Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011



You know, there's a reason why being a bullfighter is the 'most dangerous job in all of Spain.'  It's because sometimes, the bull wins!!  And that's exactly what happened last Saturday at the FIESTAS DEL PILAR in the city of ZARAGOZA.  As the photo clearly illustrates, the matador, JUAN JOSE PADILLA took the bull's horn directly to his face.  The good news? He survived.  Doctors inserted "titanium plates and mesh to reconstruct the cheek bone structure and the eye socket." The bad news? He'll never see out of his left eye again.  Whew! Well, it looks like lucky JUAN was able to survive...but can the sport of bullfighting?

It's true, for bullfighting fans, the goring couldn't have come at a worse time.  On October First,  a mere six days prior, a law went into effect for the entire region of Catalonia, officially banned the sport forever.  In Barcelona, anti-bullfighting activists staged a rally downtown, while the last bullfight occurred at LA MONUMENTAL, the city's famous bullring.  Fans cried when the last Toro was slain.  It was a sad day for the stadium as well.  After this 'last fight' it closed its doors forever.  It's slated to become an upscale shopping mall.  NOTE: LA MONUMENTAL claimed the noble distinction of being one of the few venues in the world to host both a Beatles and a Rolling Stones concert. 

With these two sudden events, people all over the Iberian Peninsula are forced to ask themselves a tough question: Is bullfighting really a necessary part of Spanish culture?  Many feel it is.  After all, it is older than just about anything else in Spain.  It took two centuries for the Roman armies to kill every last one of the indigenous people of Hispania, who left only their name.  So when the settlers from Italy came to the 'Plain of Spain' in 17 BC, it was completely empty.   And the first thing those zany Romans did was build aqueducts for water and stadiums for gladiator battles.  (Afterward, they constructed their own homes, stores, schools, etc.)  Many of the bullrings of today are built on these ancient locations.

On the other hand, bullfighting is pretty darn gross and gory...feel free to visit the PETA website for all disgusting images and alarming stats.  They also admonish the argument of it being a 'historical icon.'  Let's face it, other insanely violent Spanish traditions...like torturing Jews during the Inquisition, or burning Aztecs at the stake...have become things of the past.  Why not bullfighting?  Statistics back up this argument.  Attendance is down 33% for bullfights over the last three years.  Polls conducted in Spain reveal that only 20% of the population 'strongly support' the tradition, but a whopping 50% want bullfighting banned permanently.

But opinion polls won't close down the bullrings.  So...for the time being...Spain is still hanging on to the proud tradition of bullfighting. There were 1,700 fights last year and each time the bull lost.  Talk about excitement!

1 comment:

  1. Bullfighting dead? Yeah right. Just come on out to Turlock if you want to see some.