The Congress of Deputies is built on the old convent of Santo Ángel. In 2009, an unmarked grave with a woman buried inside was found just below the hemicycle. On this basis, MEP González Pons has built ‘Satan’s Seat’, a dystopia-like novel with the demons and vampires of today’s politics. An exciting story where the Valencian does not leave a puppet with his head and gives us his particular vision of the new politics, the relations of political power with the media or sex in the Cortes.
“Satan’s Seat” points out that “God’s is power and Satan’s is politics.” And you present us with “some notes” written divinely but with a strong smell of sulfur… Why this dystopia in the form of a “national episode”?
The book represents a Spain that is not but that, if things continue as they are, they will end up being. While I was writing the novel, I had the feeling that I was exaggerating, but I have to tell you that since I handed it in to the publisher, I have calls every day from my editor telling me “you fell short” (laughs). It is a dystopia that is on the way to not being one. In politics the worst of the human being comes out, but the best that the human being does also comes out of politics. In politics you find conspiracy, but pensions, healthcare, rights come out of politics… I think I’m right when in politics “God is reached by Satan.”
In a masked, funny and unfortunately terrifying way, he talks about political power today. The old man knows more than the devil… He doesn’t leave a puppet with his head expressing with his fiction what he believes in conviction. I propose to include Deputy González Pons in your novel…
Go ahead …
Is polarization the seat that Satan occupies in the Spanish Parliament? Is it possible to reach the limits of grotesque that you reflect or is it ‘a notice to sailors’?
The demons in Spanish politics do not come from the extremes but from the crack that opens in the center when the right and the left separate; when the bridges between one part of the Spanish parliament and another are broken to open a well that leads directly to hell. That’s where demons have come from for generations.
You take a trip to the center of the earth, to the original firein this metaphorical case of the old politics, has the spirit of the transition died?
Hopefully that spirit of the Transition does not die because the day that happens democracy will die. That original fire you are referring to today is getting cold. Just as the Americans or the British constantly allude to the founding of their democracies, we should hallow the birth of ours. Good manners, education, compromise, mutual understanding are values that we should not lose. And when that happens, I insist, we will lose democracy. I consider myself a guardian of the embers that still remain from that original fire.
It also draws an enraged and angry mass of citizens. Is politics the reflection of the society we have?
Politics is less and less a reflection of the society we have, and society is less and less autonomous to do politics. We are not aware to what extent social networks, globalization, television series… are standardizing all citizens, regardless of the country where they live, both the models of politicians and their ambitions. I wish politics were a reflection of the society it serves, I wish politicians represented the citizens well. But every day fewer politicians aspire to represent citizens and fewer citizens want politicians to represent them. We are entering a universe of material legitimation in which some political regimes like the Chinese end up justifying themselves only because they serve prosperity. We live in a difficult moment for morality.
He even goes so far as to simulate a Spanish-style “Assault on the Capitol” starring a civil society, which he also asks for a little more stature…
I demand something more commitment with the institutions. Democracy is not the institutions but without institutions there is no democracy. I remember the long-awaited time of the transition when there were many opinion clubs, reading clubs, public gatherings, long talk shows, reflections were made in the media and on the street… And that has disappeared. There is a depopulation of common spaces. It is a great loss that civil society stops considering parliaments as its continuity, as part of itself.
I already told you that he has left few “fundamental problems”, he even renames the coronavirus like the Great Cold… How do you think we have faced this trial by fire or ‘baptism of blood’? Vampires were not lacking, neither in fiction nor in reality…
We will look at the face of the coronavirus in a few years. There are still many unknowns to know what really happened. At the moment we have preferred to look straight ahead, and we have walked so as not to get trapped. Even now we don’t wonder why it is gone, why we are acting as if it is no more. That 21st century plague has come and gone just like a computer game.
We could continue talking about current issues such as the sexual-political relationship, how Madrid has centrifuged the concept of Spain, the role of the corrupt ‘promoters’ of the parties like Pancho Zaragoza… But I would like to dwell on the role of the media. communication. What role does the “fourth estate” play in this diabolical plan? The one with the “tree and the nuts”?
Unfortunately, the fourth estate is less and less fourth and less power. They have less influence than before, they only reach the ‘boomers’ generation, which is mine. But underneath, fewer and fewer people watch television, read the written press, listen to the radio… Those under 35 get information through social networks. Information continues to be key to maintaining democracy, but it must be recognized that this fourth estate is being diluted. Today the chaos of social networks is being managed by someone and we do not know who it is. What does appear in my novel is the coexistence between journalists and politicians because we live in the same bubble where we love each other, hate each other, have fun and die together.
It makes special reference to the bench penalties, the news jail … It literally says that “the media stigmatize politicians accused of corruption, turning them into lepers” … In cases of acquittal, is public reparation possible or is there no interest?
It is impossible because the one who has been punished has seen his prestige deteriorate so much that it is irretrievable. Today the penalty on the news is equivalent to what in the 19th century was a civil death sentence. Whoever goes through this trance becomes a living dead, who is frowned upon to talk to, have a coffee with him or her, work, even live near her. The charge of corruption, which does not condemn it, in Spain is the cruelest and most arbitrary punishment that is distributed. I know of more than 50 politicians and officials accused of corruption and later acquitted who, apart from being ruined, have seen their lives destroyed.
Now to finish, without going into the vigilante father of the protagonist who enjoyed signing death sentences in the style queipollanistaas I tell you, he does not leave a puppet with a head, why does he center his novel in Seville, specifically on Calle Sierpes, Campana?
I chose Seville as the city to live in and district for Marga Saavedra because I am in love with this city. Out of devotion, I chose for my central character the place where I would have liked to live.
“The ‘newscast penalty’ is equivalent to a civil death sentence”