Fair Comment

Sometimes it seems as though there is no point to the comments facility on articles and opinion pieces on news websites. At least half of the people posting tend to be crackpots, trolls and other assorted attention seekers. The Guardian’s Comment is Free site is a case in point. You read some half-interesting comment piece, and as you glance down to below the end of the piece you are confronted with the mental defecation of the quickest half-wit on the draw. This has the effect of effacing whatever ideas you were reading about in the original piece, and is analogous to someone puking in a restaurant in the table beside you just as you are about to ask the waiter for the bill.

Sometimes there are decent comments, but they can take hours to find. I came across a decent one in yesterday’s El País.

It is attached to a report on former Spanish PM José María Aznar’s sending of a letter to the newspaper, in which he claims not to have been referring to the Spanish Civil War when speaking about the upcoming regional elections, contrary to what the same paper had reported, when he said that current PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was “going back to something as dangerous and as simple as the following: one half of Spain does not accept the other half, and that, which led us to the worst of our history seventy years ago, is the political landscape that is being recreated now.” (translation mine)

Which sounds pretty much to me like he was saying that Zapatero was bringing Spain towards a civil war. Anyway, the comment says the following:

La derecha ha dado 3 golpes de estado PRIMO DE RIVERA, FRANCO Y EL 23 F. Esta gente son cuidadanos a la fuerza, siempre han querido ser aristocratas, como nuestra querida ESPE AGUIRRE. La guerra civil fue una republica débil que podia renovarse en las urnas destruida por un grupo de militares y latifundistas apoyados por el nazismo y el fascismo. Y estos señores como Aznar querrian hacer de nuevo lo mismo. No me gusta lo que veo pues bombardeo. No me gusta tu opinion pues al paredon. Ya se ve como funciona la democracia para esta gente: Si gano yo bien. Si no gano yo agresion ruptura crispacion y si no fuera por la UE golpe de estado.

which I would translate thus:

The right has brought about three coups d’etat, Primo de Rivera, Franco, and 23-F. These people are citizens by force, they have always wanted to be aristocrats, like our dear Espe Aguirre*. In the civil war you had a weak republic supported by votes, destroyed by a group of soldiers and big estate owners supported by fascism and nazism. And gentlemen like Aznar want to do the same thing again. I don’t like what I see, so I bomb it. I don’t like your opinion, then the firing squad it is. We can now see how democracy works for these people: fine if I win. If I don’t, aggression, fracture and uproar, and if it wasn’t for the EU a coup d’etat.

Some elections are more interesting than others.

(Esperanza Aguirre. Big noise in Partido Popular, current candidate in regional elections for Madrid. El País has an article about her today, which they have sardonically titled an ‘interview‘, since she, like others in the PP, is boycotting the PRISA group which owns El País and has therefore declined. To accompany the article they’ve published a photo of her fanning herself.)

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