Archive for December 23rd, 2008

Smells Like Group Spirit

Greetings from Spain, where I am reading the Guardian.

The ritual of this lottery, which dates back to 1812, the fact that the drawer goes on all day (with umpteen other prizes divvied up) and above all, the emotional hold that the lottery has on Spaniards, is astounding to outsiders.

In my case it´s not so much astounding as mind-blowingly tedious. Yesterday it was on the TV for hours. And it´s not as if Spanish TV was much good to begin with.

Disparate and fragmented though they may seem, as autonomous regions like Catalonia and the Basque country clamor for yet greater independence, when El Gordo comes round, the group spirit of Spaniards is indisputable.

¿Cómo? Not quite sure what liking a bit of a flutter has to do with group spirit. Swathes of Irish and English people alike are fond of the gee-gees, but that doesn´t mean they share some indisputable group spirit. At any rate, even if El Gordo were an indicator of ´group spirit´, there are many other indicators to choose from: suckling pigs on display in the butchers, elaborate nativity cribs, endless TV adverts for perfume.

Another indicator of group spirit might be hatred for the Guardia Civil among certain sections of disaffected youth. This morning I saw a grafitti outside a local primary school that said Guardia (swastika inserted here) Civil Murdering Dogs Controlling Minds By Radio Frequency.


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