In its last two lines, Argentina’s National Anthem sings “coronados de gloria vivamos, o juremos con gloria morir” (Let us live crowned in glory, or swear to die with glory). While these phrases are references to struggles for national independence, in 2023 they have taken on a different meaning: namely, as a way of saluting Argentine victory in whatever competition the day brings. And as of late, locals have seemed to take the task of achieving “glory” as a mandate.
Over the past year, either Argentine individuals or national representatives have won prizes in multiple realms. Just to name a few, a patisserie in Villa Ortuzar won opening of the year, two establishments made the top-ten list of where to eat the best desserts in the world, a bar won an award for best hospitality, a public university made a top-100 ranking and a student from Misiones became one of the 10 finalists of the Global Student Prize.
Argentina has also done well in competitions beyond academics and the service industry, bringing home golden medals in gymnastics, a World Beer Cup, a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and first place in the Mundial del Alfajor — although that’s just cheating.
For local internet users, this has seemingly become so common that it has even spawned the resurgence of a well-known meme to celebrate victories: the image of a kitten with the caption “I wake up, there’s another coronación de gloria.” This kitten lives in a never-ending cycle of sleeping and waking up to discover they’re part of something amazing.
People who grow up and live in Argentina, however, are also saddled with extreme economic difficulties, including jaw-dropping inflation that makes even routine tasks like planning monthly groceries a feat littered with obstacles. If life was like gaming, this would be living in “hard mode.”
With 124.4% YoY inflation, lack of money and resources are staples of everyday life. However, at some point you start to wonder if this might actually be connected to Argentine success in — apparently — every contest in the world. Shortage is an incentive for creativity.
To be clear, this is not about romanticizing poverty. If there were no way out, there would be no place for creativity. This is best explained by Alejandro Grimson, an anthropologist and a specialist in “Argentinity” we reached out to asking for a possible explanation for this phenomenon.
“Creativity doesn’t necessarily flourish in a scenario of abundance or normality where there’s no need for wit and jumble,” he tells the Herald. Grimson insists that this idea is key to understanding how Argentines achieve greatness in the middle of an economic crisis.
Executive director of social and market investigative firm Voices Consultancy, Constanza Cilley has experience analyzing Argentine behavior. From her perspective, people in this country are “very used to moving within difficult, unpredictable, and chaotic situations.”
“This leads people to develop new skills in order to confront new obstacles.”
Cilley stresses how Argentines are used to working under pressure. According to surveys done by Voices Consultancy, even an efficient monthly purchase at the shop can sometimes feel like an odyssey. “When Argentines can perform in more regulated environments, it is common to see them stand out against the most developed countries in the world,” says Cilley.
So whenever you see that cat waking up in glory again, you now know that it’s born out of pride for a new Argentine achievement, but also that the person who won the award probably found that easier than figuring out how to pay rent.