Much of the mostly undeserved praise being dumped on Gordon Brown at the moment is for the statesmanlike way he persuaded other world leaders that having got their countries up shit creek they can get out of the crap by finally admitting they are up shit creek and borrowing a pile of money to give to the people who got us up shit creek. Call me an old curmudgon if you like possums but I don’t think there is anything particularly smart about that, it looks very like the politicos are burying their heads in the sand.
One deserved distinction bestowed on Mr. Brown(stuff) though is his selection as one of this years “caganers”.
The caganers are part of the Christmas tradition in the Catalan region of Spain and to have one’s likeness represented in the little figures which form part of Catalan nativity scenes is a great honour. Among those who have featured recently are The Pope, George W. Bush, pop stars, soccer players, President Sarkozy of France and Brad Pitt (actually we’re not sure about the last but his name rhymes with shit. The significance of that will become clear)
Though the origin and therefore the symbolic significance of the caganer is unclear the little figures are a traditional and much loved part of the Catalan Christmas Tradition. In all nativity scenes around the region while the more conventional characters, Joseph, Mary, all of Mary’s extended family, The Shepherds, The Three Wise Men, an Ox, an Ass, a Crocodile, Barney the Dinosaur, Darth Vader, Hannah Montana, a couple of Daleks (you think I’m being silly? How long is it since you attended a kindergarden nativity play? ) and Barack Obama gaze adoringly at the cheap doll in the cardboard manger the caganer squats in the corner quietly having a poop. The caganer is hidden on the periphery of the scene and a game is made of children trying to be the first to find him.
This year Spain’s main manufacturer of nativity figures has chosen Prime Minister Gordon Brown as one of the likenesses that will be given to the caganer figures who are portrayed with pants round ankles, squatting over a pile of poo The honour cold not have been given to a more worthy person. Other figures to be used this year are politicians who have figured prominently in the financial crisis.
Caganer translates as “shitter.”
Boing Boing - a blog of the bizarre
Wikipedia - Caganar article