Posted in English

Cushiongate

I’ve just written about O Superman, the satire on the career of António Ramalho Eanes. One of the things the book mentions is his visit to London where he does a typically Portuguese (?) thing: rearranging the cushion before sitting next to the Queen. I didn’t think much of this but you can actually see it happen in this video of the state visit.

Of course, the Queen is not scandalised by this and it doesn’t seem to be much of an issue. I don’t know why the satirist thinks it’s such a big deal but I guess it’s all grist to his mill, showing how uncultured and yokelish the president is that he’s never taken a ride in a royal carriage before!

The video is interesting (to me, anyway), since the announcer conveys the palace’s statement, putting forward Britain’s official stance towards the nascent democracy, which in a few short years had veered from fascism to a vanguardist, near communist junta, via a counter-revolution to a broadly left-wing government, ruling under a democratic constitution. So I’m glad to see they are recognising that process and trying to help it along.

I’m not sure, but I think we british play a larger role in the book. Early on, Cropcon, Superman’s home planet, is destroyed by a rival planet, which the author calls Brybton. Well, I don’t know what Brybton is meant to represent, but it sounds like “Britain” and “Bribe” might be contributing ingredients – in other words, the author reckons the military junta that acted as midwife to the democracy was unable to withstand the corrupting effect of international capital, as represented by England! I might be reading too much into that but it’s a fun historical factoid so I’ll enjoy it at least until someone tells me it’s wrong!