Saturday, September 25

The degradation of criticism

On July 19, Antonio Avendaño rescued in El Plural the letter from a reader of El País sent to its editor regarding an article published by Juan Luis Cebrián that said the following: “I am a subscriber of El País and I cannot understand why why your newspaper continues to publish articles by Juan Luis Cebrián. And not because they are bad, but because the pages of this newspaper squeak. The problem is not in their content, but in their tone. joke: ‘It doesn’t bother me that he calls me son of a bitch. What bothers me is the way he says it to me.’

“I do not doubt, rather the opposite, of the intellectual and journalistic solvency of the former director of El País, whose new ideas I respect without reservation and whose old phobias I endure without protest, but for some time now his articles would fit much better in ‘La third ‘of ABC than in the newspaper that he directed with such success and success for so many years “.

I recover this letter after having read last Saturday at Babelia Juan Luis Cebrián’s criticism of the books by Gerardo Pisarello and Ernesto Ekaizer (‘Stop being subjects’,’ The end of the Bourbon restoration ‘and’ The naked king. History of a fraud ‘), with the title ‘The degradation of the pamphlet’. It suits him like a glove.

As Juan Luis Cebrián does not stitch without a thread, he begins his criticism with the quote from an article of mine to attack, without expressly mentioning it, this newspaper, which he describes as “one of the most obsequious and sectarian digital newspapers of the many that populate the Hispanic cyberspace “.

The sectarian is a subjective opinion and as such unverifiable. But what is obsequent is not. The Dictionary of the RAE, of which Juan Luis Cebrián is a member, defines obsequious as “obedient, surrendered or submissive”. How can El País say without shame that this newspaper is “obedient, surrendered or submissive”? Where does the degradation of criticism begin and end?

But let’s get to the bottom of the matter. ‘The degradation of the pamphlet’ is part of the rehabilitation campaign of the so-called king emeritus, which is accentuated as the trajectory of Don Juan Carlos de Borbón as king becomes more visible. It can be done correctly, as López Burniol does in La Vanguardia (‘Real Ostracism in Spain’ 1 and 2), resorting to the opinion of several Hispanists, mainly English, to place the figure of King Juan Carlos in the political context of the Transition and to value his contribution to the departure of General Franco’s regime. In his opinion, a “compensated assessment” should be made of the execution of Don Juan Carlos de Borbón, which should lead not to his rehabilitation, but to his being left alone.

Juan Luis Cebrián’s position is, on the contrary, the defense of the Spanish parliamentary monarchy as if it were a crowned republic. “… to the despair of the promoters of ‘republiquetas’ (Felipe González dixit) we live in a world of paradoxes in which the Spanish parliamentary monarchy represents and defends republican values ​​better than anyone in our history.” These are the final words of the Babelia article.

On September 12, 2020, I published an article with the title ‘Is it possible to republican the Spanish monarchy?’, In which I debated Daniel Innerarity’s proposal to incorporate “republican values” into the monarchy. I have published several more over the last four years, most notably on the occasion of the king’s speech on October 3, 2017 on Catalonia and in the book recently edited by Sebastián Martín and Víctor Vázquez, ‘The King as a constitutional problem’, There is a chapter VII written by me with the title ‘The settlement of accounts with the Monarchy as a premise for the construction of the Constitutional State’, in which I explain in detail the “half truth” of the parliamentary monarchy of the Constitution of 1978 and the limitation that this “half truth” supposes for Spanish democracy.

I leave it to the intelligence of the reader to draw the conclusion that seems appropriate.

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