Thursday, April 01, 2004

Meanwhile, back in Spain, things continue to deteriorate. I read this article in the NY Times about the changing of the guard in Spain. The article says Mr. Zapatero, president-elect, thinks that Spain needs a "social and sexual revolution, " which indicates that Spain somehow lags behind western civilization in those two spheres. Somehow, I did not see that at all when I was there. The Spanish seemed quite sexually liberated: the local beaches were just like South Beach; transvestite prostitutes paraded their wares across the university campus every evening; and I quickly learned through trial and serious error to mark Spanish film off my list because of its pornographic tendencies. I did not sense great disparities between the sexes, and the only machismo I experienced was in Paris and Italy, not in Spain. Granted, I spent most of my time in Barcelona, which has a more "continental" atmosphere than does southern Spain; and of course, four months in a country is hardly enough time to begin to understand all its history and feeling; but still, I have a hard time accepting the dated, flawed picture that the new guard seems to want to paint about their country. Zapatero (a name which keeps recalling in my mind that of a famous Mexican revolutionary...) apparently hopes to rid the country of any residual conservatism left over from the last president and to further purge the country of any religious, more specifically Catholic, residue.

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