Saturday, March 03, 2007

It’s an increasingly trendy view this will be the century of Identity Politics, with the world having to wrestle with the problem of more and more shared-interest groups using violence to get recognition/independence. Some evidence comes from the news this week that it’s not only in Cornwall that the road signs are to be written in two languages [English and Cornish]; over in León they’re now doing this in Spanish and Bable. This is comforting to me since I asked, many months ago, why the Cornish and Leonese were lagging behind in the pursuit of a national identity. Good to see they’ve both now made a start on the long road to freedom from the yoke of tyranny and colonial oppression. Even if they have to re-invent a language along the way.

Here’s the list of the most intriguing searches which ended up on this blog in February:-
crucifix slut evil gallery
what is the percentage of teenagers today that shave their pubic regions
First man to bring a tractor in Spain
ideas to get own back on neighbours who take my parking space

The last of these, naturally, appeals to me most. Which reminds me - My most contributive reader – Carlos – has criticised [inter alia] my take on the individualism of the Spanish. In so far as I may, at times, have concentrated on the negative aspect of this [i. e. lack of consideration for others], this is fair enough. So I reproduce here a few of the third party comments I’ve found in a quick search. The first two come from guides for people doing business here. The third is from the page of some complete nutters:-

In terms of personal attributes, individualism is highly valued in Spain, along with an emphasis on character and social status. Spanish culture highlights the importance of self and one’s family. However, influenced by its collectivist past, family values, a sense of identity and belonging to a group are also integral parts of society in Spain. Consequently personal qualities - appearance, image and personal relationships - are extremely significant components in contemporary Spanish culture. In a business context, personal attributes and character are frequently valued as much as technical ability, experience or professional competence. When doing business in Spain, you will find that individualism is particularly predominant in management, where Spanish managers are less inclined to favour group decision making and team orientation.

Throughout Spanish business, individualism is predominant in management and team orientation is less important. Personal pride and individualism are highly valued, as are character and breeding. Modesty is valued over assertiveness. Flaunting superiority, intelligence and ability is not appreciated. People strive to project affluence and social position. Personal appearance, image and human relationships are very important.

Spain has a sixth ray ego and a seventh ray personality. Spain acts as a link in world adjustment but this time the link is between Europe and Africa. It will be apparent why the battleground of two great ideologies - the Fascist and the Communistic - has been found inevitably in Spain. The triumph of the Fascist part has been equally inevitable from the start because of the egoic relation existing between Spain and Italy and also to the proximity of the two countries which has enabled the telepathic impress of Fascist idealism to be easily impressed upon the prepared and sensitive Spanish consciousness. As to the fanaticism, the natural cruelty, the fervent idealism, the arrogant pride and the religious and mystical quality of the Spanish character, they are obviously of sixth ray origin and are highly crystallized. The intense individualism of the people can be noted also as a definite part of their seventh ray personality equipment.


Colin said...


I do apologise if I’ve been guilty, as your latest comment implies, of ‘flaunting superiority, intelligence and ability’. I hadn’t realised this simply isn’t the thing to do here. Even in a personal blog which no one is compelled to read. :-)

As for being relaxed, why would I be otherwise? I'm totally unaffected by what I see as prejudicial to both Galicia's language and the education of her kids.

But if this changes, I can always take my money and tax contribution elsewhere. No skin off my nose . . . :-)

Carlos said...


No need to apologise for that: what you have done is not flaunt those qualities, as in order to truly flaunt them you have to be actually endowed with them in the first place, which to me you demonstrate sometimes but not others -as most of us fallible humans, on the other hand. What I think you often do is assume all too gladly they will invariably inspire your judgement without the need to go too deep into things. My experience tells me that this often happens with really intelligent people, so used to hitting the nail on the head that they tend to forget those times when they actually ended up smashing someone's finger with the hammer.

Anyway, sorry if I'm getting too personal here or too pretentiously psychoanalytical.

An example of this lack of depth of your analyses would be, among others, citing as a valid interpretation of the character of us Spaniards the opinion of people using theosopical nonsense such as "the seven rays" and "telepathic impresses", or the shallow impressions of self-proclaimed international business experts, as you did in your last post.

And yes, this is indeed your personal blog, but it is also a medium for the written diffusion of ideas, which in my view requires a more responsible use, especially when it comes to dealing with the reputation of a whole nation. They way we are perceived affects us very directly, don't you think?

I wish your blog was in Spanish instead of in English, as it concerns us Spaniards more than anyone else (unless your hidden agenda is to put people off coming to live here, that is). I must confess some of your impressions define some of us to a "t" while some others would at least create debate. You see, I am not happy with the way we have become such "nouveau-riches" and sit comfortably on our self-complacency as a nation that has taken such a huge leap into modernity since the death of Franco. The view of outsiders is extremely useful for the purpose of questioning who we are and where we want to go. I do not think Spain as an emotional-political-social entity is in danger, but I am totally sure we need to redefine our identity as the many of the elements in the one we have now (either real or stereotypically attributed to us) make many reject their Spanishness -if that is what Spain is, then I'm not Spanish, as my community is not like that at all. We need to redefine ourselves, get rid of the few things that anchor us in backwardness and/or show the world what we are really like.

And yes, after talking so much about Spain, I'm still a Galician nationalist (although not an independentist).

"But if this changes, I can always take my money and tax contribution elsewhere. No skin off my nose . . . :-)"

Something tells me you never will.

Colin said...

My early morning task . . . . .

“citing as a valid interpretation of the character of us Spaniards the opinion of people using theosophical nonsense”
Carlos, come on now. I can’t believe you really think I expected people to believe the stuff spouted by these idiots. I added it as a joke and stressed they were complete nutters. I do think your sense of humour deserts you at times.

“shallow impressions of self-proclaimed international business experts”
They may well be shallow but, in truth, this really is the way Spaniards come across - at least to Anglos of all persuasions. Can we all be so wrong? The advice they give is not bad for those wanting to do business here, as with the French one I saw a few weeks ago. I really would like to see [and laugh at] the British one. Of course, no one ever believes ALL Spanish [or French or British] are like this. How would YOU define ‘individualism’?, assuming you agree it is a Spanish trait.

“you demonstrate sometimes but not others”
Apart from my ever-present superior attitude, I guess. :-)

“also a medium for the written diffusion of ideas, which in my view requires a more responsible use, especially when it comes to dealing with the reputation of a whole nation.”
Now, this really is a bit pretentious. I have no such responsibility. And I make no claims for accuracy and depth. I deliberately title my blog ‘Thoughts from Galicia’, Not ‘Conclusions’. Or even ‘Ideas’. Of course, I understand your view. It’s irritating if you think your nation[s] is/are being traduced by an ignorant foreigner. But I have every right to be wrong as well as right and to disseminate my views to those you freely want to read them. I very much doubt that they make much impact at all on any one’s view of Spain/Galicia.

“unless your hidden agenda is to put people off coming to live here”
Well, no but I certainly wouldn’t be unhappy if my blog stopped a certain type of Brit coming to Galicia. There are good reasons – for both you and me - for wanting the better type of Brit to come here, temporarily or permanently.

“I do not think Spain as an emotional-political-social entity is in danger”
Well, this is your view and you can’t blame others for differing. I happen to agree that Spain will not break up but will eventually become a truly federal state. But in this Galicia will be a State, not a Nation. Like California. Only not as rich. Or mad. If this is enough for you, perhaps you should be an Estatalist, rather than a Nationalist. Especially as I see you’ve now confirmed you’re not an Independentist.

“Something tells me you never will.”
Very probably right there, if we are talking about Spain and not just Galicia. As I’ve said many times in my blog, despite all the flea bites Spanish society is superior to the UK’s. And, as I’ve told my daughters a thousand times, it’s the net balance that counts. You shouldn’t ‘stare yourself blind’ at the things I write on the debit side of the ledger. Even if I don’t go in for regular balancing.

Have a nice Sunday. I don’t suppose the weather is any more appealing in La Coruña today.


PS. Have you ever read “How to be an Alien” by George Mikes. If not, you really should. It’s not very complimentary to the British. Who reacted by buying hundreds of thousands of copies. Possibly even millions.

Carlos said...

Touché here...

I do tend to think over 10 times what I'm going to say and 100 times what I'm going to write. I suppose I cannot expect everyone to act in the same way.It's accuracy versus spontaneity and freshness, with no clear winner.

As for Zp's decision, all ETA supporters where holding their breath expecting to be as lucky as to have a new martyr for their cause. I think he has acted wisely here, although this has not gone down well with people in general.

AS for your degree of responsibility, well as we say in Spanish "un grano no hace granero, pero ayuda a su compañero" (roughly: every little counts). I do not consider you by any stretch of the imagination "an ignorant foreigner", may be a little skewed in your views, that's all.

AS for Spanish society being superior to the UK's, I'm not so sure. I've often declared to my British friends that an ideal society would be a sort of hybrid between the two.

No, I have not read that book, but I will put it in my "to-read" list.

The weather over here is wonderful, I've always liked the rain... That is the way I like Galicia, fresh and verdant.

I have not forgotten about the "ser-estar" subject.

Cheers for now.