Until just three days ago, the most refined expression of contemporary nihilism had to be found in this pair of lines written in 1994 by the New York rapper Nas:
"Life's a Bitch/ And Then You Die"
(something like "life is shit and then you go and die").
The new summit in the universal history of disenchantment has just been reached by a 90-second video by Pantomima Full, the tandem of sharpshooters of incisive and “anthropological” humor made up of Alberto Casado (Madrid, 39 years old) and Rober Bodegas (Carballo, A A Coruña, 40 years old).
And he has been designed, of course, in Spain, the world's leading producer of memes, jokes and parodies.
The artifact is titled
and appeared on the networks last Friday, March 24.
Monday dawned with more than 7.8 million views on Twitter, accompanied by almost 1,200 responses, 11,300 retweets, 3,400 citations, 1,600 brands and 40,200 likes.
A viral hit, to be sure, but one not without controversy.
Among the multiple responses, there are those who congratulate Casado y Bodegas for having "embroidered" it, billing a "sublime work of art", a "genial" portrait of black Spain "that today has been dyed gray".
But also who accuses them of "depressing the crowd", of being less funny "than a funeral", of looking at millions of Spaniards "over their shoulders" or of engaging in "pretentious and elitist anti-humor".
It is what it is
Diving between the reactions, most of them affect how accurate, opportune and even “painful” the pantomime is: “What a downer, damn it”.
"You don't know how much I hate you right now."
"Fucking life, tete."
"This is life according to Ramón Tamames".
"I have recognized myself in the couple that you show and I have not liked what I have seen at all."
"You have sunk me on Friday, the remainder of the week and, in general, life."
“OMG what a depressing video.
You have taken a person whose philosophy of life I completely support and you have made me want to shake him to see if he wakes up ”.
Why has the video in question achieved such an impact in record time?
Why has it given rise to a cascade of reflections of wide sociological depth?
What deep springs have you managed to activate in the collective unconscious of a whole legion of Internet users?
"There is no right not to feel offended... and luckily": when Spanish humor ended up in court
Bodegas himself explained in a recent interview that what Casado and he do has ended up being, to a large extent, interactive humor: “As we have to stick to a duration of around one minute, many things are discarded in the editing.
And it's funny, because part of what was discarded is later mentioned in the comments, as if people expanded the videos by adding possibilities that have not been included”.
Everything indicates that this is what has happened on this occasion.
It is the comments of those who have seen the video that have forcefully brought out what it has as a national portrait and who knows if it is generational.
Conformists of today and always
What this daunting subtitled chronicle portrays
There is no reason to live life
It is not the conformism of a lifetime, but rather a very current neoconformism, with important generational nuances.
Its protagonists, a fictional couple in their thirties played by Casado and the guest actress Carmen Romero, live in a place they hate with the excuse that "it has a subway" and, furthermore, "what does it matter, if it's all the same."
They have been together for eight years and are willing to persevere because, for better or worse, they can still put up with each other.
They will have children because they have a nursery nearby and that is what they have to do.
They always go to the same restaurant because "often there is room" and it is not entirely bad.
They spend the summer in a place they already know, which has a beach and a promenade and which they rent from one year to the next, so why ask for more.
In short, a domestic and low profile disappointment.
They have "thrown in the towel of life",
Since seven years ago, Casado and Bodegas have nourished their parodies of more or less modern specimens such as the guru of being around the house, the self-help addict, the pompous and narrow-track entrepreneur, the technophile, the motivated, the obsessed of punctuality, the poor devil who believes he is leading a life as a top executive, the nostalgic, the stalwart of romantic getaways... A wide assortment of recognizable and close minority tribes whose portrait generally arouses complicit laughter.
This time, in a Copernican twist of notable risk, the target of the pantomime focuses on a large tribe.
“The most frequent type of household in 2020 was that made up of couples, with or without children, which accounted for 54% of the total.
Considering the number of children living with the couple, in Spain there were 3.91 million households made up of couples without children, 2.89 million made up of couples with one child and 2.76 million made up of couples with two children”, explained the National Institute of Statistics (INE) in an informative note.
There would fit, presumably at least, that half of Spain that only aspires to a life without surprises.
Those who believe they live in a rather shitty world, but are satisfied with it because they would not be able to distinguish it from any other.
The end of the great aspirational horizons
In the opinion of Jorge Lago, sociologist, editor and professor of Political Science, "until now, Full Pantomime had found a vein in laughing at the illusions and aspirations of the middle class."
This time, they have shocked the country by "firing in a brilliant way, I would say, with their general lack of illusions."
Although he resists elevating the anecdote to a category and "taking the interpretation too far", Lago believes that the video is "sensitive material" because many have recognized themselves in "that slow cancellation of the future that [the philosopher and writer] spoke of." Mark Fisher.
Lago adds that the tendency to resign oneself to very narrow life horizons occurs "when all the great narratives deployed in the past have already entered into crisis, utopias grow old, expire or are distorted and there comes a time when it is easier to imagine the end." of the world than the end of capitalism”.
More than conformism, he detects “a nostalgia for those certainties of the past that have turned out to be false, that are not even seen as exciting, but that provide a paradoxical consolation to get by”.
Lago attributes this way of thinking to "at least a part of those who feel they are survivors of the double Spanish crisis, the economic one of 2008 and the subsequent one of legitimacy and political representation."
Crises: according to the INE,
Alberto Casado and Roberto Bodegas, the duo Pantomime Full.Bernardo Perez
The political scientist, commentator and university professor Pablo Simón shares this analysis: "Pantomima Full hits the nail on the head by offering a parodic portrait of these generations who massively assume that they are going to live worse than their parents."
In his opinion, "this vital conservatism, which is not necessarily political, is the consequence of a generalized loss of faith in collective solutions."
Simón also intuits that the virulence of some reactions “is due to the fact that it is not set in a rural area, but on the outskirts of large cities, which is where the children of the impoverished middle classes and humble classes currently reside, perhaps the ones that have most been taken for granted”.
His pessimistic complacency can also be attributed to the fact that "in Spain, the feasible social changes already took place more than twenty years ago."
The offspring of the working class have already reached the university and emigration from the countryside to the city or from the periphery to the center "has lost its character as a social elevator."
The young and not so young have been left "orphaned with credible expectations of improvement", which is why they aspire to a certain material comfort completely devoid of epic.
Of course, they do not willingly accept being reproached for their supposed apathy: “Among Spaniards under 40 years of age, there is a concurrence of material and cultural concerns.
In other words, they are concerned about housing or work, but also about ecology or feminism.
His attitude is more skeptical than cynical.
I understand that perhaps this is one of the reasons why
has raised blisters among those resigned thirty or forty-year-olds materially who understand that they are portrayed as selfish or apathetic, when they feel that they are not at all”, concludes Simón.
Marga Torre, professor of sociology at the Carlos III University, has not just found empirical data that allows us to speak of a conformist drift among young Spaniards.
She gleaned a lot, she cites "the willingness to work more hours than they work", a possibility that the labor market does not offer them, "and the increase in the number of opponents."
But, more than conformism, she Torre attributes it "to the desire for stability" in an unstable world, that of the persistent economic crisis, the political fracture, the pandemic or the war in Ukraine.
Despite everything, the sociologist insists that focusing the analysis on generational issues is a mistake: "People compare some generations with others and make statements such as that those of today are more conformist or more frustrated, when the reality is that, based on at least in objective data,
The best country to settle for?
It is enough to enter the words “Conformism in Spain” into Google to make findings such as Javier Cuervo's opinion articles.
The journalist from Oviedo wrote on his day about the (unofficial) title often given to Spain as the "best country in the world to live in."
He specifies that ours would rather be "the country in which you are more comfortable", due to "its ferocious unemployment, its precarious work, its low wages and its expensive housing", more than compensated in popular sentiment by "good weather, a lot of beach” and bars with long hours where “sometimes they give you tapas with the beers”.
That band of great country "with which we self-decorate" is based on "a summer vacationer's logic to which we add Erasmus scholarship arguments."
, the sanhedrin of idle netizens, the diagnosis is similar.
The creator of the thread in which he questions the levels of national conformism concludes that the autochthonous philosophy can be summed up in a couple of sentences: “Ande yo caliente y ríase la gente.
A safe little position and here I retire.
But that would come to be the usual patriotic conformism, the castizo, the resignation with roots.
The conformism 2.0 that Pantomima Full describes sinks (at least part of) its roots in the great recession of 2008 and in the residue of resigned melancholy that it has left on Spanish society;
especially about millennials and
It is in that very broad spectrum of those who have spent their entire adult lives trying not to fall into the precariat where Conformista
's disbelieving sarcasm
has found an echo.
Oscar Wilde said that a cynic is one who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Following his reflection, today we could affirm that the newly minted Spanish conformists are those who resign themselves to paying the price they can afford for almost anything, even though deep down they know that it is worthless.
When you stop to contemplate the abyss, the abyss looks at you.
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