dilluns, 31 de desembre de 2018

Material girl en català

Some boys kiss me
Some boys hug me
I think they're ok
If they don't give me proper credit
I just walk away
They can beg and they can plead
But they can't see the light (that's right)
'Cause the boy with the cold hard cash
Is always Mister Right
'Cause we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl
Some boys romance
Some boys slow dance
That's all right with me
If they can't raise my interest then I
Have to let them be
Some boys try and some boys lie but
I don't let them play (no way)
Only boys who save their pennies
Make my rainy day
'Cause we're living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl
Living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl
Living in a material world (material)
Living in a material world
Living in a material world (material)
Living in a material world
Boys may come and boys may go
And that's all right you see
Experience has made me rich
And now they're after me
'Cause everybody's living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl
Living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl
A material, a material, a material, a material world
Living in a material world (material)
Living in a material world
Living in a material world (material)
Living in a material world
Living in a material world (material)
Living in a material world
Living in a material world (material)
Living in a material

Compositors: Peter Brown / Robert Rans
Lletra de Material Girl © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Alguns nois em fan petons
Alguns nois m’abracen
Trobo que està força bé
Si no em donen la pasta que em mereixo
Me’n vaig tan tranquil·la
Poden pidolar i pregar
Però no ho poden comprendre
Perquè el noi que té els diners a mà
Es sempre el Senyor Correcte
Perquè vivim en un món materialista
I jo soc una noia materialista
Saps que vivim en un  món materialista
I jo soc una noia materialista
Alguns nois s’enamoren de mi
Alguns nois ballen romànticament
Tot això m’agrada
Si no aconsegueixen interessar-me aleshores jo
Els he de deixar
Alguns nois ho intenten i altres diuen mentides però
No els hi dono opció (de cap manera)
Sols els nois que han estalviat dinerets
Em serveixen pel dia que em calen diners
Perquè soc una noia materialista
I jo soc una noia materialista
Saps que vivim en un  món materialista
I jo soc una noia materialista
Vivint en un món materialista
I jo soc una noia materialista
Saps que vivim en un  món materialista
I jo soc una noia materialista
Vivint en un món materialista (material)
Vivint en un món materialista
Vivint en un món materialista (material)
Vivint en un món materialista
Els nois poden venir i marxar
I això és tot, ja veus
L’experiència m’ha fet rica
I ara em van al darrere
Perquè tothom viu en un món materialista
I jo soc una noia materialista
Saps que vivim en un món materialista
I jo soc una noia materialista
Vivint en un món materialista
I jo soc una noia materialista
Saps que vivim en un món materialista
I jo soc una noia materialista
Un món materialista, materialista, materialista
Vivint en un món materialista (material)
Vivint en un món materialista
Vivint en un món materialista (material)
Vivint en un món materialista
Vivint en un món materialista (material)
Vivint en un món materialista
Vivint en un món materialista (material)
Vivint en un món materialista

diumenge, 30 de desembre de 2018

99 red balloons en català

You and I in a little toy shop
Buy a bag of balloons with the money we got
Set them free at the break of dawn
Till one by one they were gone
Back at base
Bugs in the software
Flash the message
Something's out there
Floating in the summer sky

Ninety-nine red balloons go by
Ninety-nine red balloons
Floating in the summer sky
Panic bells, it's a red alert
There's something here from somewhere else
The war machine springs to life

Opens up one eager eye
Focusing it on the sky
Ninety-nine red balloons go by
Ninety-nine decisions treat

Ninety-nine ministers meet
To worry, worry, super-scurry
Call the troops out in a hurry
This is what we've waiting for

This is it boys, this is war
The President is on the line
As ninety-nine red balloons go by
Ninety-nine knights of the air

Riding super high-tech jet fighters
Everyone's a super hero
Everyone's a Captain Kirk
With orders to identify, to clarify and classify
Scrambling in the summer sky
As ninety-nine red balloons go by
Ninety-nine red balloons go by

Ninety nine dreams I have had
In every one a red balloon
It's all over and I'm standing pretty
In this dust that was a city
If I could find a souvenir
Just to prove the world was here
And here is a red balloon
I think of you and let it go
Tu i jo en una petita botiga de joguines
Comprem un manat de globus amb els diners que tenim
Els alliberem a trenc d’alba
Fins que, d’un en un, s’han enlairat
Enrere, en la base
Errades en el software
Apareix un missatge
Hi ha alguna cosa allí enfora.
Flotant en el cel d’estiu

99 globus vermells enlairats
99 globus vermells
Flotant en el cel d’estiu
Sirenes d’alarma, Alerta Vermella!
Hi ha quelcom aquí que ve de fora!
La maquinària de guerra torna a la vida

S’obre un ull neguitós
Que il·lumina el cel
99 globus vermells enlairats
99 decisions a discutir

99 ministres es reuneixen
Molt preocupats, preocupats i súper confusos
Criden a la mobilització
Això és el que esperàvem

Ja ho tenim nois, això és la guerra
El president és al telèfon
Com 99 globus vermells enlairats
99 cavallers de l’aire

Muntant avions de súper alta tecnologia
Cadascú és un súper heroi
Cadascú és el Capità Kirk
Amb ordres d’identificar, clarificar i classificar
Pujant en el cel d’estiu
Igual que 99 globus vermells s’enlairen
99 globus vermells s’enlairen

99 somnis que he tingut
En cadascú dels globus vermells
Tot ha acabat i he quedat prou maco
En aquesta polseguera que fou la ciutat
Si pogués trobar un record
Per demostrar que el món va existir
Aquí hi ha un globus vermell!
Penso en tu i el deixo anar

Font de la lletra en anglès:

dissabte, 29 de desembre de 2018

An anthropologist investigates how we think about how we think by Ceridwen Dovey

An anthropologist investigates how we think about how we think
By Ceridwen Dovey December 29, 2018

One afternoon several years ago, Emily Martin, a professor emerita of anthropology at N.Y.U., filled out a personality questionnaire through an app on Facebook called This Is Your Digital Life. This was long before the app’s creator, Aleksandr Kogan, was accused of using it to harvest information from more than fifty million Facebook users and sharing it with the consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. (The firm allegedly offered that data, in turn, to clients, including Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign.) Martin, a founder of the anthropology of science, scrutinizes scientific language and practices like other ethnographers pore over kinship diagrams. She regarded the personality quiz as a semi-relevant diversion while she immersed herself in a long-term field-work project concerning experimental psychology. She’d been drawn to the subject by the work of cognitive neuropsychologists, who put human subjects through controlled experiments in laboratory settings, testing how their brains process cognitive tasks. These labs frequently generate headline-grabbing research about supposedly universal psychological traits—that people who are more analytical are less likely to believe in God, for instance, or that we tend to see impulsive people as more honest. Martin wanted to understand how this research is done and whether the scope of experiments was changing with the advent of cheap and bountiful behavioral data, which we all shed, often unknowingly, in every one of our interactions online.
Pore: If you pore over or through information, you look at it and study it very carefully.
Kinship: Relationship; close connection
Headline-grabbing: A headline-grabbing statement or activity is one that is intended to attract a lot of attention, especially from the media. Sensationalism.
Bountiful: Provided in abundance; plentiful
Shed: To send forth or spread about; radiate; diffuse; impart
Forth: Away from

Getting research access to actual labs proved difficult, so, for a couple of years, she got her feet wet as a test subject, participating in more than fifty experiments. Many of them involved completing a simple task on a computer, then doing it again after having her emotional state altered—by being shown a disturbing picture, for example. She didn’t exactly blend in: she’s in her seventies, while most of the other participants were undergraduates, attracted by easy cash or free food. Eventually, one of the psychologists Martin met took an interest in her project and made helpful introductions. She was soon embedded in three labs: one in the Bay Area, one in Baltimore, and one in New York. She sat in on meetings, assisted with experiments, and developed relationships with principal investigators and graduate students. This is the slow-burn process that Martin’s fellow anthropologist of science Paul Rabinow calls “observing observers observing.” She wasn’t there to muckrake but to grasp what happens when the object of laboratory study is not a molecule or a rat but a human being.
Prove: If something proves to be true or to have a particular quality, it becomes clear after a period of time that it is true or has that quality.
Get feet wet: To begin to participate in something
Blend in: If someone blends into a particular group or situation, they seem to belong there, because their appearance or behaviour is similar to that of the other people involved.
Slow-burn: If something is a slow burn, or if it happens on a slow burn, it develops slowly.
Muckrake [ˈmʌkˌreɪk ]: To search for and publicize, as in newspapers, any real or alleged corruption or scandal by public figures, esp. politicians

Martin’s field work at the New York lab is now complete, but, in the spring, she paid a social visit, and I joined her. I was a graduate student of Martin’s at N.Y.U., but I hadn’t seen her in years. The lab is not far from the Upper West Side apartment she moved to with her husband, a retired biophysicist, and two unusually affectionate cats, after retiring from teaching, in 2017. Her hair is white and her gait a little cautious, but her smile remains youthfully impish. At the lab, the researchers seemed glad to see her, and Martin was clearly familiar with every inch of the place. When I admired a Japanese print on the wall, she told me that it had been selected for its resemblance to event-related potentials—the electrical brain waves made in response to specific cognitive stimuli. These are measured with electrodes placed against the scalp that amplify the faintest electrical brain signals. “Bald people are the most difficult subjects,” a researcher explained, holding up a skullcap through which needles would be lightly tapped. “They have more sweat glands, which interferes with conductivity.” Martin’s eyes lit up at the detail.
Pay a visit: To go somewhere to spend time with (someone, such as a friend or relative), to visit: He paid a visit to his parents.
Gait: Manner of walking or running;
Impish: If you describe someone or their behaviour as impish, you mean that they are rather disrespectful or naughty in a playful way.

Anthropologists love to examine the sorts of tools that are taken for granted by those in the trade but are regarded as exotic by non-specialists. In a locked room at the lab was an expensive new eye-tracking technology, which measures gaze direction and changes in pupil size as subjects respond to prompts on a screen. “Your eyes index what’s going on with you internally, your emotional state, without you saying a word,” a researcher said. Another tool that fascinates Martin is the International Affective Picture System, which was developed at the University of Florida. The I.A.P.S. provides normative ratings of emotional responses to more than a thousand photographs. (These are shared for free with scholars so long as they don’t publish or distribute the images—their value as “standardized” stimuli depends on them remaining unfamiliar to the general public.) The ratings for each image are based on the responses of a hundred University of Florida undergraduates—an image of a floppy disk has a moderately high rating on the scale of pleasant to unpleasant, for instance, perhaps owing to nostalgia, while that of a grieving woman is low. Martin scrolled through some of the images for me on her laptop: snakes eating frogs, men lifting weights, crotch shots, old ladies with birds on their heads.
Grieving: Afflicted, desolate.
Crotch: The human external genitals or the genital area and the corresponding part of a pair of trousers, pants, etc. A crotch shot it’s a quick frame that shows a human crotch covered with pants.

Martin’s freedom as an outsider to ask “naïve” and probing questions encouraged the psychologists to open up, gradually, about orthodoxies or inconsistencies in their work. One researcher said he was troubled that experiments were always designed around brief exposure to stimuli. “What would happen,” he mused to Martin, “if we lengthened the time the stimulus was exposed?” A junior researcher expressed frustration that there’s virtually nothing in the published literature about what happens after an experiment is completed, when volunteers, who may have been assigned a task that was designed to make them feel stupid or upset, are debriefed.
Naïve: If you describe someone as naive, you think they lack experience and so expect things to be easy or people to be honest or kind.
Probing: To make a searching exploratory investigation
Brief: Short
Debriefed: When someone such as a soldier, diplomat, or astronaut is debriefed, they are asked to give a report on an operation or task that they have just completed.

While she’s in field-work mode, Martin is always alert to what she calls these “ethnographic moments.” Even the smallest action or fragment of speech, she believes, can be a useful clue to the mostly invisible wider cultural assumptions that shape how research is done in any specialized field. She observes and collects these fragments, hoping that, later on, she’ll be able to find connections between them and make better sense of a scientific world view that is fascinatingly foreign to her.

Doing ethnographic field work in one’s own culture—and in non-traditional sites like laboratories—is an accepted practice today, but it wasn’t when Martin was introduced to anthropology, as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, in the sixties. She went there intending to major in chemistry, but her roommate brought her to an ethnomusicology class, where the professor explained that Japanese Noh music was not structured around harmony or mechanical rhythm but around an elastic pattern. “No conductor, but breathing together,” she recalls him saying. Martin was hooked. “It’s actually the perfect analogy for what happens in field work,” she told me. “Noise to music via seeing things from another culture’s point of view.”
Noise to music: From noise to music

She has since realized that there was a deeper reason for her attraction to anthropology. “It is a version of naming the elephant in the room when I was growing up,” she said. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama, near the end of the Second World War. Her father had been posted to the Pacific theatre, and she didn’t see him until she was two. He returned profoundly disturbed by his war experience, and he was sexually inappropriate with Martin throughout her childhood. “My dad’s behavior was a huge problem but never spoken of. My symptoms of distress were blamed on anything else—a high fever, growing pains. To see the obvious and not be able to identify it was awful.” Her mother, in what Martin now thinks of as a “rescue gesture,” sent her to board at the Kingswood School in Cranbrook, Michigan, which she remembers as a wonderland. “Anthropology allows me to see things that might be obvious but usually remain hidden, in a variety of settings, and put them into words,” she said. “What a relief.”
Post: Send
Blame on: To ascribe responsibility for (something) to

She went to graduate school at Cornell and did her earliest field work in Taiwan, gathering villagers’ views on hepatitis during an epidemic of the disease. It was only years later, when she was pregnant with her second daughter and teaching in a new anthropology department at Johns Hopkins, that she began to think about doing field work in America. Every few months, she and a fledgling group—Susan Harding, who was studying Jerry Falwell’s megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia; Harriet Whitehead, who was doing research on Scientology; Lorna Rhodes, who was writing about the psychiatric clinic in which she worked—met at Martin’s Baltimore row house, “trying to figure out how in the world you do anthropological field work in your own culture.” At childbirth classes, Martin tentatively interviewed other pregnant women; she scoured textbooks on obstetrics and gynecology. She began to see that women giving birth “were being held to standards of production, time management, efficiency” analogous to criteria in manufacturing. The language used about menstrual discharge in textbooks was that of the “ruined debris of failure”; the post-menopausal body was described like an “outmoded factory.” Yet the lived experience of the women with whom she was spending time often contested these medical pronouncements. She wrote a book, “The Woman in the Body: A Cultural Analysis of Reproduction,” which considered how a society built on other principles might value women’s bodies differently.
Fledgling: You use fledgling to describe a person, organization, or system that is new or without experience. A fledgling is a young bird that has its feathers and is learning to fly.
Row house: A row house is one of a row of similar houses that are joined together by both of their side walls.
Scour: If you scour something such as a place or a book, you make a thorough search of it to try to find what you are looking for.
Hold / held / held: If one thing holds another in a particular position, it keeps it in that position.
Debris: Debris is pieces from something that has been destroyed or pieces of rubbish or unwanted material that are spread around.

Meanwhile, in the evenings, she listened closely as her husband, Richard Cone, described his lab’s efforts to develop a gel that could prevent both conception and S.T.D.s. “Why do you talk about sperm as if they’re all male, and the egg as if it’s female, though it could make a boy or a girl?” she asked him. (“While most families discuss their days at work, or lessons learned in school, we would often discuss the acidic properties of vaginal fluids, or the path taken by sperm,” their daughter Ariel once recalled, in a piece about her father’s research.) The standard narrative of conception struck Martin as an old-fashioned romantic saga: the passive female egg waiting for the male sperm to shoot out and rescue it. Spurred by Martin’s questions, Cone and his students took another look and found that they had it wrong. Sperm have quite weak motive power—their sideways thrust is more forceful than their forward thrust—and the sticky surface of the egg “captures the sperm like flypaper captures a fly,” as Cone put it to me. Martin wrote an article, “The Egg and the Sperm: How science has constructed a romance based on stereotypical male-female roles,” which was published in 1991 and became a cult feminist classic.
Motive power: An impelling force (força motriu, fuerza motriz)
Sideways thrust: Moving or directed to or from one side. If you thrust something or someone somewhere, you push or move them there quickly with a lot of force.
Forward thrust: If you move or look forward, you move or look in a direction that is in front of you. In British English, you can also move or look forwards. The suffix –ward means direction, to.

Through all this, Martin was fighting a private battle with depression and, later, manic depression, her preferred term for bipolar disorder. In the late nineties, she decided to use her own experiences, alongside ethnographic methods, to investigate how the condition was understood in the U.S., both by people living with the diagnosis and those involved in treating them, from medical-school trainees to pharmaceutical employees. She also wanted to explore how mania had become increasingly prized in American life. Mania’s “unremitting energy, little need for sleep, and immense drive to throw things—money, social connections—into circulation” was often idealized as a creative state necessary for success in a ruthlessly competitive system, she wrote in “Bipolar Expeditions: Mania and Depression in American Culture,” which she published in 2007. In the book, Martin observes how people wield the labels handed down to them from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as a “cloak against further scrutiny,” a means of using standardized categories to avoid sharing more intimate or divergent psychic experiences. In one of the first support groups that she attended, Martin talked about the vivid images that she sometimes hallucinated, the way “the visual field in front of my eyes became rent as if it were a movie screen being ripped and torn.” The rest of the group looked at her as if she were crazy. A few told her privately afterward that they would never share something like that.
Mania: An obsessional enthusiasm or partiality. Mania is a mental illness which causes the sufferer to become very worried or concerned about something.
Ruthlessly: If you say that someone is ruthless, you mean that you disapprove of them because they are very harsh or cruel, and will do anything that is necessary to achieve what they want.
Wield: If you wield a weapon, tool, or piece of equipment, you carry and use it. If someone wields power, they have it and are able to use it.
Cloak ( kloʊk ): A cloak is a long, loose, sleeveless piece of clothing which people used to wear over their other clothes when they went out.
Loose: Something that is loose is not firmly held or fixed in place.
Became rent: A hole or gap made by rending or tearing, as a torn place in cloth, a fissure in the earth, etc
Ripped and torn: Ripped is the same than torn. If you tear paper, cloth, or another material, or if it tears, you pull it into two pieces or you pull it so that a hole appears in it.

Martin found that when people switch psychotropic medications, which she herself takes, they often feel as if they have to reshape their identities around the new drug—one informant told her that she disliked switching because of the work of “integrating something new into your old identity,” which took away from the “magic of the first drug” you took. She spent time with marketers, listening to how they described the “personality” design of particular psychotropic medications. The C.E.O. of one ad agency told her that, after Bill Clinton became President, two companies, with two different drugs, decided that they wanted their drug to be like Hillary Clinton: strong, tough, knows what she wants, but with “that feminine sort of feeling to it.” Martin also observed how marketers made appeals to psychiatrists’ artistic sides: a Lithium-P campaign featured a portrait of Beethoven and an offer for doctors of a free CD of the Ninth Symphony, taking for granted “cultural associations between manic depression and creative energy.”

At a conference mostly attended by psychiatrists, Martin recalls being criticized over a passage in her book that delves into people’s ambivalence about taking lithium, one of the few psychotropic drugs that is not advertised directly to patients. People either see it as the most “natural” of the drugs, Martin writes, or they fiercely resist taking it, “loath to have the pleasures of a rising mood taken away from them.” Some psychiatrists believe lithium is now under-prescribed because both doctors and patients are attracted to newer, supposedly “technologized” medicines, and, at the conference, Martin was accused of contributing to this problem. “To me, this was ethnographic data,” she said, frustrated by the misperceptions of what anthropology entails. “I wasn’t saying I agreed with them.”
Recall: When you recall something, you remember it and tell others about it.
Delve into: If you delve into something, you try to discover new information about it.
Loathe: If you loathe something or someone, you dislike them very much.
Entail: To have as a necessary consequence

For Martin, field work “has never felt like a marathon, more like the ascent of a peak.” This doesn’t mean that the trail is always clearly marked. “For ages, I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing or why. I drive my family nuts. Wandering around clueless. But I just have this conviction that if I keep going, something will fall into place.” Often, it’s only when the field work is finished that she sees broader patterns. When the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, in March, as she was writing up seven years of her experimental psychology research, she wondered if she had learned something about why social-media users would willingly complete personality questionnaires designed by psychologists, as she had done. The public’s growing anxiety about big data also made her think of the immense amounts of information collected by eye-tracking technologies, which had burst into wider use near the end of her field work, amassing data so far in excess of what was usable in experiments that the lab researchers were dumping it into open-access data banks.
To drive someone nut: Turn someone crazy
Willing: Voluntary, eager, keen

Early on in the work, she’d taken another personality quiz, through a different app on Facebook: myPersonality, which, in August, became the second app, after This Is Your Digital Life, to be banned by Facebook. The company determined that the app’s creators had been careless with the data they collected. The app’s founder, David Stillwell, and his collaborator Michal Kosinski, deny this, insisting that they asked all six million myPersonality participants for consent to access their Facebook data, that they turned down every lucrative offer to purchase their data, and that Facebook itself had been supportive of the project for years. Among those who later had access to their data was Aleksandr Kogan, the man behind This Is Your Digital Life, and a colleague of theirs at Cambridge University. But they claim that Kogan did not use their data in his work for S.C.L., the parent company of Cambridge Analytica. Martin pointed me to a statement published by Stillwell and Kosinski in May, before the ban, which explains why it has become so tempting to researchers to scale up psychology experiments in the digital era: “While psychology research is often conducted on undergraduates in a lab setting, we feel that the digital revolution has opened new vistas for scholars interested in understanding human beings,” they wrote.

Exactly how illuminating it is to match digital data with psychometric profiles is up for debate: the app wrongly identified Martin, based on her answers, as a thirty-five-year-old male—though it did correctly describe her as “introspective.” Some of the researchers’ findings are intriguingly absurd: Facebook likes of “thunderstorms” and “curly fries” supposedly correlated with high intelligence, for instance. While giving evidence to British M.P.s, in April, Kogan said that the personality scores his app created were “highly inaccurate.” Nonetheless, Martin speculates that there’s “a feedback loop between these tools that have become commonplace and how we see ourselves.” Perhaps they produce “people who are willing to consider themselves as lone individual agents,” obedient to the authority of the scientist who says, “Take this survey, or take this lab test, and I will tell you who you are.” The wider field of cognitive neuropsychology is also currently grappling with a “reproducibility” crisis: in August, the Center for Open Science released a scathing report showing that a large number of the findings from social-science papers published in Nature and Science could not be replicated, including the original studies that popularized the idea that impulsivity is perceived as inherently more honest and that more analytical people are less likely to believe in God.

The book that Martin is writing will be structured as an open dialogue between an anthropologist and a cast of experimental psychologists, to reflect the collaborative nature of the project, and as an expression of scholarly humility, in not giving herself the final say. As a graduate student at one of the labs said, “I didn’t see her as doing work on me, but rather learning about the process of experimentation with me.” This doesn’t mean, however, that Martin is shy about celebrating the contributions social anthropologists can make to understanding the complexities of culture. In November, at the American Anthropological Association’s annual meeting, Martin delivered the distinguished lecture—one of the highest recognitions in the field, honoring a lifetime of exemplary scholarship. Anthropologists have “worked so hard to identify alternative visions of human purpose,” she said to the audience. “Now it is time to shout them from the rooftops.”

Ceridwen Dovey is the author of the short-story collection “Only the Animals” and the novels “Blood Kin” and “In the Garden of the Fugitives.”
Born 1980, she’s a South African and Australian social anthropologist and author.

divendres, 28 de desembre de 2018

Matar quatre indis de Luis Racionero

Matar quatre indis

LUIS RACIONERO 28/12/2018 00:33 Actualitzat a 28/12/2018 06:28

Deia Josep Pla que, a Espanya, la gent que ha passat per una escola és insuportable, però els que tenen títols universitaris ja es converteixen en autèntics energúmens.

L’actual ministre d’Afers Exteriors s’ha brindat a corroborar empíricament les opinions de Pla, realitzant unes declaracions tan absurdes –en un enginyer– com desafortunades en un ministre d’Afers Exteriors. Si Talleyrand aixequés el cap es reafirmaria en la pobríssima opinió que va treure de la diplomàcia espanyola en el Congrés de Viena. Explica Harold Nicolson en el seu assaig sobre el Congrés: “El senyor Pedro G. Labrador, el representant de Ferran VII a Viena es va comportar amb tal excés de vanitat i tan poc criteri que fins i tot Talleyrand que havia intentat utilitzar-lo com a instrument o satèl·lit es va veure obligat a desfer-se de tan incòmoda companyia”. Lord ­Castlereagh va escriure: “És molt curiós que les dues úniques corts amb què ens costa d’entendre’ns són les dues de la Península. És més difícil arreglar una fotesa amb ells que una política important amb els altres poders europeus. Sembla com si el record de la nostra ajuda els impedeix de fer res sense demostrar, de la manera més innecessària i ingrata, la seva independència”.

El nostre actual Pedro G. Labrador debatia amb el seu homòleg alemany sobre la UE al paranimf de la Universitat Complutense quan, al comparar la unificació nord-americana amb l’europea, va dir: “Per què els EUA tenen més nivell d’integració política? Primer perquè tenen el mateix idioma tots, i segon perquè tenen molt poca història al darrere. Van accedir a la independència pràcticament sense història. L’únic que havien fet era matar quatre indis, però a part d’això va ser molt fàcil”.

Qualsevol que hagi llegit Las o els escrits de Bartolomé de las Casas i les hagi compartit amb la Histo ria de l’escocès William Robertson –tinc una edició de 1777– o amb les històries de l’americà William Prescott sobre la conquesta de Mèxic i el Perú, s’adona que si el genocidi espanyol va ser imperdonable, la conquesta d’ Amèrica del Nord no va ser menys sagnant. Amb una enorme diferència a favor d’ Espanya per tots reconeguda, que a Sud-amèrica provenen nombrosos indígenes i innombrables mestissos i als EUA queden unes quantes reserves marginals. No van matar quatre indis, els van matar gairebé tots. El Moviment Indígena dels Estats Units va declarar: “El racista ministre d’Exteriors d’España Josep Borrell diu això de la nostra història abans de la Independència: ‘L’únic que van fer va ser matar quatre indis’. És una forma supremacista, negacionista i patètica de descriure el genocidi”.

Que un enginyer aeronàutic sigui un energumen i no sàpiga història entra en els paràmetres que manejava Josep Pla, però que el ministre d’Afers Exteriors digui que el genocidi dels indígenes va ser matar quatre indis resulta grotesc. Ja m’ho deia el meu veí d’Estamariu, un vell pagès del Pirineu: “ Aquets pallaressos són molt reconsagrats”.

Felip II va intentar mitigar els excessos dels colons i va escoltar Bartolomé de las Casas i Francisco de Vitoria i el 1588 va concedir la seva primera audiència al jesuïta José de Acosta que li va dedicar el seu llibre: Sobre la salvación de los en el qual es referia als colons com hispaniae (la m... de Espanya). El 1579 fra Luis de León va denunciar els colons per cometre crims i exterminar pobles i races senceres. La qüestió no és si els indis van ser quatre o quaranta. No és quantitativa només, és qualitativa: és la qualitat humana dels que van ser exterminats o postergats. Vegeu la famosa carta del cap ­Seattle al president dels Estats Units el 1855:

“El gran cap de Washington ens envia un missatge dient que desitja comprar la nostra terra. També ens envia paraules d’amistat i bona voluntat. És un senyal amistós per la seva part ja que sabem que no necessita la nostra amistat. Considerarem la seva oferta perquè sabem que si no venem l’home blanc vindrà amb les seves armes i s’apoderarà de la nostra terra. Qui pot comprar o vendre el Cel o la calor de la Terra? No podem imaginar-ho perquè nosaltres no som amos de la frescor de l’aire ni de la brillantor de l’aigua. Com podria comprar-los ell? Provarem de prendre una decisió.

”Les meves paraules són com les estrelles, no s’extingeixen mai. Cada part d’aquesta terra és sagrada per al meu poble, cada brillant agulla d’avet, cada platja de sorra, cada boira al fosc bosc, cada clar del bosc, cada insecte és sagrat per al pensar i sentir del meu poble. La saba que puja pels arbres porta el record del pellroja. Els avantpassats dels blancs obliden la Terra en què van néixer quan desapareixen per vagar entre les estrelles. Els nostres morts no obliden mai aquesta meravellosa terra, ja que és la mare del pellroja. Nosaltres som una part de la Terra i ella és part de nosaltres. Les oloroses flors són les nostres germanes, el cérvol, el cavall, la gran àguila són els nostres germans. Les rocoses alçàries, les noves prades, el cos ardorós del poltre i de l’home, pertanyen a la mateixa família.

“El pellroja sempre s’ha apartat de l’exigent home blanc, com la boira matinal a les muntanyes cedeix davant el sol naixent, però les cendres dels nostres avantpassats, les seves tombes, són terra santa i per això aquesta part de la terra ens és sagrada. Considerem la vostra oferta. Si acceptem és només per as­segurar-nos la reserva promesa. Potser allà podem acabar els pocs dies que ens queden vivint a la nostra manera. Quan l’últim pell­roja desaparegui encara serà viu l’esperit dels meus avantpassats en aquests rierols i aquests boscos. Perquè ells estimaven aquesta terra com estima el nounat el batec del cor de la seva mare. Si us arribem a vendre la nostra terra estimeu-la, com nosaltres l’hem estimat. Cuideu-vos-en, com nosaltres la vam cuidar i conserveu el record d’aquesta terra tal com la lliurem”.

dijous, 27 de desembre de 2018

The Christmas I'd rather forget by Fay Schopen

The Christmas I'd rather forget
You can’t escape Christmas – not even with a Caribbean holiday
Fay Schopen

Instead of a festive getaway, I had a miserable time, losing repeatedly at Scrabble – and ending up with pubic lice
Getaway: Exit

Tue 25 Dec 2018 08.30 GMT

Can you ever truly escape Christmas? In 2007, I discovered that you cannot, no matter how hard you try. I was living in New York, studying for a master’s degree. My boyfriend at the time, who lived in London, was flying over, and a Christmas spent in my tiny studio apartment did not appeal. Christmas in New York is renowned for being a sparkling, magical time – but that winter I remember freezing slush rather than picturesque snowfall; and negotiating my way through slippery streets clutching a bottle of super-strength cockroach killer was the closest I got to ice skating in Central Park.
Appeal: If something appeals to you, you find it attractive or interesting.
Renowned: Notorious
Sparkling: Performing very well
Slush: Slush is snow that has begun to melt and is therefore very wet and dirty. If you describe a love story as slush, you mean that you dislike it because it is too sentimental and cannot be taken seriously.
Slippery: Something that is slippery is smooth, wet, or oily and is therefore difficult to walk on or to hold.
Clutching: If you clutch at something or clutch something, you hold it tightly, usually because you are afraid or anxious. In a vehicle, the clutch is the pedal that you press before you change gear. A clutch of eggs is a number of eggs laid by a bird at one time.

We opted to go to the Dominican Republic for Christmas and new year, for reasons somewhat lost on me now, but which mainly centred around it being nigh-impossible to get directly to Cuba from New York at the time. We were looking for high temperatures, a beach, and an absence of traditional seasonal offerings. If Cuba was out, then the Dominican Republic would have to do.
Nigh: Near
2nd conditional where the infinitive, in the second part is changed by “have to do”

Christmas and I have a chequered history. It turns out that there are several Christmases I’d rather forget: a Caribbean Christmas, I rationalised, would transcend the ghosts of Christmas past. There would be no tinsel, turkey or tree. Instead, we would be holed up in a charming villa in a tropical paradise. The sea would be crystal-clear, the cocktails wouldn’t give us hangovers, and we would parade around in our swimwear looking like a Sandals advertisement. It was a good idea – until we got to the Dominican Republic.
Chequered (UK) checkered (USA): If a person or organization has had a chequered career or history, they have had a varied past with both good and bad periods.
Tinsel: Christmas garland
Hole up: If you hole up somewhere, you hide or shut yourself there, usually so that people cannot find you or disturb you.
Parade around: If someone parades, they walk about somewhere in order to be seen and admired.
Sandals: Sandals Resort are “The World’s only 5 star luxury included resorts”. In other sense, sandals are light shoes that you wear in warm weather,

We landed at 5am on Christmas Eve and waited around in a truly miserable room – “hotel” is too strong a word – until it was time to be transported to our villa by the beach. Sun, sea, and sand. Barbecues and pina coladas. All good things. But, not it turns out, at Christmas time.
Truly: Really, actually

There’s a photograph of me that Christmas Day. I’m on the beach, wearing a colourful dress, a beer beside me. And I look utterly miserable. The problem, it seems, is that when you’re not used to it, Christmas in the sunshine just doesn’t feel right. Luckily I didn’t have to worry about that for long, as it soon began to rain. And – I appreciate that my memory may be playing tricks on me here – it rained for a fair portion of the trip.

The highlight of our holiday was playing crazy golf on Christmas Day. That was the sum total of local attractions, if you discount the bar and club, which was depressingly full of sex tourists. We played game after game of Scrabble, and my boyfriend won every single one. This frustrated me so much I threw a full-on temper tantrum. I couldn’t even lose myself in a good book – my preferred activity on holiday – as I had to read a particularly dull assigned text about evolution for one of my classes.
The highlight: The highlights of an event, activity, or period of time are the most interesting or exciting parts of it.
Full-on: Full-on is used to describe things or activities that have all the characteristics of their type, or are done in the strongest or most extreme way possible.
Temper tantrum: If a child has a tantrum, they lose their temper in a noisy and uncontrolled way. If you say that an adult is throwing a tantrum, you are criticizing them for losing their temper and acting in a childish way.
Dull: If you describe someone or something as dull, you mean they are not interesting or exciting. Bored.

What there was, however, was rum – and plenty of it. We got so bored and drunk one night in the sex-tourism bar we thought it was a good idea to go with some locals to their place to get further intoxicated. We had rented a scooter, so we followed them for miles to what looked like a murder house. Half built; replete with bare bulbs to complement the bare mattress on the floor. The locals left us there and said they were going to get supplies. We sobered up, realised we were going to be mugged, kidnapped or worse, and fled.
Bare: Naked
Mattress: A mattress is the large, flat object which is put on a bed to make it comfortable to sleep on.
Sober up: If someone sobers up, or if something sobers them up, they become sober after being drunk.
Mug: If someone mugs you, they attack you in order to steal your money.
Flee / fled / fled: If you flee from something or someone, or flee a person or thing, you escape from them.

After the trip was (finally) over, we flew back to London together, as I had some time off college. But my boyfriend sat in premium economy and I sat in economy. He said he booked himself premium economy “by accident”.

There was one final surprise: I caught crabs from sitting on that bare mattress in the murder house.

Eleven years on, I’ll never be completely sure that one can book premium economy by accident – but at the time, it was the only theory that fit. There are many reasons why relationships end, and although it would be a neat moral lesson to say that our Caribbean Christmas revealed the cracks in ours and the error of our ways, I can’t: we stayed together for a further five years, off and on. But our tropical torment did teach me one valuable lesson at least: don’t go on holiday at Christmas.

We had flown 1,500 miles, but you can’t outrun the season. It will overtake you and flatten you like a truck. You can’t beat it no matter what you do. Trying to ignore it is sheer folly: you will get drunk and fall in the mud; you will lose at Scrabble; and you will end up with pubic lice. I have since made my peace with Christmas, and these days, I do my best to embrace it in all its flawed, festive glory.
Overtake: If someone or something overtakes a competitor, they become more successful than them.
Flatten: To flatten something such as a building, town, or plant means to destroy it by knocking it down or crushing it.
Truck: Rubbish. The most normal use refers to a kind of lorry.
Sheer: Pure, utter, absolute
Flawed: Imperfect. Something that is flawed has a mark, fault, or mistake in it.