A couple of early morning thoughts, on that translation I stuck up yesterday. First, I refer to the newspaper as ‘El Público’, which, although this is how it gets referred to by the newsagent where I normally buy it when in Spain, and although all other newspapers get referred to with a definite article, is not the actual name of the paper. Instead, just Público. It is not a play by Lorca.
Second, I described as ‘inconceivable’ the idea that you could have an interview covering similar ground with similar protagonists in an Irish newspaper. This is both saying too much and too little, and William Wall is right to question this with a ‘yet?’ in the comments below. Too much in that it is obviously conceivable, since how else would I be talking about it, and too little, since existing media institutions tend to express the class interests of the people who own them and run them, and therefore it’s not a matter of how crap the Irish Times or the Irish Independent or RTE is in this regard, but of the relation between the strength of a labour movement and degree of civic engagement (to use Corkoniense’s term) on one hand, and on the other, the extent of media production which is not merely a conduit for expressing the priorities of the dominant class.
Third, CMK wonders, as I often have, about whether the English language serves neo-liberal priorities particularly well, given that it is in Anglophone countries where neoliberalism both largely originated and seems to have embedded itself most ineradicably. I sense it probably has nothing to do with any property of what is seen as standard English language, but with the way the language of neoliberalism has reproduced itself in universities, corporations and government institutions (helped along the way by the lavish funding from think-tanks owned by plutocrats), and the relative ease with which this can continue to be reproduced in spaces where the same language is spoken. But you get people spouting neo-liberal garbage in Spain too. One of the things we don’t get so much sight of here is the way Spain’s fascist legatees have taken to using words like ‘solidarity’, ‘freedom’ and ‘equality’ like ducks to water.
Fourth, I noticed that the post got linked to by Socialist Unity, and that a commenter there said the thing read like something out of Waiting for Godot. If it does (and there would be nothing wrong with that), it’s probably down to my clunky and rushed translation. When I read the original, though, I got the impression of two people who clearly agree on certain fundamental matters, but who disagree on the way they see certain other things, and are not afraid to tell each other. This, surely, is the way it should be. I’ve been to plenty of gatherings over the last year and a half or so, with people who hold fairly similar views to me, and everyone just nods along politely to what everyone else is saying. I get the impression that it stems in part out of a fear that if you say something dissenting, the fragile flower you are all growing together will wilt on the spot. Well, to hell with that.