Even Fascists need some vacation time

Conrad Yiridoe

With this week’s reading, the focus mainly on fascism though the emphasis on the “less popular” Spanish regime vs. the more well known Germany regime was interesting and engaging to contrast. With regards to both countries, it was surprising to discover how deep the concept of vacation and tourism was present as a strategy from both regimes to continue to strengthen their reign via public support, via engaging as many as they could. In Crumbaugh’s take (in Prosperity and Freedom under Franco The Grand Invention of Tourism), they start off by describing a film which serves to summarise the regime’s overall goal in an entertaining way. By showing how two “commoners” were able to make their way through the system in order to achieve success through the inspiration of establishing an enjoyable tourist attraction (by the help of the Spanish government of course) was a charming way with which to spin what was by no question an attempt at strengthening the regime’s undemocratic hold on the country. The pride with which not only the two characters in the film, but a significant amount of the population had in general towards their booming economy, spearheaded by this touristic focus, can perhaps be best described by the fact that “they could now play a leading role in the administering and marketing of something understood as “Spanish culture. In other words, the spectacle of tourism effectively enjoined people to being to govern themselves and others.” To me, this speaks of a success of sorts by Franco and his regime to inject a significant amount of nationalistic pride into the population in a rather nuanced manner.

As well, based on the short film by Vox, they were able to demonstrate quite candidly to what extent the lust for a return of the previous fascist time continues even today, quite unabashedly.  The aspect that surprised me the most, was the degree to which this “Spanish fascism” preference is not simply kept within borders, but continues to attract a number of persons from the international scene (with the Dutch man being interviewed doing a excellent job of conveying his adoration for Franco and the regime).

This incredible swelling of pride over the vacationing was also explained in Germany (with Baranowski’s longer piece), though the portions of the chapter dedicated to the perceptions of women were surprising and disappointing to say the least. The seemingly hypocritical approach of the various agents when describing the women as borderline traitors to the state was sickening with quotes such as “whether tactlessly chatting with foreigners without regard for national security, flirting with their male hosts or succumbing outright to sexual temptation, especially after abandoning all propriety to alcohol, the brazenness and witlessness of women endangered the racial community.”  It also wasn’t as present to the same extent in Crumbaugh’s description of Spain as well, which was surprising.

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