This week I will talk about mysteries, about parallel worlds and shadow worlds, about an existence beyond our every day life, about something better, more glorious and wonderful. In short, I will say something about Quantum Mechanics, John Dickson Carr and Yunnan Tea.
Currently, there is a large political debate going on in the Netherlands, about whether they should send a team of Dutch policemen to Afghanistan to “train” the Afghan policeforce (they even talked about teaching them how to read). If you don’t believe the previous sentence, I don’t blame you. By the way, the last time the Netherlands sent “policemen” to another country to “help them out”, was in the fifties when they sent the army (because that’s what they really were) out to Indonesia, to suppress the freedom fight there. It all ended up in tears. And blood, of course.
(I almost forgot, we also “helped” very much in Srebenica).
Without much further ado, again, a list of things which really have nothing to do with each other
1. The Wire
It is impossible to say much about The Wire series that hasn´t already been said better before. Excellent reviews of it can be found at “What´s Alan Watching?“. Another site that cannot be praised enough is “TV tropes” (a catalog of the tricks of the trades of t.v. fiction). You can find their analysis on The Wire here.
The Wire gives, in five seasons, a cross-section of Baltimore: the streets, the police, the working class in the city port, the politicians, the schools and the newspapers. Ever present in all of these environments, is the depressing world of drugdealing gangs and the depressingly mistaken war on drugs, doomed to fail even before it starts.
Lists are always inviting and almost always dissappointing. “The 100 best jokes of 2010”: 95 of them are not funny, involving mothers in law, the three B´s (Blondes, Breasts, Beer) or software. The remaining 5 you have heard before. Or, for instance, pointless lists of the 100 best rock albums of the 20th century when we all know there are only 5 (exercise for the reader).
The main fail in these lists is that they are too focused on just a single aspect (jokes, rock albums, fruitcakes) of this beautiful thing called life. It would be more interesting to have a list of only three things you love which have nothing to do with each other.
A long and interesting discussion which in the end, as all good discussions do, touched all aspects of life, the universe and everything (42), made me reconsider a few things. It’s a process similar to having a drink with your fellow colleagues, band members or family: little iritations are not so important as they seemed, life is not so much about what’s going on in your head and after all the most important things in life are basic and obvious.
The whole debate about Catalan nationalism and Catalan independence, which keeps on being a basic ingredient for politicians to avoid talking about real issues: economy, housing, security, general well-being, is just another “brick in the wall“, a political wank.
The beauty is that I live in a city where two languages (probably in the future three) live side by side. Since I came to live here, I have marvelled at the spontaneous capacity of people here to switch from one language to the other, not only during a conversation but even in mid-sentence. I think that is something to be celebrated, a rare example of “mestizaje” (“linguistic mix”) that shows flexibility and social coherence. One thing that always struck me of Spain as a whole, be it Andalucia, Madrid, the Basque countries or Catalunia, is that at the core of its culture (or cultures, if you wish) is “pasárselo bien”, a desire to have a good time for all, having a drink or a meal (food being an important part of its culture) together and making sure everyone is feeling comfortable.
The fact that some people want to turn this into a problem (Catalanists or anti-Catalanists, both), a source of anger, antigonism and obnoxious stupidity, should not be taken as a proof that having different languages and cultures in one country is a problem (because it isn’t a problem) but rather as a proof that wherever you go, there are always people (luckily, only a few) that have the need to fuck things up and create imaginary problems.
Differences between people or groups of people are real, but instead of a clash, it should be a celebration. I am beginning to sound like a hippie, and I admit to still enjoying a slight afterglow after a night of drinks, so I stop now.