August 31, 2022

Demystifying the Spanish Inquisition

Series overview here, and history of the Spanish Empire here. Next, a little demystification of the Spanish Inquisition is in order, given America and Britain's historical hostility to Spain.

The security apparatus of the Spanish Empire consisted of the Spanish Inquisition, which was mainly a tribunal, and the Holy Brotherhood (Santa Hermandad), which was more of a gendarmerie. The full name of the Inquisition also includes the word "Holy" (Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition). The authority and legitimacy of these organs of the Deep State were religious, sacred, holy, etc. -- not to be transgressed, which would amount to profanation, heresy, blasphemy, apostasy, etc.

This is no different from the Praetorian Guard in Rome, since their foremost duty was to protect the emperor, who according to the imperial cult was a god himself. By identifying and neutralizing threats to a political leader, they were also preventing attacks on a god. And it's scarcely any different in the American Empire, with our FBI, whose mythical purpose to defend our sacred civic religion of democracy against threats to it (which are treated as dangerously heretical, apostate, and so on).

And far from the local impromptu witch trials of the raving hysterics in Protestant Germany around the same time, the Spanish Inquisition was a stodgy bloated bureaucracy with multiple levels of hierarchy, and complicated procedures, including appeals -- the better to check the zeal of would-be witch-burners. And in fact the Inquisition was far less bloody than the Protestant witch trials.

That was not because the heads of the Inquisition's bureaucracy were so kindhearted -- but because hysterical witch-burners are wannabe upstart strivers at the local and anarchic level of society. The whole point of the Inquisition, and any Deep State, is to centralize authority and check the ambitions of the unruly elites below it.

Hence, in our own empire, the FBI targeting local school boards that pass anti-woke policies. As the FBI sees it, it's up to the centralized state, not local yahoos, to decide how the empire's children will be enculturated. If left up to the yahoos, there would be a zillion different outcomes, many contradictory, and at times threatening the legitimacy of the ruling elite, whose holy ideology du jour is wokeness.

Also unlike the Protestant psychos, who could have been snitching on their neighbor or friend or family member out of a petty grudge, the Inquisition primarily concerned itself with the wealthy, influential, and elite. The elites -- not the peasants -- pose the greatest collective threat to the central state. Similarly, the FBI only freaked out when anti-woke policies were being passed by school boards in wealthy suburbs of the imperial capital (NoVa), not in rural Kentucky.

And as the bureaucracy grows more and more bloated, with less and less reason for existing anymore, they will want to shake down their targets, to fund their skyrocketing budgets. No use in shaking down a landless peasant -- they will shake down a wealthy person instead. That is not confined to state security, but any kind of bureaucratic perpetuation.

In short, the Inquisition was used to identify, harass, and maybe even get rid of the potential or actual political enemies of the centralized leadership of the empire. They can't do this so nakedly and cynically, so they need a sacred, rather than utilitarian, rationalization. Their notion of the sacred involved the divine right of absolute monarchs to rule, and it was a sacred institution that was in charge of the tribunal. You couldn't oppose the political, utilitarian program of state security without also opposing the religious, sacred program of the church.

Likewise today, you can't oppose the FBI's partisan intervention in politics without also opposing the sacred institutions of American democracy, according to our conception of the sacred. Telling the FBI to go fuck itself is up-ending "the rule of law," i.e. the kind of system where God is in charge and everything flows nice and orderly, so that the Devil might take over and usher in wickedness and chaos. Or so the mission statement of the Deep State always goes.

* * *

The Spanish Inquisition was founded in 1478, concurrent with the end of the Civil Wars of the Reconquista (1350 - 1479), during which the northern Iberian Christian kingdoms were at war with each other, and within themselves. Those civil wars came after several centuries of a fairly united Christian front that drove the Moors into the southern tip of the peninsula (1100 to 1250).

This ebb-and-flow of united fronts against external enemies, and civil wars after the former has been achieved, is general. The long period of civil wars during the Crisis of the Roman Republic came after a couple centuries of a fairly united front to drive out the invading Gauls and the Carthaginians. The American Civil War & Reconstruction came after a long period of uniting to conquer the Indian threat, and to break away from the British Empire.

The next stage is the rise of the state security apparatus, now that the central leadership has had its attention drawn to *internal* threats to its power and stability, not only external enemies, where its attention had been focused earlier in imperial expansion. The Praetorian Guard as a powerful faction followed the Crisis of the Roman Republic, and the FBI followed the end of the Civil War & Reconstruction.

It was no different in Spain. The Castilian kingdom had always been the region with the highest asabiya (intense social bonds, or potential for collective action), as it was the most exposed to the meta-ethnic frontier with the Moorish Empire. The Civil Wars of the Reconquista established Castile as the foremost among the Christian kingdoms, and so the security apparatus was designed to protect the Castilian leadership against all other threats.

Those threats included not only the foreign Muslims and Jews who had come in with the Moorish invasion, but also non-Castilian regions in northern Spain -- greater Aragon (including Catalonia), Basque Country / Navarre, and Portugal. As Spain expanded and involved itself more in European politics, external threats -- e.g., from the Protestant Reformation, or later the Enlightenment -- could enter Spain directly with foreign invaders, or through Spaniards who were sympathetic to those foreign sources.

And although the following point was not so crucial within its historical context, it needs to be emphasized for the people of the British and American empires, whose own ethnogenesis is fundamentally anti-Catholic (stemming from their imperial rivalry with France and Spain). Part of their imperial mythology is that their imperial rivals are slave-like robots to the central orders of the Pope, who controls all people in all Catholic societies like an evil mastermind.

In reality, Spain sought to insulate its central state from the influence of the Pope, who was not only the sacred leader of the Roman Catholic Church, but the political leader of the Papal States (the rump state that contained Rome, in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire). This Inquisition was Spanish -- not Italian or Roman or Papal -- because it was designed to protect the security of the central leadership of the Spanish Empire, not of Rome, the Papal States, or the international Roman Catholic Church.

Likewise, the American Empire has its own proper FBI and CIA to shield its own imperial leadership against threats to its sacred political institutions. They don't outsource all of that work to the British Deep State just because we are historically related and have similar conceptions of the sacred (democracy, representative government, etc.). Spain and the Papal States were both Christian / Catholic, just as America and Britain are both liberal democratic in their civic religion. That only unites Spain and the Papal States against Muslims, or America and Britain against the Soviets or North Korea (not liberal democratic in civic religion). But the security apparatus is for neutralizing all threats to the central state, including those from within the same society, or fairly friendly foreigners.

Just as importantly, the Inquisition was not involved in foreign expansion. They did not launch crusades against Muslims or Jews outside of the empire, nor did they send divisions to battle Protestants during various wars of religion, or station troops outside of Rome to assert independence from the Pope. Those are all military functions, and the Deep State is a domestic security apparatus. Only if you were a Muslim, Jew, Protestant, or Papal agent inside the Spanish Empire, did you wind up on the Inquisition's radar.

Likewise, the FBI is not the institution that tries to expand American imperial territory abroad, or administer what we have already conquered. Not even the foreign-facing CIA is that central to conquest, which has been through the military.

The next post in the series will survey the rise and fall of the Inquisition's power.


  1. I wonder if Pokimane is Morisco by ancestry? I.e., the Muslims in Iberia who converted to Christianity, rather than be expelled, once the Reconquista was done. They were later expelled anyway, in 1609.

    Her DNA test said she's about 10% Iberian, and Spain has not invaded or settled Morocco anytime recently. If it came from just one fully Iberian person who entered the Moroccan genepool, that would've been 3 to 4 generations before she was born, about 100 years ago. At that time, Spain was a collapsed empire treading water. Doubtful there was a mass migration of them to Morocco.

    Plus I think that relative would be known about in family lore -- "Oh sure, that Spaniard who wandered down here in 1920 and married into our otherwise totally Moroccan family." She and her mother both seemed like they didn't already know about the Iberian blood, so I'd rule out a recent arrival.

    The other way is if her family has been, on average, 10% Iberian for generations. Similar to how African-Americans are on average 15% European -- but that's not because of a single recent Euro ancestor. They've been mixing with their fellow African-Americans for many generations, but each of them were 15% Euro, owing to an even further-back arrival of Euro blood within each of their families.

    Because the Moriscos were Christian converts, they could and did intermarry with the native Iberians, who were Christian. 100 years after a single Iberian entered their family, the descendants would be 10% Iberian. If there were enough such families, and they married each other as an endogamous group, that would keep the 10% Iberian level going generation after generation.

    Certainly after they were expelled, they would have to do this in order to preserve that much Iberian DNA -- once they returned to Morocco, there weren't any more Iberians to have kids with. And the ones who returned to Morocco did so 400 years ago, or 16 to 20 generations. One Iberian ancestor in the 1500s would be invisible by now, unless each generation beginning around 1700 had a recent Iberian ancestor, and they married fellow Moriscos rather than blend genetically back into the overall Moroccan genepool.

    I couldn't find much about the descendants of Moriscos in Morocco today, other than they are there. Are they still Christians, or did they de-convert and return to Islam? No info -- people in MENA countries are notoriously secretive about their private, actual religious practices.

    But if they did de-convert, I think they would just come out and say so -- "Yeah, we converted under duress 500 years ago, but we returned to Islam in the meantime, so don't worry, fellow citizens of a 99% Muslim country."

    In fact, nothing on Pokimane's Wikipedia entry says she's Muslim by background or current practice. Wiki writers usually play that up. Cenk Uygur and Hasan's pages say they're Muslim, for example.

    If this is true, that would make Poki quite the rara avis -- not only a Christian from Morocco, but whose family has been practicing it for centuries, instead of being recent converts. She certainly doesn't have the "zeal of the first-time convert," she's very lowkey and avoidant about talking about her religion at all.

    "I'm not like other Moroccan girls..."

    Fascinating! ^_^

  2. Nice to see Poki back today after a long absence. :) And looking very '90s / y2k with the brown and black combo.

    Seeing that video about why she's streaming less on Twitch really drives home how hyper-competitive and increasingly crazy that platform has become. Unplugging somewhat from it can only be good.

    I hope part of her plan is to spend time that would've been on Twitch, on YouTube instead -- way less insane of a platform culture, and still letting her get out her content.

    I didn't appreciate that until I started watching the Hololive girls this year (and Gura last year). Normal streams are 3 hrs, not 6 or 7. No subathons. No 100 hours of streaming per month (more like 60).

    And since the vod is just as important as the live on YouTube, there isn't so much pressure to compete for eyeballs while live, like on Twitch. And that allows for short-form content as well.

    Girl-haters are also a much larger percent of the audience on Twitch than YouTube. That's one of the most grating things about the streaming experience for the girls who do it.

    Partly that's about the intensity of Twitch -- their girl-haters are so much more in-your-face than the girl-haters on YouTube, because the whole branding of Twitch is being over-the-top and in-your-face, compared to the casual & cozy vibe of YouTube.

    But it's also because Twitch is where all the angry and dramatic people went to, as audiences but also as creators. The chill people went to YouTube.

    I don't know if her contract allows it, but it might be worth trying to stream on YouTube for a bit. It's so different from 2-3 years ago, and not because of tech changes -- just due to the audiences and creators sorting themselves into the two different platforms for two different types of people (crazy vs. cozy).

    She could stream on Twitch when she's in a drama-craving mood, and then on YouTube when she just wants to hang out and engage in some wholesome fun.

    It's not sub-cultures vs. normies either -- all the Hololive girls were Tumblr girls, sing emo songs for karaoke, have treasure troves of spicy & cursed memes going back years, and bantz it up with their chat. But they and their audience don't want their entertainment / online communities to be a battlefield all the time.

    There may be a few places on Twitch that are like that, but the overall culture is way more combative and zero-sum. Even a pretty chill streamer like Pokimane, and her audience, have to wade through so much girl-hating incel warrior bullshit during every stream. I've never seen that on YouTube.

  3. Poki, you may not want to still do ASMR, but some of those videos really did showcase the best facets of your personality -- warm, caring, welcoming, engaging, nurturing, therapeutic. And sincere, not hiding under 12 layers of irony and sarcasm.

    Especially that one that was not really about sounds at all, but "words of positive affirmation". It was like a Dr. Poki segment, only in a soothing whispering voice. You should at least keep that one up -- everyone needs to hear encouragement, and "I believe in you". :)

    Plus... if you're looking to get more cute friendly girls into your audience, and less bitter girl-haters, ASMR is a great gateway. I was really surprised hearing Fauna, Mumei, and others from Hololive talking about how long they've been listening to ASMR content, feeling nostalgic for some trend of 2015 or whenever, and how anxiety-relaxing it is.

    It's like a brain massage, and I doubt the dramatic incel types are interested in being calmed down. They want to stay on-edge and angry. But girls who are just feeling a little anxious before bedtime? Cue the ASMR playlist!

    If you have a talent for something, whether you think of it as given by God, Mother Nature, or whatever, you should share it with others somehow.

    Wiping out the entire archive is treating it like it was a tattoo that you got during a phase you were going through, just a fad that you now regret. But I don't think you really feel that way about it -- you were good at it! And it was totally wholesome. And judging from the view counts, it was popular with a huge group of people.

    That is content that stands the test of time, not just a meaningless fleeting fad.

    Maybe you wanted to tidy up the archive, to hide something you felt was really cringe. But not your entire portfolio, that's a bit of an over-reaction, and selling yourself short. It was good stuff!

  4. Emo night, watching Twilight with Fauna and Mumei. :) They'd better not make catty comments about the hot one, Alice, just because she has a 2000s razor-cut pixie hairstyle...

  5. They loved her! Faith in e-girls restored -- not that I ever lost it... but I'm always worried that girls are going to be catty. Not the Hololive ones anyway. They're girl-likers, not girl-haters. :)

  6. Daaang gurl, r u a dodecahedron? Cuz ur anglez r lookin THICC!

    Re Irys' answer of "obese angle" for "obtuse angle" on Gura's Big Brain Games stream. It's always great to have her there with the other girls, she's such an instigator! But in an innocent, oh-who-me-teehee kind of way. Not even a drop of gremlin mixed in.

    Gotta say, I wasn't sure how well Gura would be able to steer a game where she's basically a substitute teacher, and the contestants are like students eager to goof off and defy the pseudo-teach on the special occasion. But you wrangled them very well!

    Can't wait for the Electric Boogaloo sequel, Goob!

    Mmm, do-donk-ahedron...

  7. More emo content, for Fauna and anyone else. First, an emo medley by Cimorelli. Aside from the cool harmonies that are rare for emo, I like female performances of these kinds of songs because the guys usually sound whiny, whereas girls sound like the high-energy crazy overly attached gf. More libidinal.

    Most of their selection is from Sun Belt bands, staying true to their California roots despite moving to Nashville.

    That recalls this post of mine on the geography of emo, with Sun Belt anxiety vs. Rust Belt depression.

    This makes me suspect that Fauna is a Rust Belt gal, given her karaoke playlists -- much heavier on My Chem, Fall Out Boy, and her fave band being Interpol. Less on blink 182, We the Kings, etc. If she's ever dyed her hair, she's def from the Midwest / flyover country. :)

    She's said she's rarely been to the ocean, but has been to lakes a lot. She knows the distinct native pronunciation of "Chicago". She does say "soda" instead of "pop," but Illinois is an island of "soda" speakers within the Midwest. Has a tendency to overly annunciate or hyper-correct, perhaps to sound more standard / proper when speaking to a wide audience, because she has faint traces of a regional accent?

    If she does, it would be cool to hear it uninhibited sometime -- she could conceal it by saying she's just playing a role of someone who speaks with a stereotypically ____ accent. Accents are charming!

    Also comes from a place heavy on green bean casserole. And overall social norms of Midwestern niceness (and anti-moocher norms, which she frequently alludes to while "borrowing" materials from others in Minecraft, hehe).

    Has more general knowledge than usual, perhaps b/c her family or the community she grew up in is based in academia or education -- grew up in a college town? Urbana-Champaign, IL? Madison, WI? Bloomington, IN?

    Celtic by ancestry, in good part. Her mythology is more based on fairies and hobbits, with Enya as the soundtrack, than on gnomes, freezing climates, or any kind of Mediterranean pagan myths. Also refers to a jig in the context of dancing, and used "lassie" when imitating an angry old grannie addressing a young girl.

    No, I'm not putting together a list of clues to find out her "true" identity or whatever. We already know who she "really" is -- she is who she is on stream, just going by the alias Fauna. The richness and specificity of detail to her persona comes from simply sharing who she is IRL (minus doxxing micro-details about her name, address, etc.).

    She has a very rich personality and identity, and that's why so many like hanging out with her -- she's more real than an actress playing a role, since streaming is next stage of reality TV, not fictional entertainment.

  8. Mumei's choice in emo also identifies her as Midwestern. She's an even more striking example of Midwestern niceness. Brooding, dark, demonic visions and suspicious / paranoid view of others, underneath a pleasant chipper tee-hee surface.

    Also that one time she said "pop" on stream. I don't detect much over-annunication, so her native accent is probably closer to standard American (i.e., Western). So maybe a bit more west and south than the Great Lakes -- Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas (where no one speaks with a Southern drawl, BTW -- just because it's a Republican / agricultural stronghold doesn't mean they speak like they're from an Alabama cotton plantation).

    Definitely Protestant Germanic by ancestry or community she grew up in. Lutheran German, Dutch Calvinist, something lower-case-p puritanical like that. She said she was either discouraged, or not encouraged, from musical pursuits despite her talented singing voice. Some cultural background that treats music, dance, etc., as inherently sinful sensuousness. The real-life town that inspired the movie Footloose is in Oklahoma.

    Similarly, OCD, uber-hygenic and anti-earthy -- grossed out by Bella & Edward being face to face with their mouths open in anticipation of kissing, because "what if their breath smells bad???!?!!" xD

    Usually I'm all for letting each culture be itself, whether I like it or not. But in the case of Protestant Germanic cultures, I'm glad to see them weakened by contact with other less insane cultures.

    Mumei mentioned how much she's opened up and let her talents grow after streaming to a general audience. Well of course! We're not going to burn her for being a witch just because she likes to sing, as the people of her homeland would have done back in the 1600s (returning to the theme of the OP, at last).

    Speaking of which, here's her new cover song. Not emo, though, more indie / dream pop. What kind of warped culture could repress such an ethereal voice as though it were sinful? In her karaoke streams, she occasionally uses an ironic / goofy accent to downplay her power level (another aspect of the puritanical background). But in a recording like this, she can't do that, and the result is very sincere and genuine, and uplifting. :)

  9. One of the fascinating character arcs in the Hololive reality TV show has been Mumei opening up and becoming more natural, as a result of her collabs with Fauna, Gura, and Kronii ("SNOT").

    Especially with Fauna, who Mumei must feel most comfortable with, as a fellow Midwestern emo introvert -- but who shows that she can keep that side of her identity, without having to be puritanical. Nothing more soothingly sensual than Fauna's wholesome ASMRs, perfect for massaging away her feelings of anxiety about the senses. And of course the Nature vs. Civilization dynamic, which really does exist between their IRL personalities.

    Gura must've inspired Mumei with her karaoke, to pursue the singing side that she had not explored before. Gura is part of the blue-eyed soul tradition, showing that introverts too can be emotional, sensory, and open up before a big crowd. Not to mention even more into the back-to-nature, unga-bunga thing than even the keeper of nature -- like how it's better to not wash your legs with soap every single day. Hehe.

    And Kronii is another of the big singers of the group, and maybe an upcoming ASMR-tist. Plus when she leans into her seductive tone of voice, that provides a good example that such sensory experiences are not sinful, creepy, etc. Mumei still feels comfy and trusting when spoken to like that -- even giggly and blushing, when Kronii complimented her for having such a cute voice, during the birthday call-in. That gives Mumei confidence about the sensory nature of her own voice -- that it's not sinful or weird, but wholesome and pleasant to others, so let it show without worrying about it. :)

    This is just one example of the streamers -- at least the Hololive girls -- being like a reality TV show, with character arcs for their IRL personalities, through interaction with the others. It's like going to the same school, or extended summer camp, together, and actually changing and growing from it.

    So if readers are wondering why I keep focusing on them, that's why. There is simply nothing else like it in media or entertainment for emotional and social depth and richness -- along with the humor, excitement, and the rest of it. But humor, singing, etc., can be found in other formats -- but not within the close-knit relationships among a group of people, like the Hololive wonderland.

  10. Can't forget Kiara! Speaking of how psycho and puritanical the Protestant Germans are. She's into singing and dancing, likes the sensual side of food, is extraverted, has a joie-de-vivre, and is the only one among the Hologirls who seems genuinely bicurious.

    But then, she's not Prussian -- she's from a mountainous, Catholic part of the German-speaking lands (Salzburg, a center of the Counter-Reformation). Basically, a part of Bavaria that lies within Austrian national borders.

    Cultures like hers are the reason why the American Midwest isn't as puritanical as outsiders would think, if they only know that "there are a lot of German descendants". True, but half of them are Catholic -- sane, fun-loving, and corporeal.

    The Celtic urheimat is in the Alps (Halstatt / La Tene cultures), so they're not so different from the Celts who migrated down into what is today France and Britain, whatever else may have changed in the meantime. They still have that fiery Celtic spirit.

    The only thing that Americans would consider stereotypically German / Prussian / Teutonic about Kiara is her sometimes strict parenting approach, when her surrogate children or little sisters act up. "You little shit!"

  11. Fauna's gamer rage anthem is by a Rust Belt emo rapper, "Lose Yourself" by Eminem. She's not that into rap overall, but when she is, it has to have that gritty Great Lakes emo edge to it. Hehe.

  12. Faunya did mention Minnesota specifically in her stream today, after remarking about how many different accents there were in the suburb where the game was set.

    If that's where she's from, she might belong to the F. Scott Fitzgerald group of Irish Catholics there. I forgot to mention that she frequently refers to herself as a druid.

    I re-checked the "pop vs. soda" map, and apparently eastern Wisconsin is in soda territory as well. Maybe that's it? She'd be familiar with both Minnesota and the native pronunciation of "Chicago". (BTW, all that means is the "a" is the same vowel as in "cat" rather than "car" in standard American.)

    I think the furthest south she could be from is Missouri -- also "soda" territory, plus a big college town in Columbia.

    I still think some state near Chicagoland is the most likely, though, since that native pronunciation isn't very common anymore -- probably Boomers were the last to say it that way -- and it would only be part of local lore at this point to someone born when Fauna was.

    She was very giggly throughout the stream today, and I hope reading my charmingly offbeat observations about her contributed to that good mood. :)

    Oh, and if you're self-conscious about being perceived as dumb, when you're actually smart, just think of yourself -- and brand yourself -- as the absent-minded professor. That way you can link your ditzy / clutzy / scatterbrained tendencies with your curiosity, store of knowledge, and interest in studying things (mainly bio).

    The former are personality traits, not related to intelligence. Some girls are ditzy and smart, some are ditzy and dumb. Maybe there's another archetype that would work better, but absent-minded professor seems like a good way for you to show that you're the ditzy and smart type.

    Have you thought of doing a Smashing Pumpkins song for karaoke? I bet you'd relate to their proto-Midwest-emo, especially if you also like shoegaze. And Billy Corgan's voice is on the higher side for guy singers, so it wouldn't be out of range for you. Would be a nice way to jump on the '90s revival, too.

    The Goobinator would also be great at their songs, based on her belting rendition of "Creep". I'm thinking of "Today", but it could be any one of them really.

    1. Guns n Roses. "Patience", "Used to Love Her", etc is a no brainer, but even adaptations of anything from Appetite for Destruction.

  13. Imagine not liking girls...


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