Saturday, July 10, 2010

Nationalist Kitsch but it sounds so good.....

And since we're on a Manolo Escobar thing, I grew up listening to this song, the Sevillana below admonishing the young woman not to don miniskirts to the bullfights was unknown to me until a Spanish friend sent it to me. Since the World Cup allows academentia suffering nerds who regard themselves as enlightened fellow travelers to give free reign to outre nationalist sentiments, I post it here. Of course the song is highly problematic given its Franco-era vintage. But it takes me back to happy times in the 1970s and early 1980s, when I was a young girl and thus ignorant of all of this evil and injustice.

The video is priceless Spain is Different fun in the sun charming anachronism holiday hotels typical Spanish.

Speaking of nationalism, I went to my first ever sports bar to watch Spain vs. Germany. When I walked in , the server thought I was crazy when I enthusiastically comment on how I could face a huge plasma TV no matter where I was sitting! Apparently, this is customary in American sports bars. Well, fuck. God Bless America then. The bar was a freaking plasma TV panopticon.

As I was in a German neighborhood, I thought I would be the only española there but I was relieved to see a table of other Spaniards. Until the National Anthem came on and we rose. Then they followed it with a rousing ARRIBA España. I almost ran out of the bar. Suddenly I had a traumatic flashback to Franco's NO-DO propaganda newsreels and I was watching mass rallies with fascists giving the raised arm salute. But no, I was in New York City. Of course when I lived there I knew about fascist hooligans who perpetrated horrific racist attacks but I had never been next to people of that ilk. But in my recent marathon of World Cup viewership, I had walked past South African restaurants in my beautifully integrated global neighborhood, had brunch at a Nigerian restaurant and cheered for Mexico in a (regular) bar surrounded with people from all over the world. Thus, this dark side of futbol/football/or soccer has distant since I came to the sport from watching it in family members' living rooms and now as an um adult surrounded by other Europeans or sophisticated American academentia suffering artsy progressives. (irony, insert eyeroll & smile here)

The other irony is that while we Spaniards (or mixed White/colonial/authentic others like me) are cheering for "our" team, most of the players are actually Catalans and/or play for Futbol Club Barcelona. This team has a long complicated history that includes political connotations related to it as a symbol of Catalan Nationalism. During the Franco regime, which criminalized expressions of this area's unique culture and language, not to mention suppressed all traces of its political autonomy, expressions of support for this club were a covert way to express Catalanist sentiment. So it's hilarious to watch the facha assholes in the red and yellow club shirts cheering for the people they would customarily despise as deracinated arrogant Catalanes. As this World Cup is being played, the Spanish Supreme Court declared unconstitutional aspects of an Estatut (statute governing the region of Catalonia) voted on by a majority, most notably, the use of the word "Nation" to describe the area in the preamble. Today, over one million demonstrated in favor of the current wording, many waving the traditional flag indicating support for a separate Catalan nation. If you read the papers in the area you will find that they use a peculiar language to indicate this chasm: they refer to "el govern central" and to the Spanish state, as a kind of separate entity from Catalunya. In the rest of the country you just say Spain. (actually, I don't know what they say in the Basque Country, probably similar for those who support greater autonomy and obviously for the many up there who want to completely sever all ties and be an independent nation)

Classic Spanish Machismo