I'm not familiar with a lot of historically tense situations that run the gamut from tragedy to thriller to comedy within the space of seconds, but the situation in Catalonia/Spain sure seems to fill it.
For those of you who missed the hilarity, the rogue leader of Catalonia, the man who orchestrated a guerrilla election that did surprisingly well given the complete opposition of the national government and the presence of tens of thousands of national police, the man who evaded arrest and brought Catalonia closest to independence it has been in a century, he gave a speech on Monday.
His speech was absurd. His speech should be the definition of absurd double-speak. It was a towering instance of ridiculousness. In a single speech he declared independence but then delayed its implementation. Confusion reigned. Half of the press said that independence was declared, the other half said 'not independent.' Wikipedia said that they had been independent for eight seconds.
How confusing was the moment? The Spanish government decided to give them EIGHT days to figure that shit out. HO boy. The national government that implied the Catalonians were threatening invasion and death has decided that they are so clueless that they get a week plus to think it through.
Imagine, if you will, that during the climactic scene in the Empire Strikes Back (spoilers), Darth Vader had stared at the son he had just disarmed and said, "I am your fath<cough>-far-<cough>-er" Seconds pass. Luke blinks, "you're my farter?" He smiles because it is absurd. The dramatic and thrilling culmination of dread and revelation are completely flubbed. Even if Darth Vader gets it together and states his relationship clearly, it is too late. He whiffed at the most critical moment. That is cinematic equivalent of this moment.
How hilarious. How pathetic. How revealing. Democratic government has limits. We like to pretend that it does not, but it does. And the ones with the guns and banks at the end trump those that do not. Does anyone doubt that Spain would rather ruin Catalonia than see it leave? That the EU wouldn't lift a finger against a Spanish crackdown?
But the true treat here is that the 'idealistic' crazies didn't get their heads cracked by police at the end or wave their flag at the end of the movie. No, we got a treat. The crazies went and slipped on a banana peel while the dramatic music soared. Hi-FUCKING-larious.