Barcelona appears in one in twenty of the 4,100 issues published by the magazine since 1925. Some of the most noteworthy articles, when considered together, offer a clear vision of the phases the city has been through.
Magazines produced in New York are a window onto the cosmopolitan world that North-American laws and customs seek to express. Barcelona’s presence in ‘The New Yorker’ began in 1935, with a description of the Carnival which foreshadows Post-Civil War morality, clashing abruptly with the ‘joie de vivre’ of the Second Republic, still in power at that time.
The article by Marya Mannes, published in 1944, is a war article. The Allies had landed in Normandy six months previously and Paris was liberated in August. The implicit question is whether crossing the Pyrenees with the Allied army is an advisable undertaking.
The articles of the Fifties depict a defeated and vulgar country, whose only saving grace is its Mediterranean exoticism. They crystallise the myth of the Barcelona good life, driven by disorder, heat, the bohemian lifestyle, unpunctuality, sex and, in general, a laid-back, dirty and cultureless ‘carpe diem’. There is an underlying sadness, silence.
On the occasion of the Olympic Games, the magazine published another leading article about Catalonia. Barcelona is portrayed as rooted in consumerism, a paradigm of the late-capitalist welfare society. The law of resetting memory yields its fruits, but ends up being confused with reality.