I visited London this weekend and went to the exhibition of James Gillray caricatures at the Tate. Whereas many satirists have tended to profess some reforming purpose, from Swift to Gillray’s contemporary Blake, Gillray is refreshingly honest in his indifference to such matters, creating caricatures of both Pitt and Fox, although he was employed by Pitt to produce propaganda for much of that time. On particular image depicts this neatly – a portrait of the radical Horne Tooke painting pictures of Pitt, caption ‘truth’ and Fox, captioned ‘false,’ while a bust of Machiavelli adorns the wall. The perfect picture of the satirist as hypocrite.
On a related note, I recently noted an article in The Independent dealing with the agricultural lands of Almeria (which means ‘mirror of the sea’ in Arabic). This region of Spain competes with much of North Africa to supply North European supermarkets with fresh vegetables, especially throughout. Much of the entire region is now barnacled with plastic tunnels, many of them illegal and all of them disturbing the native ecology. As this infestation of tunnels spread, so did entirely different forms of parasite such as a massive prostitution industry which serves the immigrant workers. The other notable fact about this area is that it is the home to some of Spain’s worst race riots, centering around immigrant workers form Morocco. It is fair to say that this is the sort of story that only JG Ballard could do justice to.