Last Saturday offered us one of those occasionally incongruous spectacles in the world of bullfighting, a moment where the tables were turned and the bull won (WARNING: Pictures found in the link are graphic). Yet despite his success, team human still won the day (no surprise) with a series of quick jabs to the bull while matador Julio Aparicio made his way out of the arena, blood gushing down his chin.
Bullfighting sucks. It's a rigged game where even if the bull wins, he loses. Here are some excerpts from an upcoming column for USA Today on how noxiously this so-called "sport" reeks … all the way from across the pond.
Sometimes it takes a prodigious taste for gore to drive home the obvious: You mess with the bull, you get the horns. That bit of Breakfast Club wisdom was strikingly in evidence over the weekend when Spanish matador Julio Aparicio got himself gored in the throat during a bullfight in Madrid.
Over the weekend, this chin-impaling, jawbone-shattering, tongue-lacerating, palate-piercing wounding was roundly regaled as among the most horrific scenes bullfighting has yet offered its normally blood-comfortable audience.
...And though I can muster some sadness for this man who finds himself in critical condition — more so for his family — I keep being drawn back to the one thought that somehow brings me actual comfort in the wake of this disgusting news: Score one for the bull.
...In Spain and throughout Latin America, much has historically been made of the magnificence of a ritual in which the bull’s grace is glorified and the spectacle of his death offered up as a final touch of melodrama. Ask for an explanation and you’ll get the standard response: The bullfight is undertaken to demonstrate profound respect for all the bull offers. To pay homage to the power and the dignity of the beast … because he's earned his one last chance to fight for his freedom.
And yet for all the majesty and grandeur of the corrida, and a bull’s opportunity to fight in the splendor of the arena, make no mistake … this fight is rigged in more ways than you might imagine.
Gone are the days where the bull that lorded over his field for a decade or more was chosen, Ferdinand-style, to strut his stuff in the arena. He’s now been replaced by a purpose-bred animal whose life behind the scenes as a glorious breeding bull is nothing more than a fiction that survives only because most people don’t know where their food comes from … or because they simply like the idea of bloodied bulls and reckless dudes dressed up like Olympic ice skaters.
The real bulls? They’re few and far between and worth way too much to waste on all but perhaps the superbowl of bullfighting. They spend their days of glory shtupping phantom cows into gloved hands armed with plastic pipettes for maximum semen collectability. The widespread application of artificial insemination (yes, even in tradition-bound Spain) means one bull for every few thousand cows and precious few pastured specimens whose demise deserves extra-grotesque orchestration.
There is no point to bullfighting anymore is what I conclude (if there ever was one). And for those who believe that the sport should be preserved for tradition's sake, here's my recommendation: If they're so dead set on depicting honor and glory, why not make it a fair fight?
At the very least, bullfight devotees with a hankering for a bit of weekend bloodlust should clamor for some simple justice in their sport. If the bull scores, he's spared. Anything less means resorting to stealing a cheap victory for the sake of a bad cut of beef. But then, any way you slice it … bullfighting's pathetic.
Dr. Patty Khuly