Part 2—We Occitan speakers are best: Are we all Catalonians now?
You're asking a very good question! Let's try to flesh out what you might possibly mean.
Not unlike Mr. T, we pity the poor Catalonians! Whatever their personal views might be, they're currently trapped in a growing secessionist movement, the type of tribal dispute which has routinely led to our thousands of years of human wars.
What is Catalonia, you ask? We'll let the leading authority on the subject explain:
Catalonia (Catalan: Catalunya, Occitan: Catalonha, Spanish: Cataluña) is an autonomous community of Spain located on the northeastern extremity of the Iberian Peninsula. It is designated as a nationality by its Statute of Autonomy. Catalonia consists of four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. The capital and largest city is Barcelona, the second-most populated municipality in Spain and the core of the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union. Catalonia comprises most of the territory of the former Principality of Catalonia (with the remainder Roussillon now part of France's Pyrénées-Orientales). It is bordered by France and Andorra to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the east, and the Spanish autonomous communities of Aragon to the west and Valencia to the south. The official languages are Catalan, Spanish, and the Aranese dialect of Occitan.People cursed with complex history are said to be doomed to repeat it. In this case, the modern-day successor to most of the territory of the former Principality of Catalonia is an autonomous community of Spain with a population of 7.5 million souls.
This population is able to sustain three official languages, including the Aranese dialect of Occitan. No matter their individual views, residents of this autonomous community are now locked in a growing dispute built out of long-running differences of culture and language.
These kinds of disputes have always fueled our glorious human wars. But are we all Catalonians now, even here in the States?
Alas! When such tribal disputes begin boiling up, we alleged humans tend to report to our tribal battle stations. We tend to see the brilliance and goodness of those on Our side, the evil and dumbness of Them.
For ourselves, we pity the poor Catalonians! But even as the speakers of Catalan and the Aranese dialect of Occitan square off against a modern nation's larger set of speakers of Spanish, is something like that happening here in the States, among us?
Are we Americans all Catalonians now? Our young analysts came to us with that question this morning after they read this early part of David Brooks' new column:
BROOKS (10/24/17): I’ve had a series of experiences over the past two weeks that leave the impression that everybody on earth is having the same conversation: How do you engage with fanatics?Brooks goes on to offer his thoughts about the right way to deal with a zealot. All in all, we favor his overall view.
First, I was at a Washington Nationals game when a Trump supporter in the row in front of me unleashed a 10-minute profanity-strewn tirade at me, my wife and son.
Then I went to the University at North Carolina at Asheville and watched some students engage in a heartfelt discussion over whether extremists should be allowed to speak on campus.
Then I went to Madrid, where a number of Spaniards told me that the leaders of the Catalan independence movement were so radical there was no way to reason with them.
Then I went to London where I was with pro-Brexit and anti-Brexit activists trying to have a civil conversation with one another.
Over the course of these experiences I’ve been rehearsing all the reasons to think that it’s useless to try to have a civil conversation with a zealot...
Brooks favors the approach which Dr. King derived from what he called "the love ethic of Jesus." But is it possible that we're all zealots now—or at least, that we're all stuck with a world in which the zealots are taking control of the culture and of the public discourse?
Are we all stuck with the zealots now? With the Trump supporter spewing insults? With the college students trying to shut people up?
We note that Brooks, who has long been never-Trump, is harder on the Trump supporter than on those college students. Indeed, it sounds like that Trump supporter was completely and totally out of line. By way of contrast, Brooks says the college students were "engaged in a heartfelt discussion."
A danger lurks in that presentation, as it does in all tribal wars. The danger lies in our instinctive belief that the tribal derangement is all Over There, among The Others—that we speakers of the Aranese dialect of Occitan are playing no role in the growing destructiveness of the growing dispute.
Increasingly, we Americans are engaged in a great civil war, much as the Spaniards are. Our growing meltdown has roots in our nation's real Civil War, as does the growing meltdown in Spain, including in most of the territory of the former Principality of Catalonia, with the remainder Roussillon now part of France's Pyrénées-Orientales.
For us liberals, it's easy to see the way the Trump supporters are misbehaving in public—but how about Us, Over Here? Is it possible that our animal spirits are making it hard for Us to see our own tribe's flaws? Is it possible that The Others can see our own tribe's failures and flaws in ways which we ourselves can't?
We'd have to say that's very possible. For ourselves, we're struck by our own tribe's failures and flaws in this growing war every day of the week.
We often think how things might look to The Others. Consider last Tuesday night's Anderson Cooper performance, in the 9 PM Eastern hour.
Good God, that hour was horrible! What might The Others have seen in that program? Instead of trying to speak for The Others, we'll tell you what we saw:
The bulk of this hour was the now-typical CNN pigpile, in which an array of overwrought "empty barrels" all sounded off about Donald J. Trump.
There's plenty to criticize there, of course. For ourselves, we regard Donald J. Trump as profoundly dangerous and quite possibly as some form of "mentally ill."
Others don't see him that way, of course. Here's what they might have seen had they watched that hour:
They would have seen the typical CNN pigpile, in which six anti-Trump enthusiasts wailed away at one lone Trump supporter.
We include Cooper himself in our count of the six. He has long since abandoned the pose of moderator, trading it for the role of the undisguised partisan. Starting at 10 PM Eastern, Don Lemon is even worse.
There's plenty to criticize about Donald J. Trump, but Anderson Cooper's Gang of Six were running wild this night. There's no apparent reason to book six pundits for a panel if they're all going to say the same things, but CNN has long since adopted this stance, presumably for reasons of excitement and entertainment.
The complaints against Trump were all over the map; during this particular hour, there was nothing too dumb to include. Meanwhile, the lone Trump supporter was the egregious Ed Martin, whose incessant interruptions and persistent illogic are so infallibly awful that he makes a viewer pray that CNN will please bring Jeffrey Lord back.
This six-on-one gangbang pigpile ate the vast bulk of this hour. In spite of the ludicrous stacked alignment, the work of the anti-Trump Six was so disjointed and so trivia-based that Martin was fully able to hold them at bay through his constant interruptions and his world-class streams of illogic.
Cooper made no attempt, at any point, to create a discussion which wasn't inane. Presumably, this is all part of a corporate decision concerning what makes "good TV."
How might The Others have seen this gruesome display? You're asking a very good question! Our best guess would go something like this:
We'll guess that a Trump supporter might not have seen how awful Martin is. That said, Trump supporters would likely have seen this absurd presentation as the latest example of "fake news" and liberal bias—and it isn't even slightly clear that they would have been wrong.
Especially during the evening hours, CNN has abandoned any pretense of offering actual journalism. A wide range of our liberal stars are involved in this sad display.
The Others are fully able to see this. It often seems that we liberals cannot.
Are we all Catalonians now? Are we all doomed to be washed away by the rise in animal spirits? The very best within our own tribe are being washed down this destructive old drain.
Tomorrow, we'll discuss Rep. Wilson's 2015 speech. What have liberal stars said about it? What might The Others have seen had they sat next to General Kelly as he watched that speech??
Tomorrow: Our MVP goes all in