If we want to lighten the depression produced by the daily news — by the disdainful, timid, inept air of Rajoy, by the stumbling clown show put on by every one of his ministers — we may at least look on the bright side of the crisis. There isn’t much of a bright side, and please do not imagine I am making fun of the many people who are facing real hardship. Yet a bright side exists, or can at least be imagined.
For example, imagine a land where, instead of more than one cellphone per inhabitant, only a few people could afford one. Bus and train travel would benefit mightily from not having to listen to cretinous conversations, or learning about how the man in front of you has put one over on someone in his business dealings. People would not walk the street absorbed in their iPhones; they would be more alert, more alive, more considerate to others. Oh, and the relief of not having to listen to people’s ding-dong call signs in the cinema.
Can you imagine a country where graft and robbery were no longer smiled on? Until the other day, what most people regretted about a graft scandal was not being in on it. Municipal building rackets evoked admiration rather than rejection, and political grafters saw themselves above the law, thanks to steadfast voter support. How many times have we heard them say: “The voters will acquit me?” How sad that only now, when the voters see the economic wolf at the door, they are beginning to rebel against the abuse, the squandering, the kickbacks, the illegal party financing and the private expenses charged to the public budget. But any sort of reprobation, if only proceeding from the baser instincts, is better than complacency with grafters and ambition to join their ranks.
Deprived of money and credit, kids might cease to be spoiled, capricious, whiny and conceited as if by decree"
Can you imagine a country where mayors, such as the last three of Madrid, were forced to explain to the public why they were tearing up good, esthetically satisfactory sidewalks and replacing them with bad, tacky ones which last a few years before breaking up — if not to favor contractors whose bank accounts are, perhaps, communicating vessels with those of their political party?
Can you imagine a world in which children were not spoiled rich kids from birth? Regardless of the class of society they come from and the income of their progenitors, almost all kids today are “posh in spirit.” Deprived of money and credit, they might cease to be spoiled, capricious, whiny and conceited as if by decree. They would not be so easily “frustrated,” having thicker skins; they would not demand as if by right the latest model of PlayStation or Nintendo, or whatever it is they fiddle with (I don’t know), or this or that brand name of sneakers, or the same color of jacket worn by Messi or Cristiano. Can you imagine a place where children, besides being children, were also future adults and could be treated as such, even if only once in a while?
And a press without smear mongers and bribe takers, journalists for sale like so many pounds of cheese? Television shows without venomous gossip because there wouldn’t be enough money to pay for it, while the audience, too concerned with making ends meet, would have no time to watch foulmouthed boors tearing strips off other people who are almost unknown except to them, and who are really of no particular concern to anyone? A country in which people would actually want to learn, because that would redound to their economic benefit, or help them find employment, or simply make them feel less ignorant? Feeling less ignorant means feeling less vulnerable to adversities — and one who has not yet noticed this fact, is indeed ignorant with a vengeance. Don’t tell me that such a country wouldn’t have its bright side. In fact, I think it would tend to prosper. But then we would be back in the cycle of abundance and idiocy.