with slow-motion instant replay. I wasnsurprised not to find the spectaclenmore disturbing. In fact it was riveting.nIt has been remarked that a bullfight isnnot a sport but a tragedy. (All right, sonI’ve been reading Death in the Afternoon.nIt makes a lot more sense now.)nAnyway, the next Sunday eveningnfound my daughter and me at thenplaza de tows, me bareheaded lest anDurham baseball cap that said “Bulls”nbe thought in poor taste. In a little overntwo hours we saw six bulls dispatchednwith varying degrees of artistry. So farnas I know, no one has ever proposed tondo vasectomies instead, but that couldnbe a heck of a show, too.nAs I say, we knew we were in Spain.nBut we were also constantly remindednthat we were in Catalonia, and thendistinction Catalans often make betweennthe Spanish “state” and thenCatalan “nation” is easily and sympatheticallyngrasped by someone from anplace where caps and bumper stickersnsay “American by birth / Southern bynthe grace of God.”nWant a quick tour of Barcelona?nWalk away from the harbor that oncenserved Romans and Phoenicians. Youncome first to the medieval “GothicnQuarter” around the cathedral, then tonspacious neighborhoods of boulevardsnand cafes that feel like Paris without thentourists, finally to execrable high-risenworker-warrens that should merely benpassed through as quickly as possible —nwhich is usually not quickly at all, givennthe gruesome traffic. Moses Hadasnremarked once that “a subject people’snonly glories are departed ones” andnCatalonia’s cultural high-water marksncame in the 12th century and in thenfirst third of this one, which makes fornsome fine Romanesque and art nouveaunarchitecture.nThe most famous building, ofncourse, almost the city’s signature, isnGaudi’s unfinished sand-castle churchnof Sagrada Familia. Its original planncalls for a sculptured devil in the formnof a serpent, handing a bomb to annanarchist worker. Gaudi was an earlynvictim of the Barcelona traffic, runndown by a tram before he lived to seenthe Civil War, but he knew an enemynwhen he saw one. In the cloister of thenold cathedral is a chapel dedicated ton930 priests, monks, and nuns of thendiocese murdered in that war, many bynanarchists. (If those killed by the Na­n42/CHRONICLESntionalists have a memorial now I didn’tnsee it.)nAfter the war, Catalan autonomistnsentiment was vigorously suppressednby the Franco regime. In particular,nthe Catalan language was expungednfrom the schools and public life. SincenFranco’s death, however, restrictionsnon Catalan have gone the way of bikinintops on the Costa Brava. Now CastiliannSpanish has little more standing innCatalonia than English does in Quebec.nA tourist can get along pretty wellnwith Castilian only because most waitersnand hotel staffs seem to be Spanishspeakingnmigrants from the impoverishednSouth; as one moves up theneconomic ladder Barcelonans tendnmore and more to be bilingual, andnsome refuse to speak Castilian on principle.nNewcomers are encouraged tonlearn Catalan, and to all appearancesnare fully accepted once they’ve donenso. Road signs are provided in bothnCatalan and Castilian, but the Castiliannhas often been effaced by languagenvigilantes with spray paint. Meanwhilenthe Catalan flag of four red stripes on anyellow field, representing the bloodynfingerprints of a national hero, is everywhere.nElsewhere (across the French bordernin “Occitania,” for instance) the typicalnseparatist is usually a member of thenpetit-intelligentsia who dreams of beingnminister of culture or ambassadornto the Court of St. James’s instead ofnsenior lecturer in sociology at a provincialnuniversity. But Catalan nationalism’snappeal is both broader and deeper.nThe major nationalist party isnheaded by a banker. That may help tonexplain why Catalans, who can benunreliable Spaniards, seem to be goodnEuropeans. As it’s usually presented,n”Europe” strikes me as an idea thatnonly a chamber of commerce couldnlove, but Barcelona has always been anbourgeois city of merchants and manufacturers,nmany of whom would prefernto think of their town as a majornEuropean metropolis rather than thensecond city of Spain.nIn other quarters, I suspect, thenappeal of “Europe” is that it mayneventually make Spain obsolete.nThere’s an image lurking about of thenNew Europe as a loose confederationnof communities: Catalans, Flemings,nBretons, Alsatians, Basques, Occitans,nWelsh — in time maybe Croats, Vlachs,nnnLapps, Ukrainians, who knows? Thisnvision of all the old, suppressed, organicnnations rising up, shaking free of thenartificial strictures of states, becomingnfully themselves — this pluralistic visionnconflicts with the ambitions of thenEurocrats in Strasbourg, but it’s a lovely,nromantic idea, and I wish it well. Itnreminds me of The Napoleon ofnNotting Hill, when the king gives eachndistrict of London its independence.nPointing to “old inviolate NottingnHill,” he says: “Look up nightly to thatnpeak, my child, where it lifts itselfnamong the stars so ancient, so lonely,nso unutterably Notting.”nJohn Shelton Reed writes from ChapelnHill, North Carolina, where he is anprofessor of sociology at a provincialnuniversity.nLetter From thenHeartlandnby Jane GreernMake a Joyful Noise.nAwomen.nTwo years ago, because it felt inevitablenand right, I took the happy leap of faithnthat I had been approaching for yearsnand became a Catholic. The reasonsnwhy are perhaps fodder for anothernletter at another time. Let me just saynhere and now that current church musicnand liturgy were not among the compellingnforces.nNot that mackerel-snappers arenworse in those respects than any otherndenomination — but that’s my point.nThey sound just like any other denomination,nand all of them are pretty lamenthese days when it comes to the gloriousnpossibilities of the sung Englishnlanguage as a path to the salvation ofnthe soul. I expected more from thenchurch that spawned Palestrina, thenchurch in which Christ’s presence innthe Eucharist is not considered merelynsymbolic. (As Flannery O’Connornsaid, if it’s just a symbol, then to Hellnwith it.) I expected more from thenchurch that gave rise, literally, to thengreat cathedrals and can trace its popesndirectly back to the day when Christncommissioned Peter. In short, I expect-n