Friday, December 8, 2017

How to Boost Your Productivity: Emulate Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera

Do you own your own business? 

Cosmo Spacely, Owners of Spacely Sprockets, Inc. on The Jetsons
Or do you work for someone else?

George Jetson, employee of Spacely Sprockets, Inc.  
Whether you work for yourself or are employed by someone else, you probably are constantly striving to boost your productivity. If you are a business owner, increased productivity means increased profits. If you are an employee, increased productivity means greater standing within the company, or, failing that, greater competitiveness in the job market.

If you would like to improve your productivity, you could do a lot worse than to emulate two legends of the animation industry: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. 

Joe, Bill, and their main stars. From left to right: Yogi Bear, Joe Barbera, Scooby-Doo, Fred Flintstone, Bamm-Bamm Rubble, Pebbles Flintstone, Bill Hanna, George Jetson, and Huckleberry Hound 
As you may recall from this blog post, Hanna and Barbera started their own animation company after losing their jobs at MGM. The animation company they created — Hanna-Barbera Productions — is renowned for making television cartoons financially viable. They did so by adopting the limited animation method, which allowed them to produce the steady, ceaseless stream of cartoons that the demands of television required. In my estimation, Hanna and Barbera’s success in the field of television animation was due to four major factors: (1) they worked hard, (2) they knew how to manage their workload, (3) they made the most of the means they had at their disposal, and (4) they constantly broadened their horizons. By adopting (or perfecting) these four traits — hard work, managing your workload, making the most of what you have, and broadening your horizons — you too can take your productivity to the next level. 

There is no denying that Hanna, Barbera, and their staff worked themselves extremely hard in order to meet the grueling demands of TV. As Barbera once reflected, “In terms of work, what we are doing is impossible. At MGM, we turned out a total of 48 minutes of cartoon film a year. We now turn out more than that in a week. Recently one of our artists said to me, ‘Joe, do you realize how much work we’re doing here? I said, ‘Don’t tell me. I don’t want to think about it. I’m scared to death!’” Despite feeling overwhelmed at times, Barbera had confidence in his company’s ability to meet the demands the animation industry placed on it. On one occasion, Hanna-Barbera publicity director Sarah Baisley noticed Barbera looking very tired. Someone had just asked him for a favor, and he had promised to follow through. Baisley asked Barbera if he ever got tired of people asking him to do things for them. Barbera replied, “It’s okay. They’re only asking me because I can.” 

Hard work is crucial to success. Working like crazy in and of itself, though, won’t get you anywhere if there is no method to your madness. Hanna and Barbera were very lucky to have very different but complementary personality traits. Just as importantly, they recognized this fact and turned it to their advantage. Accordingly, each man ran his own half of the company more or less independently of the other. In 1988, Barbera explained, “We lean toward different areas of the business, so we each get to do what we like. I work on creating the ideas for the projects, and trying to sell those ideas in the various markets. Bill oversees the actual production in studios all over the world, which I would hate doing.” Evidently, a sense of humor also helped them cope with their workload. Musing on the division of labor between himself and his business partner, Barbera once noted, “When Bill’s out of town, I turn the light out behind his name on the studio sign, but he does the same thing to me when I’m gone so we stay even. I have to answer a question that has been asked a lot lately. How can two people work together for 50 years and not fight? We did fight the very first week, and we haven’t spoken since.” 

Beyond working hard and dividing their labor, Hanna and Barbera made the most of the means that were at their disposal. For example, they greatly valued their employees and consistently strove to make sure they were happy. One day, they made the mistake of installing time clocks at the studio. Jean Ann Wright, a former assistant animator at Hanna-Barbera, recalls that many animators were deeply offended. The next day, Hanna restored their goodwill with this humorous memo: “Joe and I do not know how it happened, but over the weekend some sneaky guy climbed over the fence and installed a bunch of time clocks in our studio. We want you to know that we have ordered them taken out, which will be pretty darn quick because we were pretty emphatic about it.”

Just as importantly, Bill and Joe made the most of limited animation. I think I made the drawbacks of limited animation pretty clear in my previous blog post on Hanna-Barbera. Suffice it to say here that limited animation is no match for the sheer beauty of the full animation that characterizes the movie theater cartoons of what is quite justifiably known as the Golden Age of Animation. Hanna and Barbera were the first to recognize this fact; limited animation was not a stylistic choice but rather a necessity of the tighter budgets and faster timetables of television. Hanna and Barbera knew that if their television cartoons were to prove successful, they could not rely heavily on the animation to seduce audiences. They needed something more. They needed rich voices and sophisticated humor. 

Accordingly, Bill and Joe recruited talented character actors such as Daws Butler and Don Messick to give distinctive, memorable voices to their characters. The talent of Daws Butler is best captured by the following anecdote, which is recounted in Daws Butler: Characters Actor, a biography of Butler by radio historian Ben Ohmert and voice actor Joe Bevilacqua. When Butler was auditioning for a role in Ruff and Reddy, Hanna-Barbera’s very first made-for-TV series, Barbera told him that he wanted Reddy the dog to have a Southern voice. In response, Butler spent 30 minutes mimicking the myriad dialects that existed in the South: “Well, North Carolina would sound like that and South Carolina would be a little slower, like that, and the Cracker, oh the Cracker voice down in Florida, the Everglades, and then if we go over into Atlanta...” Butler’s versatility earned him the role of Reddy — and, later on, the role of such legendary characters as Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, or Mr. Jinks. 

In addition to excellent voice actors like Butler and Messick, two experienced writers  Mike Maltese and Warren Foster   helped Hanna-Barbera turn out high-quality cartoons even while working within the constraints of limited animation. During their many years writing for the Warner Bros. animation division, which was famous for producing Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies movie theater cartoons, these two men proved themselves to be comedic geniuses. At Hanna-Barbera, Maltese and Foster contributed countless imaginative lines to TV cartoons. For instance, in one cartoon, Snagglepuss the pink mountain lion challenges a pirate to a game of cards: “How’s about a little game of poker? Damp Jacks wild. Gin rummy? Chemin de fer? Whist? Old Maid? Young Maid? Tiddlywinks? Potsy, maybe? (Whips out tennis racket). Tennis anyone? Or isn’t tennis your racket? Ya get it? Ya get it?” In another cartoon, Snagglepuss finds himself out west: “Ah! The west at last. With its spaces. Wide open, even. Its weeds that tumble. Its get-along-little-doggie. How picturesque. How calendar-artie!” When he accidentally shoots an outlaw, he tells a cheering crowd, “’Twas a mere nothin’. A paltry piddlin’ pittance of pistol practice, even.”

As you can see, puns and alliteration such as these played a major role in making Hanna-Barbera cartoons must-watch TV — and not only for kids. The adventures of Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw were enthusiastically followed at many coffee houses. One official questionnaire given to Tucson, Arizona, police officers, included the question, “Do you watch Huckleberry Hound on television?” Huckleberry Hound was also very popular with college students. In 1960, The Huckleberry Hound Show was one of the top four most popular shows among Yale students. Even rocket scientists loved the blue hound. A team of scientists at the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico asked their local TV station to air Huckleberry Hound at a later time of day because they were too busy working on missile projects during The Huckleberry Hound Show’s air time. Perhaps most surprisingly, an island in the Antarctic was named after Huckleberry Hound

The somewhat surprising popularity of Hanna-Barbera cartoons among adults led Hanna and Barbera to broaden their horizons. Beginning in 1960, Hanna-Barbera produced not only cartoons aimed at kids but also cartoon shows specifically targeted at adult audiences such as The Flintstones...

The Jetsons... 

and Jonny Quest. 

So, there you have it, folks. If you want to boost your productivity, follow the example of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera: work hard, manage your workload, make the most of the means you have at your disposal, and broaden your horizons. Who knows? Your next business idea may just become the biggest sensation since Huckleberry Hound.   

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Testament of José Antonio Primo de Rivera

As promised, here is my translation of the testament of José Antonio Primo de Rivera. 

Before we get to the testament itself, however, a bit of context would be helpful. In March 1936, José Antonio was arrested and charged with illegal possession of firearms. In Spain: A Unique History, historian Stanley G. Payne — who, for what it’s worth, is not an admirer of José Antonio — describes this as “an arrest of dubious legality.” He would remain in prison — facing trial after trial for what Payne calls “a series of (sometimes artificial) charges” — until his execution on November 20, 1936. By that time, the Spanish Civil War had been raging for four months. 

José Antonio’s execution came on the heels of, and as a result of, his trial for the charge of “conspiracy and military rebellion.” Certainly, there was a military conspiracy and, eventually (in July 1936), a rebellion — the failure of this rebellion to immediately topple the Popular Front government of the Spanish Republic marked the official beginning of the Spanish Civil War (the Popular Front was an alliance of left-wing political parties that came to power in February 1936, in the wake of an election rife with voter fraud). Like many of the earlier charges against José Antonio, the charge with involvement in the conspiracy and rebellion was legally dubious. As Falange Española Digital, a most fascinating blog that I recently discovered, points out, “Given that José Antonio had been in prison for months before the rebellion took place, it is hard to see how he could have taken part in it.” 

Not only did José Antonio face sham charges, he also faced a kangaroo court. The jury was deliberately stacked with supporters of the Popular Front. 

Remarkably, despite these adverse conditions, José Antonio almost managed to persuade the jury to acquit him! 

The jury deliberated for four hours before handing down a “guilty” verdict. According to José Antonio biographer Felipe Ximénez de Sandoval, the jurors’ deliberations ended in a tie vote. The stalemate was broken in a highly irregular manner: “One of the jurors — a socialist with the surname Domenech who worked for the hardware store Panadés y Chorro, in Alicante — imposed, pistol in hand, the death sentence, amid an unspeakable scandal.” Thus did the threat of violence condemn José Antonio Primo de Rivera to death.           

While it may seem surprising that José Antonio was almost able to persuade the rigged jury to acquit him, it’s not so surprising if we remember that José Antonio’s ideology was a synthesis of right-wing and left-wing thought. Incidentally, this is why I admire Falangism: it combined the best, and eschewed the worst, of the left and the right. Adapted to the twenty-first century, it could do so again. But I digress. To better understand the core principle of Falangism (and why José Antonio managed to make a positive impression on a very hostile audience), it helps to look at José Antonio’s analysis of the Spanish Left and the Spanish Right, from his open letter to “a Spanish soldier,” which he wrote in November 1934 — that is, just after a failed attempt at violent Communist revolution in Spain: 

“The Left is more numerous [than the Right] (don’t forget that the Left includes almost the entirety of the immense Spanish proletariat); more impetuous; more politically astute… but it is anti-national. If we ignore artificial partisan divides, we see that the Left is comprised of two main factions: 

  1. A bourgeoisie, predominantly intellectual. Having been educated abroad and strongly influenced by international institutions, members of this part of the Left are incapable of feeling Spain in the depths of their hearts. Thus, everything which tends to break up national unity has been uncritically accepted by the left-wing media. 
  2. A proletarian mass completely won over to Marxism. Socialist politics, conducted in an extremely persistent and able manner, have almost managed to rake out patriotic emotions from this mass. The Marxist multitudes carry nothing in their spirit except for a baleful conception of life as class struggle. That which is not proletarian does not interest them; as a result, they cannot feel solidarity with any conception of the nation that embraces anything beyond that which is strictly proletarian. Marxism, if it triumphs, will eradicate even the leftist bourgeoisie with which it is currently allied. In this the Russian experience is very instructive. 

And the Right? The Right invokes great things: the fatherland, tradition, authority… but they, too, are not truly national. If they were — that is, if they did not hide a class-based interest behind noble words, they would not be entrenched in defense of economically unjust positions. Spain is, for the time being, a rather poor country. In order for the life of the average Spaniard to reach a level of human decency, the more privileged among us must make sacrifices. If the Right (which all of the privileged classes support) had a true sense of national solidarity, they would by now be sharing, through the sacrifice of their material advantages, in the harsh life of the common people. Only then would the Right would have the moral authority to hold itself up as the defender of the great spiritual values. But as long as the Right defends its class interests tooth and nail, its patriotism will sound like empty words, and right-wingers will continue to prove themselves to be as materialistic as the representatives of Marxism.”        

Given José Antonio’s clear concern for the well-being of the common people and his biting condemnation of the reactionary Right, it’s not so hard to imagine Marxist revolutionaries being swayed by José Antonio’s testimony from deep hostility to him to a measure of sympathy for him. As the filmmaker José Luis Sáenz de Heredia wrote during a research project for a planned movie about José Antonio, 

“The jury, at ten-thirty in the night, has received a questionnaire consisting of twenty-six questions, each of which require only a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. The jury consists of members of the political parties and labor unions of the Popular Front. Thus, they are logically predisposed to render a ‘guilty’ verdict. Given the jurors’ hostile predisposition towards the defendant, it also seems logical that their answers to the twenty-six questions would be a mere formality. Nonetheless, that is not what happens. The hostile jurors have just listened to a man who is not that whom they hate. They (or at least some of them) thought another man, whom they were sure they knew all too well, was on trial. There are no legitimate grounds to hate the man who has just spoken. He is not an idle and lazy aristocrat. Nor is he a pimp, a gunman, or a fascist. And though not all of the jurors, of course, are able to express this in words, there is in him an intangible element of human greatness that transcends the boundaries of logic, goes beyond purity, and touches — one knows not how — one’s heart.”        

Without further ado, then, let us turn to the testament of José Antonio: 

“Testament written and granted by José Antonio Primo de Rivera y Sáenz de Heredia, 
thirty-three years of age, single, attorney, native and resident of Madrid, son of Miguel and Casilda (may they rest in peace), in the Provincial Prison of Alicante, on the eighteenth of November of the year nineteen hundred and thirty-six. 

Sentenced to death yesterday, I ask God that if he does not see fit to free me from that fate, that he help me maintain until the end the decorous tranquility with which I foresee that hour and that, when he judges my soul, that he apply not the measure of what I deserve, but rather that of his infinite mercy. 

On the one hand, I worry that my desire to leave at this juncture an accounting of some of my deeds may be a manifestation of vanity and excessive attachment to the things of this world. On the other hand, since I have galvanized the faith of many of my comrades to a degree far greater than my own worth (which I know all too well, to the point that I write this phrase with the most straightforward and contrite sincerity), and since I have moved so many of them to take on enormous risks and responsibilities, to leave them behind without any kind of explanation would seem to me to be inconsiderate ingratitude. 

It is not necessary that I repeat now what I said and wrote many times about what the founders of the Spanish Falange intended it to be. It amazes me that, even after three years, the vast majority of our compatriots continue to judge us without having begun to even remotely understand us and even without having sought or accepted the slightest bit of information. Should the Falange consolidate itself into something durable, I hope all will be cognizant of the hurt we feel at the fact that so much blood has been shed because, between the fury of one side and the antipathy of the other, no one cared to pay us serene attention. May that split blood forgive me the part I have had in provoking it, and may the comrades that preceded me in making the ultimate sacrifice receive me as the latest of their own. 

Yesterday, for the last time, I explained to the Court that was judging me what the Falange is. As on so many occasions, I reviewed and adduced the old texts of our familiar doctrine. Once again, I observed that a great many faces, at first hostile, grew illuminated, first with surprise and then with sympathy. In the expressions on these faces I seemed to read this sentence: “Had we known what this was, we wouldn’t be here!” And indeed, we wouldn’t have been there, nor would I have been before a People’s Court, nor would others be killing themselves across the fields of Spain as I write this. Nonetheless, it was too late to avoid all of this, and I limited myself to reciprocating the loyalty and the valor of my esteemed comrades, winning for them the respectful attention of their enemies. 

That was my aim — not to win for myself with tinsel gallantry the posthumous reputation of a hero. I did not claim to be responsible for everything, nor did I resort to any other variant of the romantic stereotype. I defended myself with the best resources of my profession of attorney, which I love so much and which I cultivated with such assiduity. Perchance there will no shortage of posthumous commentators who will fault me for not having preferred the art of the bluff. To each his own. As for myself, aside from the fact that I am not a good actor, it would have been monstrous and cowardly to hand over without a defense a life that could still have been useful and that God did not give me the right to burn in a holocaust of vanity like a display of fireworks. I also aimed to avoid descending to the level of reproachable deceit or to compromise anybody with my defense, as well as to cooperate with the defense of my siblings Margot* and Miguel, who were on trial with me and were threatened with very grave sentences. I thought it advantageous to not only maintain certain silences in the course of my defense, but also to make certain accusations, accusations grounded in the suspicion that the authorities had deliberately isolated me in the middle of a region that to this end had remained submissive. I must declare here that I have not the slightest proof for this suspicion. Though, exasperated by my solitude and desperately seeking explanations for it, I sincerely nourished this suspicion in my spirit, now, just before my death, I cannot and should not maintain it. 
Another matter remains for me to clarify. The absolute isolation from all communication in which I have lived since shortly after the beginning of the war was broken solely by an American journalist [Jay Allen], who, with the permission of the authorities, asked me to make a few statements in early October. Until, five or six days ago, I saw the brief filed against me, I have not had knowledge of the statements that were attributed to me, because neither the newspapers that contained them nor any other newspapers were available to me. Reading these statements now, I declare that among the various paragraphs presented as mine, some of which interpret my thought more faithfully than others, there is one that I completely reject: the one that badmouths my comrades of the Falange for cooperating in the rebel movement alongside “foreign mercenaries.” I have never said anything remotely like that, and yesterday I declared as much outright before the Court, although declaring this did not help my case. I cannot defame military forces that have rendered Spain heroic services in Africa. I cannot from here reproach comrades whom I do not know whether they are well- or poorly-led, but who surely try to interpret in good faith my longtime axioms and doctrines. God grant that their arduous commitment is never taken advantage of for any task other than that of building the great Spain of which the Falange dreams. 

I wish mine would be the last Spanish blood spilt in civil discords. I wish I could find the Spanish people — so rich in good, endearing qualities, Fatherland, Bread, and Justice — already at peace.

I think I have nothing left to say about my public life. As to my impending death, I await it without swagger — for it is never a happy thing to die at my age — but also without protest. May the Lord our God accept in it what it has of sacrifice to partially compensate for the egotism and vanity I have displayed in much of my life. I forgive with all my soul whomever may have hurt or offended me, without exception, and I pray that all those to whom I owe reparation for any offense, large or small, will forgive me.      


*Margarita Larios Fernández de Villavicencio, the wife of José Antonio’s brother Miguel, and therefore José Antonio’s sister-in-law. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Recommended Reading: Cyber Monday Edition

Yes, I know Thanksgiving 2017 is behind us. But, at least it's Cyber Monday. Plus, it is now officially the Christmas season, so why not celebrate with a festive comic book story, even if it is Thanksgiving-themed?

Well, you're in luck: IDW Disney comics translator and dialoguer Joe Torcivia has just such a story up on his blog, featuring Tom and Jerry.

Some of the stereotypes of American Indians can be rather jarring. I know they were to me, and, as you can tell from the contents of this blog, I'm anything but politically correct! Once you get used to these, though, you'll find that this is a very endearing and amusing story, as Tom and Jerry stories tend to be.

This story vaguely reminds me of a classic Tom and Jerry cartoon: 1949's "The Little Orphan."

The main difference between "The Little Orphan" and the comic book story I'm about to link to is that while in "The Little Orphan" Tom plays the role of an American Indian and Jerry and Nibbles play Pilgrims, in the comic book story Tom's ancestor is shown as a Pilgrim while Jerry and Nibbles (who is named Tuffy in the comic books) are shown as Indians.

If you like "The Little Orphan," you'll like this story

Speaking of comic books, I've improved a couple of this blog's previous comic book-related posts by enlarging the pictures for greater ease of reading. If you haven't read these posts before (or if you did but didn't enjoy them that much because the pictures were annoyingly small), check them out here and here.  

Monday, November 20, 2017

Recommended Reading: 20N Edition

Giant cross crowning the Valle de los Caídos, where both Franco and José Antonio are interred. May both their souls rest in peace. 

Today — November 20, 2017 — marks the forty-second anniversary of the death of Francisco Franco Bahamonde and the eighty-first anniversary of the execution murder in cold blood of José Antonio Primo de Rivera by the Popular Front government during the Spanish Civil War.  

Here at Pelayo’s Gazette, we began our commemorations of this solemn occasion last Saturday, with our translation of Franco’s testament. 

We continue our commemorations today, with links to some interesting articles (in Spanish) about Franco, his regime, and his legacy.

1. Spanish historian Pío Moa evaluates Franco’s place in history. Allow me to translate just one paragraph from this magnificent opinion column: 

“Franco saved Spain from a totalitarian revolution and separatist disintegration. That in itself earns him a very special place in the last several centuries of our history. Next, Franco kept Spain out of World War II — an achievement almost as great as the first. Later, he had to confront the United Nations — a conglomerate of democracies, dictatorships, and Communist regimes that sought to spark a massive famine in Spain to make the regime fall. An intention all the more criminal considering that Spain did not enter World War II. Once again, Franco prevailed. In the midst of this international hostility, Franco also defeated the maquis, a dangerous Communist guerrilla movement: in Greece, Britain and the hellenic government were impotent in the face of a similar guerrilla war, and the United States had to intervene. Once all of these challenges — which very few European statesmen had to face — were overcome, Spain’s economy grew at an unprecedented pace — the most rapid economic growth in the world save that of Japan. In addition to all of this, the social and political hatreds that had destroyed the Republic were largely overcome as early as the 1940s, the maquis being the exception that proved the rule.”        

2. There are many myths surrounding the Valle de los Caídos, or Valley of the Fallen — a Catholic basilica near Madrid built during the 1940s and 1950s where fallen soldiers from both sides of the Spanish Civil War — as well as, later, José Antonio Primo de Rivera and, eventually, Francisco Franco — were buried. Critics of Franco claim that the Valle de los Caídos was built by political prisoners who were essentially slaves, that their working conditions were poor and that many died, that it was built as a future mausoleum for Franco, and that it cost the Spanish government a fortune at a time when the nation was very poor. This article demolishes each of these criticisms, noting that:
    • The Valle was built by a mix of prisoners and free laborers.
    • The prisoners volunteered to work there in exchange for reduced sentences.
    • During the first eight years of construction not a single worker died. 
    • Over the course of construction, which lasted from 1943 until 1962, a total of 15 workers — both prisoner and free — died. This is a relatively low number of deaths, considering the nature of the work and the long period of time during which construction took place.
    • Both prisoners and free workers received relatively good wages and healthy meals. The education of the children of the prisoners was subsidized by the state. 
    • Franco never imagined he would be buried in the Valle. He wanted to be buried in Madrid. Ultimately, however, King Juan Carlos I and Prime Minister Carlos Arias Navarro decided to bury Franco in the Valle.  
    • The monument was paid for not with public funds, but entirely with the remainder of voluntary donations to the National side during the Spanish Civil War and with the sales of lottery tickets.   

3. Critics of Franco often claim that the Catalan language was banned during his years in power. This is a very misleading assertion. To be sure, the repression of regional languages by the Franco regime — part of an effort to combat regional separatisms — was a very real thing. During the early years of the regime, the use of Catalan (for example) by the media, educational institutions, or government institutions was banned. All such official, public communication had to be in Castilian (better known as Spanish). This, combined with a massive migration of people from Castilian-speaking regions of Spain, caused a fairly sharp decline in the number of Catalan speakers over time. Nonetheless, it was not illegal for people to speak Catalan in their homes or with their neighbors. 

It is just as important, however, to recognize that as the separatist threat weakened and Spain’s prosperity grew, the Franco regime’s repression of minority languages declined. Here, for instance, is a plaque from 1964 — in Catalan — commemorating the creation of the General Community of Irrigators of the Canals of Urgel. Notice that on this plaque even the names of Spanish government officials are rendered in Catalan. For instance, Franco’s name is rendered as “Francesc Franco Bahamonde.” 

4. Moreover, beginning in the 1940s, scholarship, literary production, and publication in Catalan — as well as the celebration and commemoration of great Catalan literary figures such as Joan Maragall — received ample support and recognition from the Franco regime, as this article shows. The depth and breadth of this cultural outpouring is far too great to repeat here. Let me just point out a few particularly interesting points: 
  • As early as 1942, a book in Catalan was published legally — Rosa mística, by Mossén Camil Geis. 
  • In 1944, universities offering courses in Romance philology were required to offer courses in Catalan philology. 
  • In 1952, during one of Franco’s visits to Catalonia, the Milà I Fontanals Chair for the scientific study of the Catalan language was created. 
  • In the 1960s, Catalan translations of two iconic Belgian comic book series were published: René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s The Adventures of Asterix and Hergé’s The Adventures of Tintin. (Yeah, I know — hardly the most significant examples of publication in Catalan during the Franco regime. But, come on: this blog is in part about comics and cartoons — did you really expect me to not highlight something like this?)  

5. In closing, see this article describing a moment of silence that was held at the United Nations in honor of Francisco Franco. That is poetic justice, in my book: the organization that tried to destroy the Franco regime ultimately had to respectfully pay tribute to it. 

We will close our commemorations of this year’s 20N in a few days with our translation of José Antonio’s testament, so stay tuned for that.  


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Testament of Francisco Franco


As the hour at which I must surrender my life to the Most High and appear before him to receive his unappealable judgement, I ask God to benignly welcome me to his presence, for I have wished to live and die as a Catholic. In Christ’s name I am honored, and it has been my constant desire to be a loyal son of the Church, within which I will die. I ask forgiveness of all, just as with all my heart I forgive all those who declared themselves my enemies, though I never regarded them as such. I believe and hope that I never had any enemies other than those who were enemies of Spain, which I love unto my last breath and which I promised to serve until the last moment of my life, which I know is at hand. 

I would like to thank all those who with enthusiasm, dedication, and abnegation have collaborated with me in the great task of forging a united, great, and free Spain. Out of the love I have for our fatherland, I ask you all to persevere in unity and in peace, and to treat the future King of Spain, don Juan Carlos de Borbón, with the same affection and loyalty that you have given me and lend him, at all times, the same support I have received from you. 

Do not forget that the enemies of Spain and of Christian civilization are alert. Please be vigilant yourselves, and, to that end, sacrifice all personal goals to the supreme interests of the fatherland and the Spanish people. Do not cease in achieving social justice and culture for all Spaniards and make that your foremost objective. Maintain the unity of the lands of Spain, exalting the rich diversity of its regions as a source of strength for the unity of the fatherland. 

I would like, in my last moment, to unite the names of God and of Spain and embrace you all to shout together, one last time, on the threshold of my death, 

  ¡Arriba España! ¡Viva España! 

Generalísimo Francisco Franco, Caudillo of Spain

Friday, November 17, 2017

Recommended Reading

Álvaro Romero Ferreiro discusses (in Spanish) Francisco Franco’s love for Catalonia, as reflected in the considerable time he personally spent in that region, the great attention his regime devoted to Catalonia, and his regime’s many accomplishments there. To give you an idea of these accomplishments, allow me to translate one brief excerpt from the article into English:

“The creation of SEAT (a Spanish car manufacturer based in Catalonia), the international Ondas de Cataluña entertainment awards, the Barcelona Sports Palace, the organization of the second Mediterranean Olympic games, the creation of the Chair of Spanish American studies at the University of Barcelona, the Valle de Hebrón Hospital (to this day one of the crown jewels of the Spanish healthcare system, albeit considerably deteriorated since the transfer of jurisdiction over healthcare from the national level to the local level), the construction of 4,020 houses for homeowners plus an additional 225 dwellings for SEAT autoworkers (living in some of these houses today are no doubt separatists yearning for the Catalan Republic), the organization of an international trade fair, the Universidad Laboral de Tarragona…” 

On another note, it’s been a while since we last featured a cartoon-related post on this blog. One is coming soon, but in the meantime, Thad Komorowski — a freelance cartoon restoration artist and a dialoguer for IDW’s line of Disney comic books — recently shared a fascinating magazine article from 1952 about the UPA animation studio (perhaps best known for Mr. Magoo). What I really enjoyed about the article is its in-depth discussion of the process by which cartoons were made during the twentieth century. Being a cartoon geek (why else would I talk about cartoons on my blog?), I previously was familiar with many of the stages of making an animated cartoon, but this article clearly laid out for me something I did not fully understand before: the exact order of the steps in the process and how they relate to one another. Check it out. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Why Peoples Need Heroes

“The Spanish bourgeoisie knows of other great men, but the common people — the people who labor and fight; the people who die or lose their loved ones in war — know of only two great men. One is real and tangible; sometimes, the people even see or hear him: he is the Caudillo. The other is a rather mysterious figure, in that people imagine him as if he were a hero from long ago. People know no more about him than they do about the saints or the beloved heroes of legend and song: he is José Antonio. It is a well-known fact that the humble peasant women who pronounce his name know neither who he was, nor when or where he lived. What they do know of him is an intuitive way of being, based not so much on what they hear about him but on their own desires. Every honest, simple, and sincere Spaniard sees in José Antonio the qualities he wishes all political leaders had. In the popular imagination, then, José Antonio has no equal, for people attribute to him qualities or characteristics diametrically opposed to those that Spaniards saw in that long, miserable line of mediocre political leaders that plagued Spain for so many years.” 

Gonzalo Torrente Ballester, prologue to José Antonio: An Anthology (1939) 

*Translated from the Spanish by Pelayo Flecha