Aurora García-González1
Sarai Lagos-Area1
Mª-Lourdes Román-Portas1

1University of Vigo. Spain

The work studies the articles published in the column “Political scenes”, during the three months that ended in the ratification of democracy in Spain through the new Constitution. The humor from the columnism of Jaime Campmany allows to notice the scope of freedom in which he managed to write. This work proposes the study of a type of journalism that made its way in the difficult years of the political transition and that allowed to introduce certain topics from the prism of humor. Communication studies on humor illustrate the complex role that it plays in the formation of perceptions. The ability to use and recognize humor is not trivial, but it can explain the success in a group or in different social contexts. The years between the death of Franco and the advent of socialism in Spain were marked by the approval of the Law of Political Reform, the Constitution of 1978 and successive electoral processes. With a methodology of descriptive analysis, it has been possible to establish that Campmany addressed in his political column the public affairs of the nation, specifically the approval of the constitutional text, from a conservative position and with a great sense of humor.

KEY WORDS: Politic Communication; Humour; Public Opinion; Descriptive Analysis; Political Journalism; Constitution; Spanish Transition

El trabajo estudia los artículos publicados en la columna “Escenas políticas”, durante los tres meses que concluyeron en la ratificación de la democracia en España por medio de la nueva Constitución. El humor desde el columnismo de Jaime Campmany permite advertir el ámbito de libertad en el que consiguió escribir Este trabajo plantea el estudio de un tipo de periodismo que se abrió paso en los difíciles años de la transición política y que permitió introducir determinados temas desde el prisma del humor. Los estudios de comunicación sobre el humor ilustran el complejo papel que juega en la formación de percepciones. La habilidad para usar y reconocer el humor no es trivial, sino que puede explicar el éxito en un grupo o en diferentes contextos sociales. Los años transcurridos entre la muerte de Franco y el advenimiento del socialismo en España estuvieron jalonados por la aprobación de la Ley de Reforma Política, la Constitución de 1978 y sucesivos procesos electorales. Con una metodología de análisis descriptivo ha sido posible establecer que Campmany abordó en su columna política los asuntos públicos de la nación, en concreto la aprobación del texto constitucional, desde una posición conservadora y con un gran sentido del humor.

PALABRAS CLAVE: Comunicación política; Humor; Opinión Pública; análisis descriptivo; Periodismo político; Constitución; Transición española

O trabalho estuda os artigos publicados na coluna Cenas Políticas, durante os três meses que concluíram na ratificação da democracia na Espanha por meio da nova Constituição. O humor desde o colunismo de Jaime Campmany permite advertir o âmbito de liberdade no qual conseguiu escrever. Este trabalho planeja o estudo de um tipo de jornalismo que abriu passo nos difíceis anos da transição política e que permitiu introduzir determinados temas desde o prisma do humor. Os estudos de comunicação sobre o humor ilustram o complexo papel que joga na formação de percepções. A habilidade para usar e reconhecer o humor não é trivial, senão que pode explicar o êxito em um grupo ou em diferentes contextos sociais. Os anos transcorridos entre a morte de Franco e a chegada do socialismo na Espanha estiveram marcados pela aprovação da Lei de Reforma Política de 1978 e sucessivos processos eleitorais. Com uma metodologia de analises descritiva foi possível estabelecer que Campmany abordou em sua coluna política os assuntos públicos da nação, em concreto a aprovação do texto constitucional, desde uma posição conservadora e com grande sentido de humor.

PALAVRAS CHAVE: Comunicação política; Humor; Opinião Pública; Analises descritivo; Jornalismo político; Constituição; Transição espanhola

Received: 27/03/2018
Acepted: 18/05/2018

Correspondence: Aurora García González. University of Vigo. Spain
Sarai Lagos Area. University of Vigo. Spain
Mª Lourdes Román Portas. University of Vigo. Spain

How to cite the article
García González, A., Lagos Area, S., Román Portas, Mª L. (2018). The humor in political communication: the Spanish Constitution in the column “political scenes” of Campmany. [El humor en la comunicación política: la Constitución Española en la columna “escenas políticas” de Campmany]. Vivat Academia. Revista de Comunicación, nº 144, 51-67. doi: http://doi.org/10.15178/va.2018.144.51-67. Recuperado de http://www.vivatacademia.net/index.php/vivat/article/view/1082


This work proposes the study of a type of journalism that made its way in the difficult years of the political transition and that allowed to introduce certain topics from the prism of humor. Communication studies on humor illustrate the complex role that it plays in the formation of perceptions. The ability to use and recognize humor is not trivial but can explain success in a group or in different social contexts. There is already a thesis that delves into humor in opinion journalism from the column “Political scenes” of the newspaper ABC (Morales Castillo, 1999). It analyzed the resources of humor and its effectiveness, the different aspects of the comic, the caricature procedures and the satirical-burlesque reductions. That splendid study opened the door to the observations of this work. It is now a matter of putting the accent on the communicative side where humor becomes a prism for the observation of reality and to soften the presentation of complex issues.
Some authors (Lynch, 2002, pp. 423-445) point out that research in communication has only touched the surface of the world of humor, although, undoubtedly humor and laughter are essential parts of the human. Research, both in communication and in sociology, has dealt with how humor works in a social context. Sociology has heeded to functions of humor such as identification, differentiation, control and resistance, while communication has been more closely focused on the specific types of humor that produce communicative functions (teasing, removing boredom, draw attention, persuade ...) in smaller social contexts.
Humor helps to reduce social tension and distract from everyday problems that, as Mendelsohn has pointed out, avoid the breakdown of societies (1966). And there are authors who maintain that laughter is an instrument to oppose the established order. “And in the form of political cartoons, there is a constant means of response and opinion to public affairs that political figures handle. In electoral periods, this is magnified “ (Batjin, 2002).
The thesis that gave rise to these considerations, also argues that humor is part of the journalism of opinion, “because through this resource, journalists represent reality in a playful way, applying on it affective and intellectual aspects, which seek to shape the opinion of their readers” (Morales del Castillo, 1999, p. 19)
In any case, the column “Political scenes” that Jaime Campmany signed, analyzed in 1978, at a specific moment of our historical evolution, expressed with good humor and with strong arguments the opinion of a part of the Spaniards before the political change. And it served to expand the margin of freedom of expression by leaving written, more free the pens than the tongues, which was not often exposed in the press. The same author admitted, “I think I managed to say many of the things that were forbidden at that time, thanks to using a tone of humble intimacy and even lyrical reproach that gave me some success” (Campmany, 1997, p. 21).
In this respect Cantavella points out that

When, after the death of Franco, journalists were able to make use of freedom of expression and allowed the free play of political parties, Campmany opted for severe criticism of the contrary options. But maybe he realized that, if he went down this path, the confrontations would be too violent. He then opted, according to his placid and friendly nature, to practice the way of humor, which allows to be equally forceful in the reasoning, but giving it a semblance of leniency, because it softens the contours and provokes the smile (and it is even possible to arrive to the laughter). It is easier to prevent the anger of others when things are said in a jaunty way (Cantavella, 2012, p. 78).


The work developed in later pages had as main objectives the following:

– Put the accent on the communicative side in which humor becomes a prism for the observation of reality and simplification of complex issues.
– Locate the articles that addressed the constitutional theme at a politically sensitive moment in the history of Spain and see the role that humor played in them.
– Check the use of humor that this author makes when presenting political communication.


In order to achieve the aforementioned objectives, a methodology of descriptive analysis was chosen. The descriptive analysis is a powerful tool that helps to highlight the mental paths followed by researchers. The movement of thought that reflects forms a basic motor to revise the statute of the theoretical constructions themselves at the time of doing science.
In the present work, we wanted to go the way that would allow us to expand the limits of formal tools and include as necessary the preliminary conditions that the descriptive analysis allows to establish, better defining the scope of scientific constructions and verifying the knowledge proposed of what could be called a standard methodological test.
Common sense, shared knowledge, science, objectivity, are only ways of placing oneself in the world to try to understand it, but without forgetting that it is done from a particular context, in a given culture and according to the criteria of a scientific community, which says what is qualified and accepted as such to acquire probative value.


4.1. The historical context (in which our analysis is developed)

The years elapsed between the death of Franco and the advent of socialism in Spain were marked by the approval of the Law of Political Reform, the Constitution of 1978 and successive electoral processes.
The Law of Political Associations (approved on June 9, 1976) was already reflected in the following days in several jokes by Perich and other Spanish comedians on the Reformation and the right of associations. On December 15, 1976, the Referendum for Reform took place. The media echoed the results of the same and the political importance of the approved Law. ABC titled its editorial “A result that leaves no room for doubt,” and said “The result of the referendum has confirmed in all its fundamental data, the most reasonable forecast: overwhelming majority of affirmative votes, small minority of negative and blank votes, and a percentage of abstentions that does not exceed the normal estimates in these cases “. They were the first steps towards the new order that would sanction a new Constitution.
After the Referendum of December 15, Spain entered a stage that could be qualified as constituent with the celebration of the first elections of democracy and the elaboration of the new constitutional text. The extreme left and the ETA tragically flanked the entire Reformation process, with brutal activity, which sometimes met with the no less brutal aberrations of the extreme right. On April 9, 1977 the Communist Party was legalized. In the following month Don Juan de Borbón yielded his dynastic rights to his son Juan Carlos. Meanwhile, the social situation deteriorated gradually.
On June 15, 1977, general elections were held. The elections gave the triumph for the UCD. The results were translated into 165 seats for UCD, 118 for the PSOE, 20 for the PCE, 16 for the AP, 11 for the CIU, 8 for the PNV and 6 for the PSP. That is to say, a strong national right and a vigorous PSOE in the regions, as in the times of the reign of Alfonso XIII.
On December 6, 1978, the Constitution turned Spain into a parliamentary monarchy based on universal suffrage. And the party system was an agreement accepted by the vast majority of Spaniards. In addition to ensuring democratic freedoms, it promised a solution to the regional problems that both obsessed the Spaniards of the moment, with the potential explosion of autonomies. It can be said that the Spanish people voted for moderation. During the period in which this Constitution was being worked on, the Government, obsessed with politics, had neglected economic problems that took Spain to the verge of collapse.

4.2. The communicative context, the changes in the information

At this stage, Spanish policy regarding information went through very defined phases. Between November of 1975 and June of 1977 it lived a first phase of adaptation. The daily press continued to face an obsolete legislation and the operating system inherited from the Franco regime, aggravated by the economic crisis as a whole.
The first government of Suarez initiated several transformations: the Minister of Information, Reguera Guajardo, published a Royal Decree on freedom of expression and converted TVE into an autonomous body. The 1978 Constitution meant the disappearance of political caution over the press and the enthronement of the principle of freedom of expression and the right of citizens to information (Sinova, 1989, p. 272).
Article 20 of the Constitution established the right to issue and receive accurate information by any means of dissemination, the right to the clause of conscience and professional secrecy, the prohibition of prior censorship and parliamentary control of the media social workers dependent on the State. This regulation of the state press led to several controversies about the convenience of closing these newspapers.
In the following UCD governments, the Ministry of Information and Tourism would disappear, replaced by a State Secretariat for Information; the first autonomous televisions would be created; many FM stations would open; the state press and the Monday papers would disappear and the informational monopoly of Radio Nacional de España would end.
In February of 1978, 73 journalistic companies, publishers of daily non-state newspapers constituted the Association of Spanish Journal Publishers (AEDE), admitted in May of the same year as a full member of the International Federation of Newspaper Publishers. (FIEJ).

4.3. Study of the column “Political scenes” 1978: around the Constitution

The first articles that dealt with the constitutional theme are located in the month of October in which, although sporadic, there are references to the worrying topic of the Constitution that was being developed. The political column of Campmany faced the public affairs of the nation, specifically the approval of the constitutional text, from a conservative position and with a great sense of humor.

4.3.1. Preparing the land. Five articles of October

The column “Political Scenes” of Campmany addresses for the first time the subject of the Constitution in October 1978, tangentially, by comparative allusions to similar moments, In mid-October, with the title “That afternoon in Cebreros” The author establishes a comparison between two constitutional moments with the following excerpt: “One day between the days Don Manuel Azaña passed through Cebreros” (Campmany, 1978, p. 10) which was a pleasant and easy way to locate the reader, knowing as all Spaniards that this town was the birthplace of the then President of the Government, Adolfo Suárez.
The column introduces a first allusion, not without irony, to the situation: “The constitutional text is already at the last table of the discussions and from there it has to leave to go through the glass of the sovereign ballot-boxes” (Campmany, 1978, p.10). On this occasion, the argument he uses is favorable, with a clear reference to the problem of peripheral nationalism that remained unresolved:

Because it can be said that the Constitution is written, in some points, with crooked lines, but its text is aimed cleanly towards a beautiful enterprise of freedom. Not a single country of Spain can be left out of that legal security that the Constitution offers to the freedom and equality of all Spaniards. (Campmany, 1978, p. 10)

And the author’s rhetoric rounds the argument with the elements of the classical peroratio: “That child of the village of Ávila will have to go to the Parliament of the parliamentary monarchy and explain how he will tie the hands to those who want to continue killing the bulls with stones in the Iberian ring, like that afternoon in Cebreros “(Campmany, 1978, p. 10). This style is very frequent in Campmany, without the need to specify who wants to continue “killing bulls with stones”. An indirect way to describe the action of those who shuffled parliamentary solutions to issues.
The following reference to the constitutional issue comes from the good mood of this column and its author who sometimes takes as a theme the outcomes of everyday life. In that month of October a daughter of the then socialist leader Felipe González was born, who still did not hold positions of public relevance in the country. With the title “simply María” that evoked a well-known and ridiculed telenovela broadcast in our country, another exordium started: “Fortunately, the children are there! to take up the constitutional issue that is on the table: As Felipe González has been born a girl in the middle of the constituent festival, the idea came to baptize her with the name of Constitution” (Campmany, 1978, p. 7).
And he argues: “Surely don Felipe González is thinking that this girl who was born in the year of grace of the Constitution, instead of bringing the bread under his arm, may have brought him the portfolio of his Majesty’s prime minister, because some day the miracle will have to be brought about “(Campmany, 1978, p. 7). He concludes the column with the same expression: “Fortunately, there are the children” as a habitual rhetorical resource in his writings to follow the thread and finish off how he started (Campmany, 1978, p. 7).
At that time, President Suárez went to the Congress of the UCD and, in addition to ensuring democratic freedoms, promised a solution to the regional problems that haunted the Spaniards of the time, with the potential explosion of the autonomies. Campmany titled his column “Philosophy of elegance” (Campmany, 1978, p.8) and began: “Well, no, it will not have been a discourse of the philosophy of eloquence; but it has been a discourse for the philosophy of elegance “(Campmany, 1978, p.8). The author goes to the pun, the literary version of social events and a point of irony in his description of what happened:

There was the entire political class, a renewed sector; some services of the order that scarcely were necessary because we were all people of order; the hostesses of good family; the cloud of photographers; the cameras of Gustavo Pérez Puig getting out with strategy of good director of scene; the plainclothes policemen; journalists to God’s blanket ... (Campmany, 1978, p.8)

With this argument, respectful but biting offered his own point of view and anticipated an opinion: “Don Adolfo has said that as they had made him party president (which is not a variant in the pool either) he was going to speak exclusively as party president. But afterwards he has also spoken a bit as President of the Government. Although I have the impression that he spoke more than anything as a Nobel Peace Prize “(Campmany, 1978, p. 8). If, in a certain way, he seems to mock the figure of president he concludes his writing with a demonstration of his prose and practically unlimited lexicon: “Political gentlemen of the opposition, you are before an indestructible, incombustible, incarburating, impregnable and invulnerable politician” (Campmany, 1978, p. 8).
During the preparation and development of the constitutional text, two major parties, the Union of the Democratic Center (UCD) and the Socialist Party (PSOE), had taken root; two other minor parties, the Popular Alliance and the Communist Party; and several regional parties, among which the representatives of Basque and Catalan nationalism stood out. For this reason, shortly after, he again referred to the Constitution with a humorous title that softened the seriousness of the matter: “The four corners”. And it uses a forceful start to center the problem: “Half-heartedly, President Suárez seems to have meant to imply that there will be no general elections immediately after the Constitution is approved by referendum” (Campmany, 1978, p. 9).
Immediately he offers an exposition of reasons that justify the title: “As in the game of the four corners, President Suarez can go to four parliamentary groups to ask for the light of the votes to cook that government” (Campmany, 1978, p. ). And with some colloquialism introduces the argument, which explains below: “On occasions when a hazardous vote was coming in Congress, the term ’nationalities’ has already been ceded, without possible recovery, for its inscription in the constitutional text. (...) To maintain the parliamentary majority that the government needs, what other concessions should be made?” (Campmany, 1978, p.9), with an expressive appeal to the reader. And it closes with fine irony “Sometimes democratic mathematics is a devilish subject” (Campmany, 1978, p. 9).
The last column of October was entitled “Shut up has been said” dedicated to a painful issue as was the silence on terrorism in the Congress of Deputies, a subject that, for the delicate, did not seem to want to be addressed clearly. And Campmany begins with an expressive proverb: “Our joy in a well” (Campmany, 1978) to add with its inevitable irony: “Congress can talk about family planning, or the energy plan; but about the dead, no” (Campmany, 1978). And with an impeccable argument he explained: “A new occasion for the deputies, the parliamentarians _parliament comes from parlare, I believe_ talk about what is talked about in the street, what the people are talking about, what worries the beautiful people that already in the draft Constitution is a sovereign people “ (Campmany, 1978) . His conclusion, as usual, returns to the title that gave rise to it: “For now we are in the phase of “shut up has been said “of the Parliament to talk about the weather, of the pill and of the children that failed their exams” ( Campmany, 1978).
During this month of October, the articles that Campmany signed were published on pages 8 and 9, and yet from November the “political scenes” begin to have fixed and preferred location on page 3. Possibly the newspaper was aware of the interest that aroused these articles.

4.3.2. The question of destabilizing terrorism

The issue was growing in dimensions on the street and soon began to be heard in the public arena voices in favor and against the text that was being prepared. The newspapers made numerous predictions about the reaction of the Spaniards. The Basque nationalists began to recommend abstention as an answer, in the vote on the constitutional text. Campmany dedicated an expressive column headed with a well-known expression “To benefit of inventory” in which he explained the question in these terms: “I have for me that the abstentionist preaching of the Basque nationalists before the Constitution is going to make fall in the ballot boxes of the referendum a lot of yeses in the rest of the country “(Campmany, 1977, p. 3). And that he argued, lines later: “Because it is clear that we must respect the peculiarities! And the Constitution respects them, respects them to the point that some believe they see the danger of the disintegration of Spain “(Campmany, 1977, p. 3). The author ends by breaking a spear in favor of the text: “The Constitution is a table of rights and obligations. It must be accepted in its entirety. It cannot be received as an alien inheritance, for the benefit of inventory “(Campmany, 1977, p. 3).
At the end of November, before the imminence of the voting, it is noticed that he returns to position itself on the Constitution. The last days was practically daily object of its columns.
The persistent terrorist action that was destabilizing the system, inspired the title, strong and perhaps excessive, “Jasmine and Parabellum”. Contextualized the reason for its plot: “The first pages of newspapers have a tenacious and repeated protagonist: death and violence” (Campmany, 1978, p.3). And he put forward his argument with force again: “The imperturbability of the government and the confused and equivocal attitude of the political parties, more concerned about the legal and regulatory delicacy of the police forces than the effective disarmament of terrorism, are perhaps contributing to fill with blood the constitutional path “(Campmany, 1978, p.3). Also on this occasion he rhetorically returns to the title that inspired him: “You cannot send jasmines to quell the parabellums” (Campmany, 1978, p. 3).
The next day, he again addressed the constitutional issue. On this occasion with the title “The tournée of God” that begins categorically: “The Constitution is atheist. The Constitution has expelled God from his articles. The Constitution is an abortionist “(Campmany, 1977, p.3). The angry tone with which he seems to address the reader seems motivated by a typically Spanish tendency that states: “Here as soon as we talk about politics and government, we end up talking _D. Francisco de Quevedo apart_ from the politics of God and the government of Christ “(Campmany, 1977, p. 3). And he maintains with his habitual rotundity “It is useless and idle that we pretend God to come to tell us what we should vote in the referendum of the Constitution. God does not give political meetings but speaks to the conscience of each one, and it is each one who must seek the truth within his conscience “(Campmany, 1977, p.3). As usual, he returns to his beginning: “The tournée of God only takes place in the fun fictional imagination of Jardiel Poncela” (Campmany, 1977, p. 3).
For the third time in the same week, on Saturday, November 25, he wrote about the matter. With the title “Three-way carom” he attacks the PSOE attitude to the positioning of the Basque Country. Start the text in a conversational and colloquial way “Yes, I know. You have to have the bargain “(Campmany, 1978, p.3). And he immediately underlines with clarity: “There are times when politicians play several cloths, in the attempt to expand, on the right and on the left, their electoral base” (Campmany, 1978, p.3). And further refines his argument: “There are cases in which one, poor and sovereign elector, begins to think that there are politicians, or parties, that in addition to seeking our vote are deceiving us” (Campmany, 1978, p. 3). To top it off, as usual, with a return to the beginning, typical literary figure of his writings: “From his corner of the spectator, the modest chronicler, poor and sovereign elector, remains for a while open-mouthed, absorbed, flabbergasted and stunned contemplating how the Socialist Party has just made that difficult and admirable three-way carom “(Campmany, 1978, p.3).
Again on Wednesday, November 29, he takes up the plot with the title “View to the right” that opens an article dedicated to the imbalance of Spanish politics, at that time and almost regularly in this country. It begins with the following heading: “We swing historically on the tightrope, in pirouettes, not already a circus, but pathetic ones” (Campmany, 1978, p.3). For the description of the situation of stagnation to which this exhibition refers: “If in this country the left and the right had pulled the car with equal power or with similar efforts, the car would have advanced, with some wobble but without going out of the way “(Campmany, 1978, p.3). And he argues that: “The best thing that could happen to Spain at this time is that, almost for the first time in our history, we had a moderate left, a progressive right and a liberal center. (...) Politics, as the earth, is round. And the power when you want to take it alone, crushes “(Campmany, 1978, p.3). To finish lyrically with these words: “The swing of democracy is not that of the tightrope. It’s the one of the hammock. That place where the Spaniards have almost never been able to take, in the open air, a political nap” (Campmany, 1978, p.3). However, the Spaniards seemed to basically agree to build a fundamental charter that would entrench the Crown and remove the specter of civil war.

4.3.3. The overwhelming yes to the Constitution

In the month of December, a pastoral letter was issued by Monsignor Marcelo González Martín, then president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, regarding the constitutional text. This led to a column called “The Holy War” and that its author begins with these expressive and colloquial expression: “Goodness gracious and good has D. Marcelo made” (Campmany, 1978, p.3) which immediately explains: “In the end, of each patriotic contest or of each political dispute we ended up making a holy war” (Campmany, 1978, p.3). And to argue it he alleges:

When the Spanish try the human and fascinating adventure of wanting to think on our own someone comes with the “Summa Theologica” in hand to crush Kant and when we want to solve our problems of political and civic coexistence, there are always pastoral rings that bless a program , that put us God before the royal decrees or that bury the opinions, and even the agreements, under a rain of anathemas and excommunications. (Campmany, 1978, p.3)

And he suggests, conciliatory, in the closing of his column: “Since we have not made of this Constitution a relentless political quarrel, let’s not make of it a new holy war.”
The next day, the King gave a speech in which, as was logical by the immediacy of the dates, made a reference to our constitutional process that Campmany collects with the title “American love” That place where the Spanish have almost never been able to take, outdoors, a political nap. “The subject is stated like this: “It seems that Spain and America have been holding hands for five centuries “ (Campmany, 1978, p.3), and he exposes it with these phrases: “The king has taken to America the image and the example of this Spain, which is about to be given the most democratic Constitution in its history “(Campmany, 1978, p.3). All his arguments focus on defending or presenting favorably the figure of the King. “And here the king has again given the example of concord and reconciliation, these spiritual substances without which everything we are building would soon come down like an illusory sand castle” (Campmany, 1978, p.3). The column closes with an even clearer position: “The king”, the first Spaniard compelled to fulfill his duty “as he himself wanted to proclaim from the first day he spoke as king of all Spaniards, has begun to carry out his mission “(Campmany, 1978, p.3).
On the eve of the vote, the column was titled “Turmoil in B minor” in a humorous allusion to the different positions before the constitutional referendum. The author begins with this preamble: “The Constitution that is like the Calvary of our democracy also has its three Marias” and with sharpness he points out: “The dialectic of the Referendum unfolds, as you can see, between gingerbreads and a look-and-don’t-touch-me of an invitation to the waltz “(Campmany, 1978, p.3). With irreproachable logic exposes his argument: “Between them they have armed against the “no” a turmoil of yeses that will not end like the rosary of the dawn because each Spaniard is going to show surely that he has more serenity than those who should give him example of serenity “(Campmany, 1978, p.3). And of course to finish the article, he returns to the origin of his admonition: “We are raising the Calvary of democracy called Constitution. With all this turmoil of the yeses and the counterpoint of the noes in the billboards, in the posters, in the meetings and in the television “(Campmany, 1978, p.3). That day, President Suárez’s speech on TV encouraged the country: “This Constitution breaks the myth of a different, ungovernable and anarchic Spain”; and a reference to terrorism that “has tried to stop, with its actions, every step towards greater levels of freedom” (Campmany, 1978, p. 3).
The same day of the voting he continues with his rhetoric of Hispanic kind titling his column “The chalice of the investiture” to refer to the inevitable investiture as such of the president of the government, Adolfo Suárez. The matter introduced him with the following words: “I suppose that all that mess of the investiture of Don Adolfo has nothing to do with the old lawsuit of the investiture. Well, now the patio is for us to get into that complicated mess!” (Campmany, 1978, p. 3). To contextualize the inevitability of events and justify the title, he stated: “The chalice is there in the eighth additional provision of the constitutional text that this morning we are voting” if you want to continue in La Moncloa, to go through the ring of the investiture “(Campmany , 1978, p.3) and deepens his argument: “We have spent almost two years talking about the Constitution and now we are waiting almost two years talking about the investiture (...) did not we want urns? So take urns! “(Campmany, 1978, p.3). The closing of the article returns to be a profusion of lexicon and humor, anticipating a freedom not yet sufficiently settled: “And to Don Adolfo, invest him, dress him, undress him or that they cross it, but that he governs once and for all “(Campmany, 1978, p.3), with which he also interpellates the president himself so that he can express his actions in a more express way.
The press celebrated the “Rolling yes to the Constitution” and for that reason special supplements were published on the Referendum and its development in different parts of Spain. The column “Political scenes” tried to comment on the results just outlined. The title “Patient X-ray” was already loaded with scorn. And the strong and slanderer beginning: “The Iberian electoral fauna will be subjected to observation, vivisection, recognition and biopsy” (Campmany, 1978, p.3). But the observation of the results only allows the author to make this comment. “One thing, at least, is clear; that the Spaniards of the yes have crushed electorally the Spaniards of the no “(Campmany, 1978, p.3). But he explained more carefully and with a good dose of irony that:

One of the funniest entertainments of democracy is this one of the juggling that everyone does with the electoral results (...) in the electoral entrancement of democracies, mathematics ceases to be an exact science to become a magical and hidden science, where numbers tell their life differently, with a fantastic brazenness. (Campmany, 1978, p.3)

And to conclude, the author of the proverb says: “And then what have they said about the Constitution! It never rains to everyone’s taste, but in a Constitution, to last, it has to rain to the taste of nobody “(Campmany, 1978, p.3).
And the next day, he stuck his neck in favor of President Suarez with the column entitled “Thank you, Mr. President” that began with teasing “I get up today to thank, even with decorous incontinence ...” (Campmany, 1978, p.3) to thank the work done in the course of the political reform of the country. “Don Adolfo Suárez had to make a political Reformation that required a very balanced combination of prudence and audacity” (Campmany, 1978, p.3). And he assured, “I believe that few of us - without having to take the water to our mill or look after his own interests – we have recognized something that is fair” (Campmany, 1978, p.3). To conclude “I think today it would be fair to say thank you, president, even if it was a farewell phrase” (Campmany, 1978, p.3).
In the following week, he submits to his wit the situation of the country with repeated calls to vote. The column is already entitled “Voting I wait” that anyone was able to associate the well-known tango and plagiarizing with humor the text begins “Voting is a great, sensual pleasure” (Campmany, 1978, p.2) and contextualizes it with its natural clarity “We have already voted three times. But do not take the ballot-boxes too far “(Campmany, 1978, p.2). In his argument, as on so many occasions, a peculiarity of the Spanish idiosyncrasy “In this country you vote with more desire when you vote against someone. (...) But if you are not going to vote against anyone, the thing is not funny” (Campmany, 1978, p.2). And to conclude again with reference to the title: “And the ballot-boxes do not take them too far. In democracy, we already know: voting I wait “(Campmany, 1978, p.2).
Six days after the Constitution was approved, the King received the executive of the PSOE who complied in this way with the Constitutional Monarchy. And the country became a hotbed of rumors about the course that was to follow. The corresponding column was titled “That nothing is known” and was a direct invective against the rumors that spread throughout the nation as a form of communication. It begins with this announcement: “Politicians, journalists and runners are going wild giving us news that are not the ones to the others” (Campmany, 1978, p.3). To immediately put the reader in the situation: “One of the first things we have learned in democracy is the mischief of the gossip, the trial balloon technique, the place of the bluff, the “make as I do not return and then return “(Campmany, 1978, p.3). And alludes to his own experience to defend the argument that there is nothing for sure “Well, but what is going to happen? Will there be readjustment of government, investiture or general elections? And there is a man who answers you very sure of himself, the three things. And another that ignores “(Campmany, 1978, p.3). This column concludes with a final dart that was prophetic in one part: “I will find out everything by Don Ricardo de la Cierva or when I read the memoirs of Don Adolfo Suárez” (Campmany, 1978, p. 3).
This month, which was prodigal in columns dedicated to the constitutional issue for obvious reasons, another one was published that bore the title “The altarpiece of wonders” to refer to the contradictions of this country. It begins affirming with rotundity “Definitely we live in a magical country. Here magic triumphs always over logic” (Campmany, 1978, p.4). The narration of the event that moves him to write is this: “We have just approved the Constitution where it is said that this is a parliamentary monarchy and now, when we have to give life to Parliament, a deputy arrives and says this is a corpse!” (Campmany, 1978, p.4). But he dramatically describes in his argument the painful situation that Spain was going through, with words like this:

Don Marcelino does not say a word about the strafing of our fishing boats, we voted against Chile in the UN; we cannot open a hole in Europe. And the pacts are not signed. And the economy is not fixed. And the public administration does not work. And everything is stopped, apart from a million Spaniards. The theater is dying The cinema is dead. At this moment there is not a single Spanish film filmed. People do not go out at night. The ministers do not know if they will continue to be ministers. “A portrait that, to attenuate the effect, closes with this reflection:” We live in a magical country. This, gentlemen, is the altarpiece of wonders. (Campmany, 1978, p. 4)

Part of the good use that Campmany knew to make of the humor and the irony is shown in the last two articles that correspond to the columns of “Political Scenes” of the 29th and 30th of December of the year of the democratic Constitution. With the title “The Ass of Balaam” he made a fine criticism of the indecisive attitude of the government and more particularly of President Suarez. It begins with this statement: “I do not know why donkeys have that reputation as idiots or why idiots are punished with donkey ears” (Campmany, 1978, p. 3) that already predisposes the smile in the reader. And the criticism begins already from the exposition of facts “I imagine President Suárez, at this time, perched, if you pardon the expression, on the ass of Balaam, and without deciding yet to take the path of the investiture or the election” (Campmany, 1978, p. 3). Much stronger in the argument that holds “But also in the way of the elections surprises and disappointments may appear. The current conformation of the Congress appears somewhat fictitious in relation to the political panorama of the Spanish society. (...) The solution to the constitutional charade can be had from today at any time “(Campmany, 1978, p. 3). And he does not stop throwing a cloak, or trying to cheer up the mood when he ends his text with “For me it is certain that the ass of Balaam has already taken a path. What is not known is where it will take us “(Campmany, 1978, p. 3).
Once the Constitution was ratified, a phase was entered, always under the presidency of Suarez, increasingly dominated by the weight of serious real problems: unemployment, terrorism, against which State action seemed increasingly ineffective, the inhibition of entrepreneurs, the threat of class struggle, foreign policy faltering and pretentious despite the professionalism of its executives, the galloping economic crisis and the cultural disorientation of society and the State, which would lead to a resurgence of extremism and a general disenchantment of the Spanish people of their nascent democracy.
The political history of Spain in 1979 would be dominated mainly by three processes: the general and municipal elections, the PSOE crisis, and the approach of the autonomous problem in a virulent phase. And so it is advanced in the last column of “Political Scenes” of that year 1978 that had the title “Bring the ballot-boxes!”. The author introduces with gentleness the subject “Sometimes, unfortunately only sometimes, the things finish being as they have to be” to emphasize the qualities in his opinion of the lived process “The process of political change that runs between the 20 of November of 1975 and December 29, 1978, it is exemplary in its clarity and peaceful process “(Campmany, 1978, p. 3). But it also alludes to the fatigue of the people before the repeated calls: “The general elections were presented, in my opinion, as something not only convenient but inevitable. And that despite the electoral fatigue of the citizens and the excessive dose of voting that a newly inaugurated democracy is administering to us “(Campmany, 1978, p. 3). And he closes the column with the festive appeal: “Therefore, bring back the ballot boxes” (Campmany, 1978, p. 3).
This section could be closed with the author’s own terms: “satire is often a resource for those who cannot change the situation and laugh at it” (Cantavella 2011, p. 82) that very well define the tone with which he wrote these articles.


The descriptive analysis carried out on the treatment of the Spanish Constitution of 1978, in the months immediately following its approval, through the column “Political Scenes” allows to point out at least the following considerations:

1. Jaime Campmany with his enormous facility to deal with current affairs, as well as to direct his darts against his political enemies, addressed in his political column the public affairs of the nation, specifically the approval of the constitutional text, from a conservative position and with a great sense of humor.
2. This derivation to humor, with resources to irony and satire on multiple occasions, was a way of introducing issues that would have had no place otherwise. Possibly because he had no choice but to use satire, given the apparent incompetence of the nation to promote essential changes. In his columns “Political scenes” he openly took sides in defense of conservative ideas.
3. The articles in these columns show a high literary quality, possibly as a result of the professional practice of long years and their art to capture the benevolence of the public. It is usual in his texts to recourse to literary figures such as anaphora, which also show the clarity with which he supported his ideas along a common thread.
4. More than argued reasoning, what he used in his direct attacks on his adversaries, were reinforcing humorous elements such as: highlighting the mistakes of others, discovering vices, ridiculing behavior and, above all, caricaturing the characters.
5. These columns show the lexical wealth and the command of the vocabulary available to him. It uses numerous terms, coming from the educated Spanish as well as the colloquial, from slang and from dialects. He easily accumulates synonyms, or adjectives, or enumerations in a rhetorical way.
6. His texts allow to notice that he had read and dominated the classics and as such he wrote with an agile prose, with a markedly literary character (despite dealing with political issues), with clear expression and aided by images and metaphors. Her shows his intellectual capacity with a language full of cultisms.


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Aurora García González

PhD in Public Communication and, currently, Full Professor of Journalism with accreditation for the Corps of Professors, in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Communication of the University of Vigo. She is the Director of the Departmental Communication and IP Section of the Research Group CS1 (ICOM) of the same University. Author of numerous publications and scientific articles. He teaches the subject “Public Opinion”, in the Degree of Advertising and the course “Radio models: innovations and social uses” in the Master in Research in Communication. http://0000-0003-3757-9047

Sarai Lagos Area
PhD in Communication Research from the University of Vigo. Member of the Research Group CS1 (ICOM) of the same University. Graduated in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Vigo. Member of the Research Group that developed the Project on Values in Advertising that gave rise to the publication “Education in values through advertising. The advertising campaigns of the ONCE on the radio “in Correspondences & Analysis (2015). Copywriter and community manager of Andamio Publications (Barcelona).

Mª Lourdes Román Portas
PhD in Communication Research from the University of Vigo. Member of the Research Group CS1 (ICOM) of the same University. Degree in Hispanic and Galician-Portuguese Philology, both from the University of Santiago. Member of the Research Group that developed the Project Studies on the reflection of Galician culture and society in fiction films made in Galicia and Galicia, financed by the Xeral Secretariat for relations with the media of the Galician Government. http://0000-000313669961