One of the greatest benefits of country walks around Barcelona is the break they provide from street rage induced by the complete lack of interest shown by urban pavement users in the needs of others.
The conventional explanation is that bumping is the result of a different sense of the relationship between self and society, so Fukuyama and Landes and all that stuff. I think this is why Stefan Geens attributes predatory seating in Swedish branches of McDonalds to a hitherto undetected Gallic streak in the national character:
Southern Europeans expect and tolerate more selfish behavior in social contexts, whereas those of the anglo-saxon persuasion expect and tolerate their behavior being constrained for the common good.
This may provide a partial explanation in the case of Barcelona, but I’m also tempted by an ownership hypothesis – “We paid for these pavements, so get the hell out of our way.” For example, while foreigners are scolded when they don’t keep to the right (I saw it happen to a dreamy Dominican yesterday), when it rains it becomes axiomatic that the alluvial shadow along the edge of buildings belongs to the locals. That’s unless they’ve got umbrellas, in which case the only sensible course of action is to retire and await the cavalry.
- Artur Mas & Fukuyama
Several mediocre foreign writers make a reasonably good living here by providing cosmopolitan validation for the fears and superstitions of the Catalanista rabble. Artur Mas, heir to Jordi Pujol’s Catalanista crown, goes one better in this morning’s Retaguardia and cites Francis Fukuyama, a foreigner everyone’s heard of, to support the decline-and-fall picture he paints of Catalonia …
- Why the name “Bankia”?
Like Brunel, the Spanish political class profited from study of the behaviour of the shipworm.
- Witch doctor impersonator implicated in money laundering
Yet another fascinating case from the Limbe magistrates, Cameroon.
- Spanish beggars in Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog
And Russian itinerants in Barcelona.