Sunday, June 6, 2010
I saw a bullfight once, in Barcelona. I went with a group of German architecture students. They all bought seats in the cheapest area -- I paid extra to sit down with the elderly Spanish men, and took my sketchbook. I really wanted to see what it was like. There were six bulls, as usual. The first bull came out angry, charging, and took down a picador with his horse. But he had no chance -- a bullfight is really no fight at all, just elegant slaughter, as the bull is at first bled out by picadors and banderilleros, and then finally murdered by the matador with a lights-out thrust to the neck. There is a lot of blood as the bull is lanced; his body is drenched in red, and he's staggering and slowed by the time the matador appears. You don't want a man to die, but it seems unfair. This fight proceeded as expected, and ended with more blood in the ring, as the bull's body was dragged out across the sand.
The architecture students were all green, nauseated, and heading for the exit; I grabbed a sausage, and went back down to watch the rest of the corrida, a bit unsettled because I was in a sense fascinated rather than viscerally repelled.
I don't think I have anything fundamentally new to say about the ritualized killing of bulls for pleasure. I have my own feelings, which tend to favor the primitive and passionate, and I see the corrida as part of an essential human wildness, and I like that. But I also have nothing but sympathy for the bloodied beast, teased into mindless rage, murdered for the pleasure of the crowd. The corrida drags me in both directions at once, holds me suspended in pity, rage, and pleasure, with no clear exit...
Posted by mrc at 7:56 PM