Sunday, August 14

Spain is a poster in Chicago

It is difficult to caricature the posh when you hear them express themselves seriously among themselves. There is no possibility of creating a reduction to the absurd that surpasses the self-awareness that you have. Iván Espinosa de los Monteros was sharing a talk in a ceremony with several members of his party when it occurred to him to explain what Spain meant to him: “My first notion, my first memory of being Spanish is from when I was a small child and lived in Chicago , and I spoke Spanish badly because my language was English. In my room, my father – he gets strangely excited – is silly, but he used to put posters of Spain on me. Of some horses in Ibiza, of a beach in Andalusia, of a Romanesque church. For a little boy, that was something really amazing … I wanted to come to Spain. ”

For the posh, the elites, Spain is a stage. Props for luxurious lives. A place to do vital tourism. It is no coincidence that the images of Espinosa de los Monteros’s childhood in a life of comfort and luxury in Chicago are an Andalusian beach, horses in Ibiza and a Romanesque church, because they are imaginary associated with a Catholic bourgeoisie that seeks roots as a identity built from privilege. They weren’t even the posters of their own city that emigrants put up in their little room during the 60s to have a view of their land, but only a representation of beauty and the ideal, of retirement and relaxation. Of leisure and enjoyment. Of those iconic and paradisiacal places that the rich know theirs and to which the working-class children could not aspire.

For those of my class, the worker, Spain was our neighborhood and reality did not allow us to idealize a wasteland of beauty and illusions. We did not need posters in our rooms to step on the ground because our identity was forged in a wasteland, on a run-down street in a suburb or in the wasteland at the foot of a shack. Childhood posters have always been the space in which we develop our individuality. Precariousness has made us keep those paper pictures stapled in the room as an element of construction of identity and aspirations, on many occasions stretching that single decoration that was mutating until after the 30s, when work and the impossibility of having your own home made that space on the wall of your parents’ room a place that showed your evolution. I remember some of my own, Isaiah Thomas with the Detroit Pistons, the currelas resting on a beam in a New York construction or Charles Chaplin and Jackie Coogan in The Kid. Looking at those posters was the only window open to a better or aspirational world, because the real one made you see a gray world, with antennas and fallen cables that reminded you of your sad place in the world. We could not idealize Spain, because we lived it and it was not pretty.

It is normal that they have to resort to recovering lost fictional empires, flags, hymns and grandiloquent speeches to attract unsuspecting working class people with an imaginary notion of homeland that has nothing to do with what those of us who have grown up in codes have lived through. postcards that got mud on our legs. They do not know the Spain that stains beyond the dust of the Rocío road on the carts and horses, so posh people idealize it by teaching their children that this country is a patchwork of idyllic places sprouting from jasmine, orange blossom and terraces with views. Sea. An identity construction that draws a false image of a land that reserves those precious places for which they can pay for them while the majority live in hostile, unhealthy or simply so anodyne spaces that the only thing you want when you spend your childhood there is to lose sight of them. forever. The posh VOX mythologize Spain because they have not lived on the same sidewalk as the working class.