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On the Spanish media's persecution of comedian Pepe Rubianes


Imagine that the Scottish comedian Billy Connolly decides to write a play about a once-persecuted English writer, let's say Joe Orton, (who the authorities tried to ban for years but who is now very much part of the English literary canon).
Imagine that in an interview about his play on Scottish television, Connolly slags off right-wing England, using the odd F-word. A week later the English media launch an anti-Connolly campaign, reproducing the controversial part of his interview out of context. Connolly apologises many times over for any offence caused.
Eight months later, Connolly's play is scheduled to appear in a London public theatre, the Barbican. Its artistic director is flooded with calls and messages from irate English patriots threatening to murder him if he allows the 'traitor' Connolly's play to be performed. Connolly, hearing the fear in the director's voice, decides to back down. On top of everything, both he and the Scottish journalist who interviewed him in January are given a court summons for 'injuries to the English nation'. The Conservative Party gives its full support to all of this.
Far-fetched? Maybe in the UK, but not in Spain. For Billy Connolly, read Pepe Rubianes (the Galician-born comedian resident in Catalonia) and for Joe Orton, read García Lorca, about whom Rubianes has written a play which will now not be performed in a Madrid public theatre because of a spate of nationalistic death threats. He and his Catalan interviewer Albert Om are awaiting trial on anti-patriotic charges. The Partido Popular are applauding such censorship loudly from the sidelines.
Picasso's daughter famously refused to allow his painting 'Guernica' into Spain until it became a democracy, deciding the time was right in 1981. There are moments when it really feels like she jumped the gun.

- Textos i contingut: Matthew Tree - Disseny i programació: Nac -