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The Dark Side of Spanish Christmas


      We have repeatedly praised the dignity of Spanish political life and the
excellent coverage of it by Spanish television.  We have expressed deep
respect for the work of the Spanish Franciscans in adapting Christian
Christmas to the Mexican way of life.
      Today we saw the dark side of Spanish life and its celebration of
Christmas. Virtually the whole news program on Spanish TV was devoted to
the Christmas lottery, the biggest of the year. Winners in various parts of
Spain were interviewed as they drank to toast their success. There was not
a word about the dark side of the lottery. Not one of the losers, who
greatly outnumber the winners, was interviewed, nor was there a word of
criticism of the lottery mania. Spaniards have almost the lowest income
level in Europe, and Spain has the highest unemployment rate. Spain is
fighting, over German objections, to maintain the subsidy it receives for
this reason from the European Union. The great majority of those who buy
lottery tickets are poor and cannot afford them.  The winners are chosen by
boys singing as they pick up the winning balls, so the lottery habit is
inculcated in children at an early age.  In the United States and
elsewhere, governments have resorted to gambling to raise money, in
disregard of the fact that gambling is a dangerous addiction and can
undermine a society.
      This ugly side of Spanish life coincided with the burial of a famous
bullfighter, a friend of those sorry characters Ernest Hemingway and Orson
Welles.  Crowds paid their respects to him at the church in Seville where
his funeral was held. Heaven knows how God judges him; there was no
reference to his personal life. The Catholic Church frowns on bullfighting
and priests are not supposed to attend bullfights, but the toreros usually
pray in a chapel beforehand to persuade God to be on their side. After the
funeral his body was cremated (contrary to Catholic doctrine), and his
ashes were scattered in the bullring of his native Ronda, which is his idea
of heaven. It is not the bulls' idea, but them they don't pray, so what can
they expect?
      Tomorrow Spain will return to sanity, unless there is a major soccer
match.  These are the last days of Advent, but that is a forgotten fiesta
in Catholic Spain.  Look around the world, not just Spain,  and ask
yourself :What's wrong with people?"

Ronald Hilton - 12/22/98 


More on The Dark Side of Spanish Christmas



     Tim Brown has just returned to his native Nevada. I suppose he could not
resist the state's charms. This message confirms my suspicion that he is a
closet politically correct socialist:
      "Really!!. Gambling, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. As an
unrequited Nevadan who never gambles, I applaud, not deplore legalized
gambling. After all, from my perspective it is merely a form of socially
correct taxation that does nothing more than redistribute wealth, in the
Nevada case mostly the wealth of Californians, and that makes it rather like
foreign aid, merely a means by which the poor people in a rich state
[California] send money to the rich people in a poor state [Nevada], a process
that should be beloved not cursed by all true believers in the
internationalist establishment.

     In honor of the spirit of the Season, and despite the favorite blood sport of
Washington DC, where I am passing the holidays, I will leave alll comparisons
between my home state's other legalized vice, prostitution and politics, as
well as my immediate thoughts on the potential social value of occasionally
cremating some of its heroes and then scattering their ashes in the similarly
shaped "bull" rings of this city for another time.
            And a merry Christmas to all!"

Ronald Hilton - 12/23/98

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