed, the Catalonia Republican Left's Gabriel Rufián decided to lay into PSOE, with whom he was less than impressed for facilitating the investiture. Traitors to socialism, he declared. Are they not ashamed to bow to the designs of a cacique that governs an autonomous community (he was referring to Andalusia)? A raw nerve was touched. PSOE were in uproar, their anger with Rufián matched only by that of Podemos, who walked out en masse when the Partido Popular's Rafael Hernando referred to four million dollars of Venezuelan party funding.

By the end of October, when these pleasantries were being exchanged, Congress had become used to the new realities of its make-up. Podemos strode in for the first time, and there were baffled looks on the faces of members of the PP as the Tenerife deputy, Alberto Rodríguez, was presented. Alberto sports full-on dreadlocks in a bun and a permanently angry expression. The (PP) vice-president of Congress, Celia Villalobos, offered her views. She didn't mind there being rastas in Congress so long as they were clean and didn't have lice. Alberto grew angrier still.

The PP were to be the target of one Carlos Pons Camps. A member of Esquerra de Menorca (Menorca Left), he had stood as a candidate at the December general election (coming absolutely nowhere). Four months later, he was still smarting. In fact, he was bloody furious, so much so that he took to social media and proposed the extermination of every single PP voter: roughly ten million people across Spain. He later apologised.  

Someone else who was forced to say sorry was Victor Fernández of Podemos in Alicante. Following the death of the Valencia "boss", the PP's Rita Barberá, he tweeted that she should be burned in order to keep a family without resources warm for a week. Even Podemos condemned his "deplorable behaviour". It had been black humour, he explained, but he promised not to do it again.

Twitter was the favoured medium of Loreto Amoros. She was to find herself as a candidate for the Senate with a suddenly and newly formed party, Sobirania per a les Illes (which just as suddenly un-formed itself). Suffice it to say that she didn't get elected, which didn't owe anything to her tweeting output. A 45-year-old mother of four, this hadn't prevented Loreto bombarding followers with her views on sex - "the week goes really slowly without fucking" - and on the Archbishop of Toledo, who merited a bullet in the back of the neck. To be fair to her, the archbishop had suggested that gender violence was linked to the fact that women asked for a divorce.

The archbishop would doubtless have disapproved of a video created by a 17-year-old Palma schoolboy which featured, inter alia, references to sex acts involving Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Various moral custodians (including the PP) were up in arms, citing religious hatred and law regarding the corruption of minors and pornography.

Some time later, and unrelated to this video, the general secretary of PSOE in the Balearics, Silvia Cano, was questioning the continuing live transmission of Sunday mass from Palma Cathedral by the public broadcaster, IB3. "Pornography," suggested Silvia, "also has its public". Silvia hadn't in fact been proposing that IB3 start filling its schedules with porn; she'd merely been drawing a comparison. But the very mention of porn had the custodians reaching for the nearest online petition in demanding that she retract her comments. She didn't.

Around the same time as there was the fuss over the schoolboy blasphemy video, the Manacor local magazine "Perlas y Cuevas" found itself - or rather its editor found himself - being blasted by feminist caceroladas (the beating of saucepans). This was because of its Sant Antoni special in January, which featured Aline, a Russian blonde and a topless one at that, in erotic poses with the Grand Demon. The editor, Antoni Ferrer, defended the photos by saying that they were professional and had not been designed to stir up controversy. Not everyone agreed with him.

Religion came to the defence of a defence lawyer. Manuel González Peeters, the lawyer for Diego Torres at the Nóos trial in Palma, branded former justice minister, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, an idiot when he appeared as a witness. González Peeters defended his use of idiot by arguing that, in the Bible, Luke had used idiot to mean someone who doesn't listen and that many popes have used the same word for the same reason.

Idiots or not, plenty of people had been listening to this and to the other insults uttered and offences given and taken in 2016.

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