French-hating, some drugs, and a quirky royal family
French-hating, some drugs, and a quirky royal family
What the fuck is this?
That’s your reaction? You’re being quite rude. This is probably a new section of mine. Everybody is talking about their country: Coyote with his crazy family Mexican stories, Gany with space things (she’s from space, right?)... So now I present you “Spain is Different”, where I will talk endlessly about the weird things that happen here.
Wait, I remember you now. You are that guy who wrote the Spanish TV thing, aren’t you?
Yes, I am. Everybody liked it, from what I recall.
That’s your problem, not mine. Anyways, let’s get this started. What do you want me to tell you?
What is Spain?
Are you kidding me? Well, I don’t want to be an asshole, so I’ll explain it to you. We are like very on the left of Europe.
No, not that Europe...
Our country is a monarchy, much to the dismay of the moderately sized but noisy group of republicans here. The king, Juan Carlos de Borbón, is the bottom of thousands of jokes, much like his predecessor, dictator Francisco Franco (however, if you make a joke about Juan Carlos is quite unlikely to end up in jail, which happened a lot more under Franco's command).
It isn't that difficult to become king of Spain.
Our administrative divisions, called "autonomous communities", aren't that different from those on the US. They have less authority: for example, the laws are exactly the same in each of the 17 communities, which means that if you have commited a crime you have to flee the country and you may end up in France, which, according to many Spaniards, is a fate worse than death.
Why those feelings towards the French?
Well, Spain and France are neighbours. Historically, we've also been rivals. For most of the XVII, XVIII and XIX centuries, we were fighting the French (at least when they weren't fighting the British, their other sworn enemy). Then Napoleon invaded us, he put his stupid brother in charge, and we managed to get rid of him six years later. Things were quite peaceful until...
Until this happened.
It's quite possible that you don't understand at all what's happening there, so I'll give you a little context.
We all know that doping is a problem in sports in general, but even more in cycling. There is a lot of control nowadays, but it's impossible to eradicate it completely. However, when Alberto Contador, then winner of 3 Tours of France, tested positive for having 0,00000000005 grams per millilitre of clenbuterol in his blood (it's a bronchodilator, and a forbidden substance), everyone was surprised. We've been shown once and again that even the people who looked innocent weren't, but Contador? That was impossible. He said that he ingested it from a dish of rare meat, or something like that. That seemed plausible.
This controversy was enough for French to accuse Spanish sports as a whole of doping. That video that you see there is four of the most important Spanish sportsmen (Contador himself, Rafa Nadal, probably Pau Gasol and soccer goalkeeper Iker Casillas) singing a song about how much we like "drinking bull's blood", or how we are the kings of "EPO" (erythropoietin, one of the most well-known performance-enhancing drugs).
They released similar videos for some time and, of course, for a country where the only thing that we can be proud of is sports, this called for a shit-storm.
After some days, things were calm again, but we won't forget this. A month ago, or so, we all cheered when two Spanish men played the finals of Paris's Roland Garros tennis tournament (Nadal and David Ferrer). It was like a big "in your face, France".
Wow, this turned into a French hate rant pretty quickly.
Oh, I have nothing against France. I'm only saying what happened.
You have to lighten up this a bit. Try with something funny.
I'll go to the webpage of some newspaper and crack jokes about some funny news, ErictheJewBear style. Let's see: "The IMF asks for another labor reform that cheapens layoffs and reduces wages". Oh, that's sad. And there's this awful monster that killed his two children, oh God. This is getting worse.
Quick, you are losing me. I don't know, what worries Spain right now?
Everything. We've got problems everywhere. There are no jobs and no money, even after we did what the European Union told us we had to do. Catalonia is again and again saying that they want their own country. Every politician is a thief. And you want funny stuff? Fuck you, you unknown guy.
Hey, I'm only here to help you write something. OK, tell me something about your royal family.
Well, King Juan Carlos is married to a Greek princess called Sofia and they've got three children. Prince Felipe, heir to the throne, is married to a former anchorwoman called Letizia. Infante Elena was married to a rich entrepreneur who did a lot of drugs (or so we say). And Infante Cristina is married to a former handball player turned mafioso.
Now this is the story of a wealthy family who lost everything...
That's good. That's pretty interesting. Tell me more about this mafioso guy.
His name is Iñaki Urdangarín, and everybody liked him. Then we discovered that he was laundering money with the help of a organization called Nóos Institute that served virtually no purpose other than wasting money and signing agreements which were never fulfilled. And now they are investigating his wife, too.
What? The fucking daughter of the King is prosecuted by justice?
More or less. People say that a good wife knows what businesses is his husband into, or something like that. And as such, she must have known about all that money stealing hobby of Iñaki.
Oh, now I remember something funny. A few days ago, the judge of this "Nóos case" said that Cristina had sold 13 properties for €1.4 million , and this money didn't appear anywhere.
Well, it turns out that IRS had made a mistake with her ID card number, and she had nothing to do with that. The funny thing is that, since she's a member of the Royal Family, her ID number is... 14.
Wait a minute. They fucked up with a number as simple as 14... thirteen times? Are you Spanish people on drugs all time?
Mmmm... Yes, yes, that might explain everything.
It would definitely explain this.
I think I've run out of questions for today.
Then I'll wrap this up. I'll be back next week, and if you have any questions that my dear Bucholz-esque friend might ask me about Spain, post them or PM them to me!
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