Publicitat
Publicitat

Matadors

The idea is for a man with bulging bits --they wear some sort of tight, sequined leggings-- to stand on the tip of his toes, tighten his backside and stick several efficacious knives into a ruminant’s vital body parts until the beast --after much confusion, agony, pain, rage and going round in circles-- kneels down and dies. Prior to that --and much to the delight of the mantilla-wearing ladies in attendance--, the matador has had to stupefy and daze the bull. If the executioner does a good job of killing the poor beast, some workmen will present him with the animal’s ear, which they will have cut off with a knife. If he truly excels at it, then he will get its tail, too. This is “la fiesta nacional española” (the Spanish for “Spain’s national fiesta”). The spectacle of “las corridas de toros” (bullfighting). Nowhere else in the world do they torture a beast with such methodical merriment.

The government of the Kingdom of Spain has recently agreed that this practice should be recognised as part of “mankind’s intangible heritage”. Therefore, they feel that it is their job to “guarantee bullfighting in Catalonia, as we must ensure that everyone can access culture freely”. The Catalan government had previously banned this practice in Catalonia.

There is nothing like the ritual of a bull’s death in a public ring to remind me of the evils of nationalism, the kind of nationalism that stops you from being rational. “It will hurt me worse than it’ll hurt you”, claim those who hit or kill. But nothing beats having a small child who, untainted by such prejudices, still manages to ask the right sort of eye-opening questions. “What are they going to do to that bull?”, my daughter asks. “Why are they hurting him?” Why don’t you reply that they aren’t, that the beast does not suffer, that he was born to this end and he enjoys it. Tell her about culture, about intangible heritage. Go on, sheriff, tell her over dinner; let’s see if she can understand you. The clock’s ticking away.