Photograph by Albert galiza
A translated excerpt from an interview with Galizian writer Suso de Toro:
Question: A recent survey shows that 35% of Spaniards never read or almost never read. To what extent is this something to be concerned about? Does it explain the country’s situation?
Response: "I think it explains the flaws of Spanish society at large rather than the current juncture. As a country Spain never had an industrial revolution, nor did it experience the appearance of those social layers supposed to be enlightened, which can produce the leaders who govern a complex and modern state. That did not happen. As a matter of fact, in my view, it only happened in Catalonia, the difference being that they were cadres not for ruling over a state but oriented towards industry-creation and the arts. This is a deep social problem; at the time of the Transition, critiques and self-criticisms from the Francoist times were fully aware that this was a culturally backward, impoverished society lacking guidance… The difference is that from the 1980s, after the PSOE’s electoral win, a new phase begins. It is then assumed that Spain is no longer a sheep-like society but a modern, groovy, cool European country, that the whole world looks up to Spain and wants to learn from us. That’s absolute nonsense. More than nonsense: it is utter idiocy, rather than a lie. Upon such an idiocy was built a paternalist discourse: we started saying ‘we’ve got the best generation in the world’, and such things; a populism that flattered the populace. Suddenly we were all European, modern and educated. It is a lie: Spanish society is one of TV viewers. The reality is that this is a culturally backward society, and the worst thing is that it’s been overwhelmed by an absurd, false self-image; populists politicians are selling the idea that we’re the envy of the world.”
The rest of the interview (in Spanish) is available here.