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Wednesday, July 13, 2016


A bull fighter died last weekend... gored to death by the bull.  Scenes of a bull being killed by a matador would not have interested me, but there was something about a primitive desire for revenge that motivated me to google the videos.

The first ones were of the running of the bulls in Pamplona... a three minute stampede of 6 bulls where people measure their defiance of death by how close they come to the ten tons of angry beast hurtling by.  Some get a vicarious thrill standing on balconies above the street.  Others run into alleyways or press against the doorways.  There were 15 injuries.  The worst: two who were upended unceremoniously and landed on their heads.  One bull turned into an alleyway and gored the few who, I guess, thought they'd be safe.

The way I see it, dashing across the 12 lanes of the 401 in Pickering at noon would be just about as death-defying and dumb.  Only the centuries-old tradition would be lacking.

The bull fight was much more sinister. First the bull was taunted and teased.  The matador, with chest puffed and shoulders back, stood like a peacock in heat behind his magenta cape.  He egged the bull into a charge, and got the beast to whiz by as close as possible while avoiding being stabbed.  He did this a few times and then lowered the cape which confuses the bull, turned his back and strutted away as if fearless of a charge from behind.  Then he got on his knees and repeated the ritual, making a fool of the noble beast and of himself: little more than a schoolyard bully.

Then came the real torturing of the bull, with picadors to weaken his haunches with lances so he couldn't raise his head, and banderilleros who snuck up on his blind side, pierced him with spears, and pranced away.

Then the matador returned for a few more passes before the applying the sword which would come from above, between the horns, slice alongside the backbone and pierce to the heart.  Except this time the wrong character in this lurid drama was killed.  I watched it from several angles.  Instead of standing straight and tall as the bull circled him, he bent his knee and it got caught in the bull's horn.  Down he went and the bull stabbed him in the heart.

In seconds they were there to distract away the bull and surround the dying man.  After that there were no pictures of the victor in this medieval debacle.  The bull was killed off camera.  Maybe shot, maybe stabbed, we don't know.  But what we know is the bull is doomed... doomed from the day it is born... doomed from the moment it is pushed out onto the street to the moment the fight is over.  Victim or victor, it is doomed to die.  My desire for revenge was hollow.