19 May 2022: Obesity here and there; A mad theory; Poio tourism; Pilgrim(s); Cats and Irish poets; & Other stuff.

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Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable
Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’

Cosas de España/Galiza 

It’s claimed that, if current trends continue, by 2040 40% of Brits will be obese and another 30% merely overweight. Meanwhile, here in Galicia, 55% are already said to be overweight – something which the regional government is bent on addressing via an ‘ambitious program’ based on exercise and diet. Hard to be optimistic. We’re too far away from the Mediterranean and its famous diet . . .

In case you’re not up to speed, here’s Wiki on The Great Replacement theory. Prior to Andalucian elections, Spain’s egregious far-right Vox party is blaming this for the low birth rate of natives, against the high rate of immigrants. Per Wiki: The ideology is said to be shared between Vox and some extreme strains of Catalan nationalism who fear replacement by Spanish-speakers. The theory originated in France. By coincidence – sort of – there’s an article on it below, from today’s Times.

Here in Spain, local councils can raise money in ways which I don’t think are open to their British equivalents, who are far more dependent on government money. My local council of Poio has said it’s seeking €2.5m for the `re-invention’ of tourism in our barrio.  I have to confess I wasn’t aware there was any tourism here – apart from the ex-monastery and its huge hórreo – and I can’t imagine where the cash is going to go. Other than, of course, into the pockets or bank accounts of the usual suspects.

Lots and lots of ‘pilgrims’ have been walking through Pontevedra city on the Portuguese camino this month, before deciding which ‘authentic’ new variant to take on the way out. We must be well on our way to the predicted number of 120,000 for this year. The vast majority of whom will fail to take even a brief look at the old quarter, confining themselves to Rúa Real as it winds down to O Burgo bridge.

The sun is back today but the poor pilgrims have been drenched for the last 3-4 days. It must be as annoying to them as it is to me to read of much sun and high temperatures elsewhere in Spain. And, to cap it all, in bloody England!


An ‘academy’ for just one pupil??

Finally . . .

A nice feline observation:-

And . .  Words of wisdom from an Irish poet and writer:- 

For new reader(s): If you’ve landed here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try here. If you’re passing through Pontevedra on the Camino, you’ll find a guide to the city there.


Racist ‘replacement’ theory has to be quashed. Fear of an anti-white conspiracy drove the Buffalo shooter and is being flirted with by mainstream US politicians: David Aaronovitch, The Times

Sometimes when someone tells you why they’ve done something terrible — like a mass shooting, for example — the safest thing to do is to take them at their word.

Last Saturday an 18-year-old white boy went heavily armed into a shopping centre in Buffalo, New York, and shot dead ten people he’d never met before. He posted on an online chat app that he’d chosen the killing place because it had the highest percentage of black people living and working in it in close enough proximity to where he lived. In a 180-page screed written to accompany his massacre he alluded to his belief that something called “The Great Replacement” was taking place, in which American whites were being supplanted by people of other colours and ethnicities. This, he believed, had to be resisted.

I won’t name him and in any case he was just the latest in a bloody line of white men who, in various countries over the last decade, have murdered the innocent in the name of stopping this non-existent threat to the white race. There was the Pittsburgh synagogue killer in 2018, the El Paso and Christchurch mass murderers of 2019, the boy who killed the worshippers in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston in 2015. As I write this, in some suburban bedroom somewhere a young white man is planning his own death spree in the name of preventing white genocide.

As is now the fashion with half-baked or absurd propositions, this notion of “replacement” has been dignified with being a theory, and even attributed to a theorist. As I wrote here recently the French author of the 2011 book The Great Replacement, Renaud Camus, is “a gay former leftist who underwent a negative epiphany when he saw women in hijabs beside a Gothic church in a 1,000-year-old French village”.

Just because something is written in French by a gay man doesn’t make it intellectual. Camus’s argument — that foreigners and especially Muslims were being deliberately imported into Europe by a deracinated global elite to replace the indigenous white, Christian populations — when boiled down has all the subtlety of a half-brick across the back of the head.

And it’s not new, either. Similarly stripped to essentials and in all its incarnations over the years, “replacement theory” has this one hypothesis: that “our” values and existence are under threat from a tide of foreign or domestic aliens, deliberately enabled by a treacherous elite. The values can be various (Christianity, patriotism, the western way of life), the exact human tide can differ (Muslims, “Third World” migrants, urban blacks) the elite can be discerned in all kinds of ways (Hollywood, academia, Democrats, Jews) but the underlying structure and appeal of the “theory” is always the same.

It goes back a long way. In 1966, for example, Playboy magazine carried an improbable interview between the black author of Roots, Alex Haley, and George Lincoln Rockwell, the leader of the American Nazi party. In it Rockwell condemned Jewish geneticists. They had, he said, hidden the fact of the black man’s inferiority in order to gull white Americans into “letting him eat in our restaurants, study in our schools, move into our neighbourhoods”. “The next inevitable step,” Rockwell added, “is to take him into our beds — and this would lead to the mongrelisation, and hence the destruction, of the white race.” So where did Rockwell get this from? In fact it was a staple of the US segregationist far right in the 1950s, which viewed moves for civil rights for American blacks as having been sponsored by urban New York Jews.

And naturally, a version of this, written by you-know-who, had appeared in Germany in 1923. In Mein Kampf Adolf Hitler wrote of how African soldiers serving with the French occupiers of industrial parts of Germany were impregnating Aryan maidens. “It was and it is Jews,” he asserted, “who bring the Negroes into the Rhineland, always with the same secret thought and clear aim of ruining the hated white race by the necessarily resulting bastardisation, throwing it down from its cultural and political height.”

It has suited some American commentators on the right to warn against reading too much into the words of the Buffalo murderer. He is, they say, clearly mentally ill. But why is it that “mental illness” should repeatedly take this particular form? Why is there this common story these killers seem to believe and which is the reason they give for killing?

Parts of the left can be hugely irritating, a few occasionally violent and many too often intolerant. But no one has ever massacred a shopping centre full of ordinary folk because the killer believes we should be taking in more refugees, or an election hustings because of what the evil government is failing to do about poverty or global warming. But the idea that “they” are conspiring to replace “us” with the other “them”? That reason for mass killing happens a lot. In the past ten years three quarters of politically inspired murderers in the US have been from the far right.

Now, I am not a believer in what someone once called “clunk-click determinism” — that if someone says X that automatically leads down the road to a killing. But nor can I possibly accept that there is no link at all. And I note that in Europe to a degree and in America to an alarming extent, quasi-respectable versions of replacement notions have gone mainstream. We reported yesterday on the 2021 claim by the popular US TV commentator Tucker Carlson, telling his millions of viewers that it was “true” and “happening, actually” that the “Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World”.

Carlson is far from alone. To the alarm of Republicans like Liz Cheney (who used to be regarded as on the centre right of her party) the GOP seems to have taken replacement ideas to its neo-Trumpian heart. In New York one runs campaign adverts claiming that Democrats aim to let felons vote so as to “overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington”. In Ohio another, the author JD Vance, talks of how Joe Biden deliberately leaves border defences weak so as to facilitate “more Democrat voters pouring into this country”.

Go back to that boy in his bedroom. At any time this talk is at best unsavoury and even dangerous. In an era of war, climate threats and economic dislocation, it feels almost incendiary. Unless Republicans — on target to win the congressional mid-terms in November — run their own internal Prevent strategy soon, colour me scared.


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