During the last period of the Franco regime was popularized by Manuel Fraga de Iribarne, Minister of Information and Tourism in the 60’s (and later founder of Alianza Popular, party that would derive in the current Partido Popular), the motto ‘Spain is different!’ With these three simple words it was intended to attract all those wealthy foreigners willing to expend their bills in the southern lands. The adjective «different» was a rancid, backward or obscure euphemism; although in reality, the rulers of the time sought to give exotic connotations and to promote the diversity of landscape that the ancient Hispania offers.
But the truth is that, for good or ill, nowadays Spain is much more similar, due to its social organization, its economy and its politics, to the countries of Western Europe, precisely to those that the tourist campaign was directed, that African or Latin American countries, with which on many occasions, some distracted without a world map at home (mainly Yankees) we are mixed up. The sentence ‘Africa begins in the Pyrenees’, that some within Spanish territory accepted as favourable, serve as an example the intellectual Miguel de Unamuno, and others such as Antonio Machado interpreted it as an affront, has been almost completely outdated. It is true that the motto ‘Spain is different!’ is still used frequently by us, as an ironic saying, to highlight the shames of the Spaniards rather than the virtues. Even the rap band Los chikos del maíz have a song with that title in whose lyrics one can hear, for example, that bars abound in Spain because there are many unemployed people or that 23-F (the date of Tejero’s coup d’état) was a plot to perpetuate the monarchy.
Joy a(S)pain was born to demystify all that ‘black legend’ that sometimes, in the countries where the cold presses, blooms about Spain, its culture and its customs. Because, ladies and gentlemen, not all Spaniards know how to dance fandangos or face a brave bull. And neither the country stop completely at siesta’s time as if it were a general strike, nor the mainly economic sector is still agriculture. The truth is that Spain, like every state that has tens of millions of inhabitants, presents varied and fascinating peculiarities, and it is stupid to put all Spaniards in the same bag, little have in common a Galician with an Andalusian, to give an example, as a Neapolitan has little in common with a Milanese, a Parisian with a Marseillaise or a citizen of Edinburgh with one of Plymouth.
In fact, if we simplify ourselves to the opposite side of the matter we can find the vision of Javier Krahe, the Madrid-born singer-songwriter alleged in one of his satirical songs that «in the antipodes everything is identical to the autochthonous» and exposed with brilliance coinciding aspects: «They have rather stupid politicians», «the problem is economic» or «there is artistic world with eccentric people» (first surprise: in Spain there aren’t only craftmen and farmers, there are many artistic expression, or even a powerful scientific body, even though arts and science recieved less money from the Government of the essential), and in the end everything is solved by football, «bread and circuses» of our days that adopts other names like _insert your favorite sport_, Netflix, chloracepan or any other drug.
However, to embrace this vision would also be to fall into reductionism, the reality, also that of our beloved Peninsula is not only formed by whites and blacks, but rather by a wide range of grays, such as Berlanga‘s neo-realist films. And that is precisely our function, to show the scale of grays that flood our daily reality. Contextualize the most widespread disappointments abroad, explain the substantial differences with the rest of European nations, both socially and politically. Also the means to show that this festive town knows how to have fun beyond killing bulls and throwing tomatoes is born. Hence the chosen denomination arises, we show both the good and the bad, but without falling into manichaeism or chauvinism, but on the contrary, acting with journalistic ethics, with rigor and independence.