Much has been made of the story of the kick to culture that a Minister of Culture, Esperanza Aguirre, let loose in the form of a slap in the face, when, speaking on a radio programme, cultural, of course, about Saramago, she thought she was talking about a woman she referred to as Sara Mago, and so the story went on until someone nearby whispered to her about the blunder…. It has since been said that this was not the way it is told, but be that as it may, this lady gave, throughout her long political career, ample evidence of ignorance, and not exactly precocious.

That is why it is better to tell them, and sing about them, when these cases and things happen, while they can still be demonstrated and remembered, and for the public shame of our public men – and public women – who, by the way, represent all of us Spaniards… I still remember that illustrious give-and-take between Ribera and Iglesias about Kant… The latter wanted to boast to the former about his knowledge of the philosopher, and the former got out of it by telling him that “Kant was a point of reference”, only to let slip that he had not read him. So, removing it, he recommended that he read “Ethics of pure reason”, when the real and correct title is “Critique of pure reason”, as everyone knows… or should know. And these were the smart ones in the class.

And the fact is that our political class is so ignorant, but because they know it and recognise it, their complex makes them show their culture, without, at least, ignoring it if the empanada comes out of the blue, or preparing themselves beforehand if they know what they have to talk about or who they have to talk about, or who they are going to quote. Here we have, for example, a Núñez Feijóo talking about Picasso as if he were Catalan, when everyone recognises Pablo Picasso as a universal Malagueño. Either he mistook Picasso for Dalí, or else they don’t remove it from his stumps, because he skates. But notice that, with his colleagues in the opposition in a frenzy to make a mess of these cultural gaffes, while the networks are laughing their heads off, the most lethal and chaste silence prevails among them. And that is because they all know that they have a cultural deficit that makes them keep quiet, and that it is better for them to look the other way and whistle like that Kurt Savoy, do you remember…?

Our own president Supersánchez, a few years ago, wanted to pretend to be a cultural aesthete, and on one of his trips, he said: “from Soria, the birthplace of Machado…”, who is, moreover, an iconic poet of the cultivated left, when Antonio Machado was actually born in Seville, as I am sure you also know… However, speaking for “being” and not for “knowing”, because what matters is appearance and not wisdom, is something very risky in this country.

The latest (or perhaps penultimate) is that of the Mayor of Madrid, José Luís Martínez Almeida, showing off like a peacock: “tonight we close the Veranos de la Villa 2022 with the performance of Carmina Burana on the best possible stage, which is the only urban park in the world declared World Heritage: El Retiro…”. The final stroke, although false, as this declaration of public park is held by others in the world, right here in Spain, the Parque Güell, in Barcelona, he could be forgiven for being presumptuously illiterate, but to confuse the famous cantata by Carl Orloff and his well-known choirs with a singer of flesh, bone and hair is a bit of summer stuff… They say that when they warned him of the mistake he made a feigned face of horror, but all that is carried away by the wind of time, I believe he said… Although this last lapse had its “antesde” in the Councillor of Culture and Communication of the Galician Xunta, Jesús Pérez Varela, who, after having previously warned the press so that he could be removed it in the box office queue of the event officially sponsored by his Council, and taking the appropriate selfie, proclaimed, urbi et orbe, from the very cradle of Santiago, that “…the Carmina Burana, who is one of the best singers in this country, with the Symphonic Orchestra of Galicia”.

And the fact is that, as you will have noticed, almost all of these cultural ignoramuses are placed in precisely cultural posts… Councillors, Councillors, or Ministers – also in feminine, of course – of a Culture to which the initial capital letter should be erased to leave it in the lower case “ce”, of small change, which is what really corresponds. This has been demonstrated. This means that the well-paid official and political positions granted by the parties are based on their interests, not on their preparation, knowledge and aptitude for the position. The post is a reward, not a merit. And that Culture is perhaps the “mummy-subject” of our governments, where any uneducated barnacle can get a ministry, a department or a council, with little more than knowing how to read and write, and with hardly any basic or elementary illustration of the subject.

Of course, then there is the second part, which is the worst and saddest of all: that people hardly notice these barbarities, because in cultural matters it is mud from the same mud. It is the fish that bites its own tail. Cretins who elect other cretins who stop education systems to make more cretins to feed on. Cretins who go to the polls to elect cretins who will enthrone the purest and harshest ignorance, and culture will be flushed down the toilet… I beg your forgiveness for pouring out such a harsh opinion on such a matter. Sorry, again. But seriously, the truth is, thinking with a bit of logic and a pinch of common sense, where can one remove it from what is not there…? As the master Belmonte used to say: “what can’t be, can’t be, and the rest is impossible”… Or wasn’t it Belmonte? Excuse my ignorance in the art of Cuchares.