Of late, I have had an interesting exchange with my buddy Colin
Davies as to the question whether bullfighters are brave or not. One silly
argument my favourite Scouse brought to bear (but then: are there any other but
silly arguments among bullfighting aficionados?) was that bullfighters must
be courageous since they suffer so many injuries. Look at that: heroism depends
on how many injuries you suffer! That’s new to me. Following that line of
argument, I dare say that disco-going 20-year old boys who drink, drug and
drive of a Saturday night must be the most heroic people of our age, since the
casualties they suffer are considerably higher than those among toreros (1.3 a
year, I believe, with one death every ten years on the average).
Bullfighters, my dear reader, are not courageous. True courage is a
different thing. A truly courageous person (male of female) is a reasonable human
being, who under most normal circumstances will go out of his way to avoid risk
and danger, since his instinct for survival tells him so. But, under special circumstances,
that same person decides willingly and knowingly to put his own survival
instincts on hold, and himself at risk, to the benefit of some higher cause. A
fire fighter is a good example of the admirable breed, but so are many military
folk, whether you like them or not, and nuns that care for victims of a
contagious pestilence in Africa, and… Oh, come on: you do know who and what
truly courageous people are! You don’t need ol’ Al to tell you!
What then are bullfighters? Well: they are reckless. Against all human logic, they put themselves at mortal risk,
so as to seek and cause cheap thrills, harvest applause that the vain of our
species always insatiably crave, and to make a buck. This is not courage, dear reader. It is frivolity, of the same sort that pushes
young people to go bungee jumping. Now, as far as I’m concerned, anybody who
wants to can go jump as many bungees as he or she desires. But no mater how
often you jump the bungee: it is not bravery
we are speaking of, nor would anyone in his right mind think of calling bungee-jumping
Art or Heritage or of protecting it with special EU laws which our enlightened
masters in Brussels gladly extended to their barbaric Mediterranean friends.
All this aside from the fact that the whole of the Circus, or Corrida as it is called, is an exercise
in cowardice. For there is no heroism when a perfectly trained man, who can
predict the beast’s every move, faces an animal who sees the proceedings for
the first and last time in his life and does not know what’s happening to him.
How much heroism did the Emperor Commodus possess, I ask you? The brute fought
in over 700 gladiatorial fights, to the great elation of the beastly crowd, but
care was taken that he always battled inferior opponents who posed no risk to
his life and well-being. They were there to be slaughtered, not to shine.
And that is not even mentioning that everything possible is done –
legally or stealthily - to ensure that the animal will not stand a chance, such
as ‘shaving’ of the horns, which not only reduced the risk of injury but also
seems to have a most detrimental effects on the animal’s aptitude for coordination
and motion; drugging of the bulls and selection on the lowest possible animal
IQ. In fact, as soon as a bull shows signs of understanding the tricks and
becoming a real adversary, he is immediately removed from the arena and
slaughtered in the normal, slaughterhouse way. We would not want our heroic
battle to become a fair fight, would we now??
That wouldn’t be fun. So much
for the fairness of this sh**.
Do bullfighters have balls? Oh, certainly they do; but so, may I
remind you, does the mass killer who walks into a kindergarten with an AK-47,
knowing full well that the police will come and take him out as soon as he
starts killing toddlers. And in both cases, I venture, the world would be a
better place if those balls were surgically removed.