Spain is different, but not so much as it used to. We're losing some of our distinguishing features with time, but not all of them: the sun still shines up above in the sky, we like partying, and yes, we still like late lunches and later dinners, which I really love if you ask me.
However, there are other clichés that are in danger of extinction in my lovely country as they probably are in other places. Don't panic, the American dream is defunct too: is anyone moving to California nowadays to become a successful self-made man? Look at Henry Ford's legacy: unemployment, polluted places, lack of any artistic merit... Or we could even refer to Grace Kelly, who turned her back on Hollywood to embrace an empty crown. She probably had a dream but woke up to live a nightmare.
In Spain, one of the typical myths of low popular culture back in the forties and fifties was having a daughter who became a successful singer (a singer of "copla" and "flamenco") and who, after making lots of money and buying a big house for her parents -Spaniards are obsessed with owning a house- should move on and fall in love with a bull fighter. Myths don't necessarily have to be reasonable, do they? Well, some artists, believe it or not, have lived up to that dream making it come true, and for that reason they were even more admired by some people (others couldn't care less).
So now, in 2007, most people just openly laugh at this, which I find logical given the sign of the times, and wanting to desperately turn themselves away from what this country was for such a long time, they feel the need to despise it noisily, so that everyone sees how European, modern and at the same time Spaniards they can be. Many of them are young journalists, underpaid, hypercritical and uncultivated, like me.
These days, the last of this long list of singers (called "folclóricas" sarcastically in the first place, though I'm not so sure if the sarcasm still exists here) has been the focus and main topic of the most controversial TV program broadcast on Spanish TV: "Aquí hay Tomate" (literally "There's some tomato here"; but meaning something like "There's a rumour here"). Her name is Isabel Pantoja, and she is just a living myth, because she was a "folclórica" from a very young age, then she married a bull-fighter, later on his husband was killed by a bull while bullfighting -all Spain could see it on TV- and then she became the "Widow of Spain". After some years, she was accused by the media of taking advantage of them (and also of her personal drama) to sell more records, and she has been the subject of a very controversial following ever since. So she achieved the "Spanish" dream, but it wasn't so good after all.
Her story is much too long, and since 2003 this woman has been featured every single day in that program, and reluctantly. In fact, she doesn't say a word to journalists or anything. So, today, as I was watching how she was followed by reporters, fans, policemen and managers, I thought that this can only happen here. I hope things like this and people like these will always be a symbol of my country because it is soooooo surreal... It's no wonder Dalí was born here.
She has lately been accused of tax evasion and now the TV program is following her all the time, while some people defend her, and others despise her. Lots of people in Spain are just so tired of low salaries, bad news, climate change, high mortgages and god-knows-what that they massively switch on to this program and don't watch the news.
Anyway, who are we going to talk about so much when Isabel Pantoja retires??? We need the folclóricas as much as we need to have fun!!! I find them much more colourful and tasty than Paris Hilton's look-alikes.
And look, she was so important that lots of transvestites imitated her, and after that, another TV program hired a host that dressed up as one of those fake Pantojas, not Isabel Pantoja herself. Hello! It's realyy funny, I hope you understand Spanish.