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[P]
Corredor

By Kragg in Culture
Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 10:56:29 AM EST
Tags: Focus On... (all tags)
Focus On...

Pamplona is a small and decent Catholic town in northern Spain. Small twisty streets, sharp hills, tall houses with balconies sprouting from every available space. Perhaps more bars than you would expect, given its population.

Every year on the 6th of July, the Fiesta de San Fermín begins. Tourists flood in and fill every inch of hotel space and street space. Every single person in the entire town dresses completely in white, with a red belt and maybe a red sash. The opening ceremony is chaos on a grand scale; tradition dictates that at lunch time, everybody must pop their bottles of cheap champagne and spray them at every person within range. Eggs are brought out and chucked left right and centre, flour rains down from the balconies over the streets. Within an hour everybody is a sticky, soggy mess, and the dancing and drinking has started.


It doesn't stop for the next seven days. It's not a holiday, it's an ordeal. Picture a day of proper drinking, involving at the very least, tens of beers, countless cups of cheap wine and inevitably a few different spirits. Now make it start at ten minutes past eight each morning, and continue until the early hours. For the next seven days in a row.

The reason for the early start, and the reason why the festival is famous worldwide, is the encierro, the bull run. 825 metres of street through the centre of the town are cordoned off and swept clean at about 7am. At 8am, six bulls are released from their pen at one end of the course, and run along the streets to the other end, the bull ring, where they're gathered and shut up again until the afternoon fight. In front of, behind, to the sides of, and underneath the six bulls, are the thousands of Spanish, British, Australians, Germans, and every other nationality, all proving their bravery to their girlfriends and themselves.

If you're lucky enough to know somebody who lives in one of the houses along the run (which are highly sought after and enormously expensive), then you get there early, maybe have some orange juice for breakfast, and step out of the door into the street at 1 minute to eight.

If you're not that lucky then you go to the town square, in front of the mayor's house, before 7:30 when it is closed off. In the square, you become part of the crushing ocean of humanity, pushed in any direction without control, taken by the tide of people. You drown in the noise. You can see fear in half of the faces around you, and you can see alcohol in the other half. People are seeing the fear in yours.

At five to eight, everybody turns to the tiny statue of San Fermin embedded in the wall on one side of the square, and with rolled up papers held in the air, sings:

A San Fermín pedimos,
por ser nuestro Patron,
nos guie en el encierro,
dandonos su bendicion.

San Fermín we ask,
For he's our patron,
Guide us in the run,
Give us your blessing.

Then they shout 'Viva! Gora!' - 'Long Live' in Spanish and in Basque.

The buzz of the crowd gets louder, people start trying to jump up and down on the spot (which doesn't work because it's too crowded), excited and scared, they reflect each other's fear and build themselves into a frenzy. Finally the officials open the barriers surrounding two sides of the square, freeing the crowd into the rest of the run. All the Australians immediately run away from where they know the bulls will come from (If they're fast, they arrive in the ring and jump the barriers to safety before the bulls have even been released. The Spanish have a special name for them essentially meaning 'brave ones').

The rest of the runners spread out up and down the course, going to their own territory. The nutters head onto the steep slope between the square and the bull pen, where most of the deaths and injuries occur. A good place to go is the halfway point of Estafeta street, a couple of hundred metres from the ring. Estafeta is the longest straight on the run, from half way you can see 50 or 60 metres back down the street to the left hand corner that leads back to the town square. From Estafeta, the course continues to Telefonica where it widens out briefly before funnelling into the tunnel of death, the 10 foot wide tunnel leading into the Plaza de Toros.

And there you wait. It only takes a minute to get there, so there are still three or four minutes left until the bulls are released, and then anything from 30 seconds to 3 minutes before they come into view. Waiting there, you stretch and jump up and down on the spot, trying to warm up and keep the panic under control. A steady stream of red and white flows past you. Often, you'll see someone you know in the crowd. You pat each other roughly and say 'Suerte', 'Suertu, hombre,' meaning good luck. After the initial recognition, your eyes probably don't meet.

At eight on the dot, the first rocket is fired. You can hear it even if you're still in bed with a hangover on the other side of town. The first rocket means the bull pen has been opened. The crowd shouts. The flow of people speeds up. Your jumping on the spot doubles in energy. A second rocket follows quickly, meaning all the bulls have left the pen.

The flow of people gets thicker. It's amazing how many people go past you. People fall over each other and dodge around each other. Most are shouting, some are laughing.

And then, above and all around, camera flashes start to go off from the balconies. A surge runs through the crowd. The adrenalin flooding your system takes a sickening leap, because you know that means the bulls are at the corner. At the top of your jump, you can see the whips of the herders above the heads of the crowd, and just ahead of them, the gap in the mass of heads. You start to run, slowly at first, running sideways on with one hand held out in front, the other holding your newspaper behind, looking both forwards and back as you go.

Sometimes you don't even start to run, you wait too long and the bulls are past you before you're ready. Sometimes you fall over somebody else and cower on the floor with your hands over your head until it quietens down around you, then scuttle off to a doorway at the side of the road, hoping you're out of harm's way. Sometimes you leap the barriers at the side to escape the run. The Spanish don't like you to do that, though, and they will push you back into the street if they can.

But sometimes you get it. You're at full speed, the way ahead is clear, and then a bull is there behind you. A giant, sweating, 600 kilo death machine, travelling along the street with you. By this point the bulls are sometimes beginning to tire and run slower, matching the pace of their new found red and white herd. If you're very lucky you can run just ahead of your bull for a stretch of 20 metres or more, holding your paper out to him as a kind of talisman, a wand of control that stops him from speeding up and putting his horns through your body. And then he's past you.

You don't relax. There are six bulls and a number of cows. You can't count them, you never see them all. Often, the herd forms two separate groups, or one splits off from the rest and stops, confused, then spends a minute going for anyone and everyone nearby, before being coaxed into continuing along the run. The split-off bulls can be the most dangerous because they have no herd to follow - all alone they get scared, and they react with aggression.

After the first bull or two have passed you, if you're close enough to the ring you go for it and shove your way through the tunnel of death and out onto the sand with a fair crowd around you sitting in the amphitheatre seats watching the fun. You can jump the barrier then, and join them to watch the rest of the people and the bulls surge into the ring. If you're not close enough to the tunnel, you stop where you are and pant exhausted on the spot, still looking forwards and back in case you get another bull to run.

Eventually, the third rocket sounds, telling you that all the bulls are safely caged. That's when your brain starts to work again. Your run's over and you survived. If you're scratched up you go to the red cross station and get iodined. Otherwise, you head to your bar, and wait for the people you know to come together there. You laugh and shout about your run, hardly listening to anyone else. The feeling then, if you had a good run, is the purest kind of elation - the joy of having faced death in a physical challenge and come through on the far side. Even if it was a bad run, at least you're still standing. Really deep breaths of the fresh air, relief, and sheer exhilaration.

Together you wait for the bar to open, and have a coffee and a brandy. Maybe two brandies. Maybe a pacharan or a vanilla cognac. Your heartbeat starting to calm down, you disect and analyse the run together and work out what you did wrong and how to do better tomorrow. Later on in the day, the photos of the run come out and if you're lucky you find yourself in a picture in the paper. You drink and dance the day away.

Then tomorrow you do it again.

I first ran in Pamplona when I was 15. I haven't been for 5 years. I just booked my flight and my hands are sweating like a bitch.

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Poll
Would you do it?
o Done it 2%
o Yeah, I'd do it 36%
o You must be joking 62%

Votes: 50
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Fiesta de San Fermín
o 825 metres of street
o sings
o Also by Kragg


Display: Sort:
Corredor | 100 comments (84 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
But WHY?? (4.14 / 7) (#4)
by coderlemming on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 02:14:05 AM EST

Your description is pretty detailed, but after reading it, the question still remains in my mind: WHY do people do this?  I can't even remotely identify with this elation you describe.  So you've placed yourself in danger doing something idiotic and you survived, congrats.  I've never understood why in the world people do this.

By the way, just how many people die or get seriously injured?


--
Go be impersonally used as an organic semen collector!  (porkchop_d_clown)

enough to keep it interesting :) (none / 0) (#11)
by Kragg on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 03:25:02 AM EST

I think it was 6 people died last year (in 7 runs), and about 200 injuries. It's never much worse than that.

Also, the vast majority of the injuries are the drunk up-all-night runners. That's just stupid.

I had a friend who took a tumble in the first or second run one year after being out all night. He spent the rest of the holiday being known as 'el hombre invisiblo' due to the bandages...
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]

read his .sig to find out why (n/t) (none / 0) (#66)
by YelM3 on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 09:35:53 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Why? Maybe is the Handicap Principle (none / 0) (#69)
by fernipu on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 11:56:33 PM EST

Interesting stuff http://octavia.zoology.washington.edu/handicap/handicap_principle.html

[ Parent ]
i am also a smoker (nt) (none / 0) (#70)
by Kragg on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 01:37:00 AM EST


--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]
Yeah, that applies, too (none / 0) (#77)
by fernipu on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 12:43:12 PM EST

Many people started smoking just to be seen as grown-ups by their mates (specially females).

[ Parent ]
I'll stick to snowboarding and parrot keeping. (3.83 / 6) (#5)
by NFW on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 02:15:28 AM EST

Because getting air is enough fun for me, and nobody ever got trampled by a parrot.

I really enjoyed the article though. +1FP if you heed the editorial suggestions, +1SP if you don't.


--
Got birds?


So yeah (1.45 / 24) (#12)
by BankofAmerica ATM on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 03:34:51 AM EST

There I was, buying fucking ramen noodles. I was poor, broke, and needed sodium filled packaged meals to help me survive. There I saw it. A nice sized malt liquor bottle. No one was looking, so I quickly put it in my coat pocket (mind you this one was huge). It was a Hurricane malt liquor, the shit you drink in college on a budget. Oh man, I felt the adrenaline going as I bought the ramen and walked out with the free malt liquor. It's similar to the adrenaline a US soldier feels when he shoots a colored person, killing them with a small movement of the finger. But this day, the soldier will die. A ninja attacks him, disarms him, and challenges him to fight hand to hand. The soldier yells "HAHA, YOU WILL BE PANCAKE!" The ninja punchs him in the solar plexus, knocking the wind out him. The soldier is fucking pissed, he realizes in his mind OMG!@ A FUCKING GOOK TOOK ME DOWN!. So he gets back up, charges him, and tries to tackle him, but the ninja sidesteps him, while kicking him in the gut. The imperialist falls to the ground, and the ninja stomps him in the face. Anyway, that just goes to show you that when the imperialists finally find their way to the Ninja Corridor of Asia (all part of their "fight against terrorism", which is really a move by Project Faustus to enslave more colored people to work in their digital cotton fields), they will get their asses kicked. Oh yeah, and no ninjas will be pancaked.

STOP PROJECT FAUSTUS!

sorry, did i forget to mention iraq? (nt) (1.33 / 3) (#13)
by Kragg on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 03:39:25 AM EST


--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]
IN SOVIET GEORGIA (1.16 / 6) (#14)
by BankofAmerica ATM on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 03:44:19 AM EST

IRAQ MENTIONS <U>CORRUPTION</U>!

STOP PROJECT FAUSTUS!
[ Parent ]

+! FP (4.25 / 8) (#18)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 06:09:56 AM EST

GREAT SHIT

we need more of this kind of stuff: culturally bent and focused on some place besides a suburban mall, first person and personal

thank you author, thank you

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Whoa, new rating system! (nt) (4.75 / 4) (#22)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 08:23:51 AM EST



---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
+1FP! (4.33 / 3) (#20)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 08:06:06 AM EST

Bloody hell! Man, you and all those other people are NUTS!!!!!

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה

-1 (2.55 / 9) (#21)
by jeroenb on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 08:23:16 AM EST

Sorry but I really can't vote +1 on an article glorifying intense stupidity. Then again, perhaps I should reconsider most of my article votes in the past here hmmhmhmm...

Anyway, those bulls could get hurt. People get killed and hurt. Doctors and medical staff get extra work because a bunch of idiots need a rush. Am I missing something?

--
"The mouse, I've been sure for years, limps home from the site of the burning ferris wheel with a brand-new, airtight plan for killing the cat." -J.D. Salinger

Yes... (5.00 / 4) (#23)
by gilrain on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 08:25:31 AM EST

You're missing that the article is interesting, well written, and exposing you to a niche of culture which you were unaware of.

[ Parent ]
1 out of 3 (none / 0) (#25)
by jeroenb on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 08:32:13 AM EST

Because it's not interesting to me at least. Also, I'm fully aware of these happenings, I see them on the news here every year.

It is however, well written, but that's not an argument for voting it up in itself.

--
"The mouse, I've been sure for years, limps home from the site of the burning ferris wheel with a brand-new, airtight plan for killing the cat." -J.D. Salinger
[ Parent ]

actually, it is... (none / 0) (#28)
by Swashbuckler on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 09:29:23 AM EST

you embody that which I fear and detest the most: the tragedy of the commons. But I can't blame you for inevitability, can I?


*Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
[ Parent ]
What the (4.00 / 2) (#29)
by jeroenb on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 09:38:56 AM EST

hell are you on about? I should vote this up because it's a beautifully written piece about the most braindead thing a person could possibly do? Then followed by some traditional brutality and cheered upon by everyone?

I don't think people understand that entering into such an event is what keeps these things going and makes them part of it. But perhaps they don't care. Now that's detestable.

--
"The mouse, I've been sure for years, limps home from the site of the burning ferris wheel with a brand-new, airtight plan for killing the cat." -J.D. Salinger
[ Parent ]

ok, fair enough (4.33 / 3) (#30)
by Swashbuckler on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 09:58:28 AM EST

But, I think this event is something that teaches us a little something about human behaviour. Yes - you are right - it is a mass-amount of stupidity, but its *human* stupidity. Please don't take this personally, but I think its also human stupidity that leads us to repression - on a societal an individual level. And your decision to vote this down because it's about human stupidity is just stupid. People hate environmentalists because they teach us about how dumb we all are. But what is more dumb: ignoring the clues that might teach us something about ourselves (clues like the bull run) or participating it the run itself? Tomorrow is Canada day. I live in Ottawa. Tomorrow, the same kind of event will take place here: People will get really drunk and congregate to do stupid things - this event is nationally endorsed. In fact, if you don't participate in the stupidity of it all, you are deemed an outcast. Furthermore, every one gets mad at those of us who point out the stupidity of it all - your comment reminded me of that kind of behaviour. That's all I was getting at.


*Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
[ Parent ]
Messed up the answer :D (none / 0) (#39)
by jeroenb on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 11:11:23 AM EST

It's here.

--
"The mouse, I've been sure for years, limps home from the site of the burning ferris wheel with a brand-new, airtight plan for killing the cat." -J.D. Salinger
[ Parent ]
guy.. (none / 0) (#41)
by trener on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 11:35:37 AM EST

relax. it's fun. americans do a lot of stupid shit, too. (see: xtreme sports)

and even if you don't enjoy that kind of a rush, yourself, it doesn't mean that the people that do are idiots. quit being so fucking condescending.

if anything, this article made me want to run, not for the run itself, but because of the camaraderie between you and the other runners. the parties after must be incredible; that combination of adrenaline, fear, sweat, alcohol and friends.

[ Parent ]
sorry.. (none / 0) (#42)
by trener on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 11:39:24 AM EST

i thought i'd edited it to say 'westerners' or something less america-centric. with my luck, you'll be canadian or french or something and go on some all-americans-are-stupid rant (which is something i indulge in from time to time, too). regardless, every culture gets into its own little fits of stupidity, in some way or other.

[ Parent ]
that combination (5.00 / 1) (#45)
by Swashbuckler on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 12:16:01 PM EST

that combination of adrenaline, fear, sweat, alcohol and friends

That combination reminds me of fascism.

Now, I know I'm going to get a whole bunch of, "WTF are you talking about," questions. So, I'll ruin my perfectly elegant, one-line response with an explanation (which I feel is the equivalent to explaining a joke that no one laughed at).

If you look up the term, "fascism," in the dictionary, you get this definition. Boring.

The "culture" of fascism, for lack of a better word, is much more interesting: It's "jockular." To get a sense of this culture, just watch Hockey Night in Canada - or better yet - go stand outside of a stadium after the home team wins the Stanley Cup (sorry hockey fans - the sport has become predominantly fascist in its spirit).

How does this "culture" relate to fascism?

Well, the idea began with a very simplistic notion: if I beat you to a pulp, I win. It's not very complex. Fascism, however, is much more complex. It's the popularization of "thug life."

First, it became sexualized:

that combination of adrenaline, fear, sweat, alcohol and friends


You can identify the sexual connotation. Then, it became popularized:

Note the remarking similarity between (1) the bull fight story, (2) National Celebrations (tomorrow is Canada Day and I will once again retreat from my home in the Nation's Capital), (3) Hockey Fans at a big game, (4) the films of Leni Riefenstah], in particular, The Triumph of the Will.

In many ways, violant sports and other forms of popular culture (like carnvals and bull runs) are all part of fascist politcs. Down with fascism!


*Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
[ Parent ]
whoa. (none / 0) (#54)
by trener on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 01:23:45 PM EST

easy there, big guy. deep breath.
so, what are you suggesting, exactly? that we outlaw hockey, bull runs, and national celebrations in an effort to prevent fascism?

good call. i'm with you.

i'll be your minister of cultural suppression. i suppose we'd need to make my title a bit more palatable, but we have plenty of time to work on that. maybe we can work something out about the 'jewish problem,' too.

[ Parent ]
mass culture is the anti-culture (4.33 / 3) (#55)
by Swashbuckler on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 01:51:33 PM EST

Popular culture is a paradox.

On the one hand, its the culture of the people (or, as K5'ers might prefer, "from the trenches"). On the other hand, its the MTV type of commercial culture. Or it's "culture" in the sense that I have used it in speaking about fascism. The "cultural make-up" if you will.

The paradox is this: The former type of culture (from the trenches) is always a form of resistance against dictatorship; the latter type of culture is most often a form of socio-political control. It can, however, be a type of resistance.

As citizens (and not labourers and consumers), our job is to identify and resist cultures of control. It's reverse hegemony. I'm not against hockey, per se. I'm against how violent the sport of Hockey has become (for example, Greztky would not be as good if he played today because the sport is no longer about puck-handling and fidelity but cross-checking and player-size - why? because knock'em, sock'em hockey sells more tickets than "good" hockey). Nor am I against Canada Day, per se. I'm against the way we celebrate it. It's no coincidence that Canada Day is good fro the economy, btw. So, I'm just saying that you are defending bull runs for the wrong reason. Don't get caught into "amusing yourself to death."

P.S. There's a big difference between being against Nationalism/violent sports and saying, "down with the Jews." Please don't put words in my mouth.




*Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
[ Parent ]
etc, etc... (4.00 / 1) (#57)
by trener on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 02:23:26 PM EST

our job is to identify and resist cultures of control.

no it's not. maybe you've decided that it's your job, but please don't tell me what my job is.

P.S. There's a big difference between being against Nationalism/violent sports and saying, "down with the Jews." Please don't put words in my mouth.

there's a big difference between enjoying camaraderie born of sharing a dangerous experience and tacitly supporting fascism.

fact is, you're one of those kids that has read a few books about fascism and its causes, has gotten really excited about his own 'unique' perspective, and really wants to read into everything from that perspective.

relax. maybe canada day, hockey and bull runs are cultures of control, but if the choice is between being 'controlled' and enjoying a dangerous event, vs. being 'free' and not having access to that kind of entertainment, then fuck it, i choose to be controlled.

IHBT.

[ Parent ]
if ignorance is your elixir... (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by Swashbuckler on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 02:52:59 PM EST

...than get off this site and go read CNN. You will enjoy it much much more.

1 - I said that our job as citizens is to resist cultures of control. If you want to relenquish your citizenship, by all means do so. I wasn't ordering you to do anything jack-ass.

2 -

there's a big difference between enjoying camaraderie born of sharing a dangerous experience and tacitly supporting fascism.

No there isn't. I said that fascism is not only a kind of politcal system but a culture of sorts. That means that if you are a victim to it, you aren't aware of it - that't how hegemony works. In other words, there political significance to everyday life.

PS - what makes you think I'm a guy you androcentric a-hole




*Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
[ Parent ]
okay, groovy, so... (none / 0) (#60)
by trener on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 03:16:53 PM EST

who decides what a citizen's job is? you?
because, like, i haven't read any laws that say that it's my job to resist cultures of control. please provide links, kthx!

me: there's a big difference between enjoying camaraderie born of sharing a dangerous experience and tacitly supporting fascism.

you: No there isn't.


so, then, you're saying that anyone that enjoys dangerous experiences is supporting fascism? CLARIFICATION NEEDED!@!!!! k thx.

[ Parent ]
citizenship (5.00 / 1) (#65)
by Swashbuckler on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 09:17:38 PM EST

There are two general, agreed upon, aspects or definitions of citizenship: The first is related to laws, the second is more closely linked to cultural/political/social make-up.

The legal definition has become the most important because it presents the most significance to the market - that's obvious. The other one, however, is important too. In fact, its more important if the things that keep you up at night are issues like basic human rights, democracy, etc. So, I can't provide any links that will tell you its the law to resist control from above, but I can tell you that most people are angry about these issues. The protests in Seattle/Quebec etc all serve to support my claims. However, even Noam Chomsky is optimistic about the world's future because more and more people are resisting. He says that he sleeps better now than he did in the 60's.

So, what was keeping him up during the sixties? It was that top-down control was so elusive that nobody was even aware of it. You were deemed a conspiracist if you protested. Women that studied feminism were witches, etc. What was considered common sense was a lot different than today.

That is why I said that there's no difference between enjoying camaraderie born of sharing a dangerous experience and tacitly supporting fascism. I was just trying to point out that dictatorships generate most of their power from mass culture. It makes sense: dictatorship = control of the masses / mass culture = beliefs of the masses. Common sense, unfortunately, is part of mass culture.

You are being foolish if you misinterpret what I said to mean that you are a fascist. Dude, I've never met you. Un wind your panties and we can continue with this convo, if you like.




*Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
[ Parent ]
After reading this thread... (5.00 / 2) (#76)
by Vesperto on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 12:00:00 PM EST

...i've come up with a very pertinent question: Are bulls fascist?

La blua plago!
[ Parent ]
I've never met any bulls either (nt) (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by Swashbuckler on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 08:18:51 AM EST




*Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
[ Parent ]
wth? (none / 0) (#34)
by ph317 on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 10:33:14 AM EST

 does this have to do with the tragedy of the commons?

[ Parent ]
(I admit) It's only losely tied to it... (4.50 / 2) (#36)
by Swashbuckler on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 10:55:03 AM EST

K5 is a commons because it is "user contributed/user moderated."

Moderation has to follow some kind of standard - a guideline for which to decide between +1, +1 FP, 0, or -1.

Because the norm of the community is to encourage diversity and, more importantly, intellectual (or political) engagement, the guidelines for moderation state (or should state) that stories are voted up because they are well written (insightful, engaging, grammatically correct, etc.). One cannot vote down a story simply because they disagree with the opinion expressed.

If that happens, there is a tragedy of the commons. The system that K5 relies on to maintain a commons includes, to some extent, a normative ideal. If that ideal is breeched, if the norms of the community change (to reflect the neo-liberal ideology, "get rid of what I don't understand"), I would argue that the results will be some what tragic. No?


*Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
[ Parent ]
so you going to mod up ... (none / 0) (#97)
by drgonzo on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 05:52:21 PM EST

my excelently executed article about "THE JOY OF FUCKING GIRLS <= 1 YEAR OF AGE IN THE ASS" ?

[ Parent ]
thank you for your thoughtful contribution (none / 0) (#100)
by Kragg on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 06:29:41 PM EST

and +1 when it comes
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]
Take a guess... (3.00 / 2) (#26)
by TurboThy on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 08:35:39 AM EST

Anyway, those bulls could get hurt.
What, pray tell, do you think happens to the bulls after they arrive at the Plaza del Toros?
__
'Someone will sig this comment. They will. I know it.' [Egil Skallagrimson]
[ Parent ]
I know, but (1.00 / 1) (#27)
by jeroenb on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 08:41:15 AM EST

that's not what the article is about.

--
"The mouse, I've been sure for years, limps home from the site of the burning ferris wheel with a brand-new, airtight plan for killing the cat." -J.D. Salinger
[ Parent ]
If you like there's a lightweight version (none / 0) (#78)
by bob6 on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 01:55:15 PM EST

La Tomatina.

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
My earliest exposure to (4.33 / 3) (#24)
by Akshay on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 08:27:41 AM EST

Spanish culture was from a TV report on this thing. That was before Macarena or Penelope Cruz or Discovery, of course.

Have fun at the Fiesta! ;-)

Interesting... (4.33 / 3) (#31)
by jeroenb on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 10:15:33 AM EST

I have to admit I was wondering whether I should vote it up because it at least gets people to think about these kind of things. But I decided against it because this piece just romanticizes it too much. I would have appreciated an account of the same writer but where at least the flipside would be mentioned. I'm not interested in censoring this subject as a method to try and make it go away.

I do oppose posting this article (although it's getting a lot of +1fp votes so it'll be up on the frontpage shortly) because it advocates recklessness towards animals.

--
"The mouse, I've been sure for years, limps home from the site of the burning ferris wheel with a brand-new, airtight plan for killing the cat." -J.D. Salinger

ok that was a reply to #30 (n/t) (none / 0) (#32)
by jeroenb on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 10:17:24 AM EST



--
"The mouse, I've been sure for years, limps home from the site of the burning ferris wheel with a brand-new, airtight plan for killing the cat." -J.D. Salinger
[ Parent ]
I know (none / 0) (#64)
by epepke on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 08:26:56 PM EST

do oppose posting this article (although it's getting a lot of +1fp votes so it'll be up on the frontpage shortly) because it advocates recklessness towards animals.

They were going to stop having the running of the bulls forever, but then they heard that there was going to be an article about it on some geek website, so of course they had to do it. Oh, the bovinity!


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
I think I preferred the Hemingway version (nt) (4.00 / 2) (#33)
by LQ on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 10:32:53 AM EST



dumb question: what version is that? (nt) (none / 0) (#38)
by Swashbuckler on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 10:59:01 AM EST




*Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
[ Parent ]
The Sun Also Rises (5.00 / 1) (#44)
by GoStone on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 12:11:45 PM EST

The hero has a war wound in the generative organs, which makes him somewhat pensive.


Cut first, ask questions later
[ Parent ]
Thanks (none / 0) (#46)
by Swashbuckler on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 12:17:26 PM EST

You just prompted me to visit the Library today.


*Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
[ Parent ]
Excelent book, highly recomended /nt (none / 0) (#58)
by pheta on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 02:31:55 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Drunken, amoral idiots torture animals, film at 11 (3.77 / 9) (#40)
by Hizonner on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 11:34:57 AM EST

Want a rush? Go play paintball with real ammo, and leave the bulls (and any sane residents of the town) out of it. That would probably improve the gene pool even more than the existing event, while avoiding many of the negative consequences.

Frothing zealot abuses language, comment at #40 (5.00 / 5) (#56)
by angry white guy on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 02:06:42 PM EST

Nada.

[ Parent ]
festivals like this (none / 0) (#88)
by TRASG0 on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 09:51:42 AM EST

are the only thing keeping the Spaniards from taking over the world.  Best encourage them lest we find ourselves all forced to become Roman Catholics.
sorry no sig now
[ Parent ]
what do they do with a bull that kills a person? (3.00 / 1) (#43)
by modmans2ndcoming on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 12:04:41 PM EST

I assume some folks die in this ordeal.

same as the rest of them (5.00 / 2) (#51)
by Kragg on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 01:07:19 PM EST

Death in the Afternoon.
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]
Sure they do 1 or so a year (none / 0) (#61)
by thebaseline on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 05:46:17 PM EST

As kragg says usually a drunken non afficinado this is a dangerous activity but there are mechanics to it. Large groups of people runiing together in a panic are more dangerous than the bulls;)

[ Parent ]
Frank admission (4.00 / 2) (#47)
by GoStone on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 12:21:35 PM EST

When I was a kid I saw some film of someone being gored in a Pamplona street. I've been scared of bulls since then. Especially Spanish fighting bulls. I was amazed at the power and lethality in the beast and the puniness of the person trying to resist. I'd love to see the run though. And I imagine its easy to get swept up by the atmosphere and go for it.


Cut first, ask questions later
you should (none / 0) (#87)
by TRASG0 on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 09:49:45 AM EST

find and download some of the clips of Mas Oyama whacking off a bull's horn with his bare hand.  You'll feel sorry for the bull.
sorry no sig now
[ Parent ]
Mas Oyama (4.00 / 2) (#48)
by TRASG0 on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 12:35:42 PM EST

the founder of Kyokushin Karate and a living legend who was famous for fighting bulls barehanded, once wrote an open letter to his (at the time) several million students worldwide.  He suggested that one of us go to Pamplona and stand by while the bulls run, and suddenly step out and fell one with a single punch to the skull.  He said (paraprhasing, through a translator) "can not one of you duplicate my youthful feats?  There are so many of you."  He then suggested we were weak.

For years I would wake in the middle of the night, sweating, from a dream in which instead of running from the bulls, I turned and faced them.
I would hear Mas Oyama exhorting me to face death . . . I'm alot more sane now but if I ever get the chance I will still one day run with the bulls.

sorry no sig now

be prepared (none / 0) (#50)
by Kragg on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 01:06:32 PM EST

If you managed it, you'd then have to contend with every able-bodied spanish male in the town.

You aren't supposed to touch the bulls, let alone floor them...
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]

I'm sure (none / 0) (#52)
by TRASG0 on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 01:11:49 PM EST

the bull would have just gored and trampled me to death.  I doubt the world will see another Mas Oyama and I am certainly not him.  Interesting that you aren't supposed to touch them though.  Does that count them touching you?
sorry no sig now
[ Parent ]
no, only if you meant to piss it off (none / 0) (#53)
by Kragg on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 01:18:30 PM EST

If you rest a hand on him as you run alongside, that's okay. If you slap him, that's not. If the bull touches you, you probably have other problems.

Ill informed foreigners used to think that the paper you carry was for batting the bull on the head if you managed to get in front of him. All that would do is enrage him, which I guess is why it is frowned upon.
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]

Nice one kragg (4.00 / 2) (#62)
by thebaseline on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 05:58:41 PM EST

Well written in places the moments before the run are especially evocative as immediately my hands began to sweat and my stomach contracted. Well done:) Note:not that many died last year or indeed any year never more than one or two (i think), except for the big pile up in the tunnel circa 1930s. For all those who don't understand the danger thing. It's simply a rite of passage. These are mostly pathetic in modern western culture and this one is old and allows us to get back to our roots a little bit. Man is what he believes (Antony's wall too) lol

Hainsworths room (none / 0) (#63)
by thebaseline on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 07:24:03 PM EST

Definatly still on offer if you show up on the 6th for three days. 12pm Noels flat 3pm Otano bar me an me dad an robyn on the sixth after that usual routine places. Come on man go when I go. It'll be gOOd. man is what he believes

[ Parent ]
it's true (none / 0) (#67)
by Kragg on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 10:44:12 PM EST

Only 13 people have been killed in the festival over the past 100 years, the latest in 1995 when a young American man was gored to death.

Not really that scary at all.
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]

Uh. (none / 0) (#74)
by Anonymous Hiro on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 09:32:06 AM EST

Not really scary? Err, "bulls usually injure several people each day".

I dunno about you, but if the prospect of being gored by a bull or two doesn't scare you even a little bit, you're either very brave or something else.

Dying quickly doesn't worry me as much as being crippled or dying slowly and painfully.

Personally I think once you're really in there and see a big bull running towards you, your instincts should kick in despite whateve your mind thinks. If they don't, I suppose you could try to make it spectacular and go for a Darwin Award.

[ Parent ]

If you rearrange the letters (4.00 / 2) (#68)
by Relinquished on Mon Jun 30, 2003 at 11:48:33 PM EST

In "Si, sirs, Pamplona has the Running of the Bulls in it" you get "Horns in no bullfighters' asses. Plan titanium hip".

--------------
If you rearrange the letters in "anagram for signature" you get "famous at rearranging".


I think this would be better... (5.00 / 2) (#71)
by obvious on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 02:18:14 AM EST

Horns in bullfighters' asses. Plan on titanium hip.

[ Parent ]
Thanks (none / 0) (#72)
by Relinquished on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 02:54:02 AM EST

I'll try to come up with better anagrams in the future.

--------------
If you rearrange the letters in "anagram for signature" you get "famous at rearranging".


[ Parent ]
did this last year, had a blast (4.00 / 2) (#73)
by TearsInTheRain on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 07:48:51 AM EST

I did about 200 meters last year on the 1st and 2nd days, had a great time.  A lot of giri's (foreigners), and lots of fairly drunk people.  But everyone is in a very jocular mood, and its just a nice party atmosphere.  Yes, if you don't agree with bullfighting you probably hate the whole thing, but its sad to see how sterile social life is in America and England compared to Asia, Spain, South America, etc.

Would recommend it to anyone at least once, you definitely get a massive adrelinine rush during and afterwards.


Would i be picky... (5.00 / 1) (#75)
by Vesperto on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 11:57:56 AM EST

...if, based on Asia, Spain, South America, i'd say you're just a biiiit megalomanous about the size of Spain?

La blua plago!
[ Parent ]
any Spaniard (none / 0) (#86)
by TRASG0 on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 09:40:30 AM EST

will tell you Spain is both the center of the universe and the largest, most powerful nation on Earth.
sorry no sig now
[ Parent ]
I think those are americans. <nt> (none / 0) (#89)
by Vesperto on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 12:23:33 PM EST



La blua plago!
[ Parent ]
Maybe . . . (none / 0) (#90)
by TRASG0 on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 12:46:37 PM EST

Spaniards gone astray are the worst kind and it doesn't get any more astray than the US.
sorry no sig now
[ Parent ]
But England has this... (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by nebbish on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 08:39:26 AM EST

The annual Gloucestershire cheese rolling contest.

What it lacks in danger it makes up for in surrealism. Otherwise the two are remarkably similar.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Hmm this scares me (4.00 / 2) (#79)
by claesh1 on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 05:20:55 PM EST

I am actually going there this year, I am following some friends. But I only want to see it, not participate. I am not willing to risk my life or health for it, I only want to be a spectator. What is your best advice?

Be a spectator (none / 0) (#81)
by Kragg on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 08:47:19 PM EST

If you can, watch from one of the small roads between the main town square (not the sqaure by the mayor's house, but the one that's closed for the dig) and Estafeta. There's only room for about 10 people to watch, but if you're one of them you get far and away the best view there is. But get there early, like 7am or quarter past.

Failing that, watch from the ring, and see the Aussies shitting themselves, that's a spectacle in itself.
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]

Found my way there by accident. . . (5.00 / 4) (#82)
by Fantastic Lad on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 11:03:10 PM EST

I wound up in Pamplona during this festival completely by error. I just got off the train because I was tired of being on the train. I couldn't figure out all the guys in white with red sashes. This was ten years ago, and I was far more culturally inept than I am today. Plus, being brought up in the Canadian school system, I'd not been subjected to Hemingway's agreivating brand of prose as part the school curriculum.

--I got drunk with some American idiots (a traveling rugby team, actually), who were embarrassing themselves to degrees I'd not thought possible in their disrespect of the local culture. But hey, they were a rugby team, so it wasn't entirely unexpected. Anyway, it was educational and sort-of fun for half an evening.

Got tired of arrogant, hooting idiots and took off on my own to go camp outside the city limits. Found a nice spot under the awning of a small abandoned farm house. Got up early and headed back into town to figure out what the heck was going on.

I met this very cool American medical student. We hung out for the next couple of days together. It was very good. --We discovered that the town was divided into several sectors; those with American back-packing students trying to find the Hemingway Experience, and those with just Spaniards who were the Hemingway Experience, (if a few decades removed).

The Circus of Death, (as we dubbed it) was a square with a very bad feeling pervading it, puke, blood, broken glass and the odd passed out American kid with no boots, (presumably stolen), and 'The Fountain of Death'. --A big stone monolith with a basket-ball sized sphere at the top. It was about ten feet high, and the idea was that the would-be adventurer would climb to the top, and jump into the crowd to be, (hopefully), caught by friends below. This was apparently based on some local custom, though I didn't see too many locals engaging in the 'game'.

With no pauses in between, drunken kid after drunken kid climbed up and jumped off. In the course of twenty minutes I saw one guy take a painful fall as his friends slipped their grasp in catching him, and one girl smash her face into pulp on the paving stones, convulse for a while and then lie still as her friends shrieked. Barely five minutes later, the climbing and jumping had resumed. At this point, I was fairly full of some very cheap sangria which came in a box, and the whole experience was harshing my buzz something fierce, so me and my traveling companion left the scene for brighter pastures which were easily found.

The fireworks were amazing, and in the West, probably illegal. --Like enormous cannons going off overhead and burning green copper (or is it aluminum?) stars almost hitting the ground. It seemed dangerous, but it was amazing to be there. A real hoot as we and the crowd staggered and looked shell-shocked with each new blast.

One thing I learned is that Spaniards know how to drink. They pace themselves and for the most part, and don't bleed, stagger or puke on the paving stones. Our Spanish was getting pretty good at this point, so we decided to hang with the locals for the evening and had a big steak dinner in a restaurant tent with a bottle of French champagne my friend had been smuggling around for two weeks.

The actual bull run was a little silly. It was mostly non-Europeans poking rolled up newspapers at bovines and running like idiots whenever one of the belegeured creatures stamped a hoof and looked peeved. But it turned into perhaps the most amazing sporting event I've ever seen in my life when the runners had all entered the colleseum.

Happy drunk and wandering aimlessly, we found our way up into the stands and got seats. We looked down upon a few hundred non-Europeans playing in a culture they didn't understand and maybe another fifty local participants dressed in white and red. The confused Europeans sat around in the ring, not knowing what was supposed to happen next, waiting for somebody to tell them what to do. Nobody did. Then the gates opened up and half a dozen pissed off bulls were expelled from the walls and into the ring.

Holy shit.

When the kids in the ring figured out what was going on, there was a panic, and there was much running and lack of bravery. The crowd laughed and roared as one.

Now this is the amazing part; I'd never understood mob-psychology until that moment, when every eye and every consciousness in the whole place, (and there were a few thousand of us), were all focused on the same events. An unsuspecting kid was struck from behind unawares, picked up and hurled by a pissed off bull, and the crowd roared with dismay at the unfairness of it all. The kid stood up and waved, "I'm Okay" and the crowed cheered its approval at his toughness of spirit. Moments later our collective attention swept to another kid, a tall gangly kid with Ronald McDonnald hair, who was openly teasing a bull with a roll of paper, poking at the animal's face. The crowd booed at him, our hearts going out to the bull. Then the bull got mad and we all thought it was going to charge the kid, but it only took one angry step in the kid's direction. The kid turned and bolted, thinking that the bull was after him, and covered the distance between himself and the wall in an ungraceful and completely undignified clown-lope. The crowd laughed uproariously before our attention was swept to the next event. --Over the next twenty minutes as this chaotic and unscripted spectacle unfolded, I and the whole crowd flew up and down the entire spectrum of emotions at break-neck speed, leaving us exhausted and fully entertained when the bulls were finally, one by one released from the arena.

Best of all, none of the bovines were hurt. --Though I think I understand now why the Romans enjoyed their killing games so much. Pretty incredible experience, all in all. I'll never forget it, or the happy-queazy feeling of cheep sangria gurgling in my gut.

-FL

Pamplonada and more about bullfights. (5.00 / 3) (#83)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 03:04:27 AM EST

This famous run has a name, it is called Pamplonada. In Mexico, in the town of Huamantla in the state of Tlaxcala there is a similar affair, naturally called Huamantlada. This been my beloved country, the poor bulls are toyed with for longer, so if you ever felt like trying to become a matador, this is the place to go.

There are clear issues of animal cruelty here. No matter how much glamourization is put around the issue, the fact is that people rarely get seriously hurt (unless they are too drunk to even care if they are run over, a person on his five senses will not be caught by a bull unless he intends to be caught).

The bulls end in a corrida de toros (term which in my opinion is non translatable to English, bullfight does not convey what really is going on in the bullring). There the bulls are systematically tortured and finally killed in a barbaric manner for the "pleasure" of the discerning crowd.

This "art" includes making the bull bleed in order to ensure is not too dangerous (by means of poking  a spear on its back or hooking the colorfoul harpoons on same place known as banderillas).

Once the bull is dead tired the matador will fool the bull into "fighting" the piece of red cloth until the bull has not left any energy on it (around 20 minutes if lucky).

At the end the matador will get hold of a sword and will kill the bull by stabb it in the back, the swords remains on the bull as long as it remains alive. Think about how it must feel when it moves.

Unfortunately this normally does not kill the beast, thus the good offices of a descabellador are necessary. This gentleman approaches the bull, that by now lies on the floor bleeding by its snout, and using a small knife aims for the back of the neck once or twice to finish the animal's suffering.

If the matador was not proficient with the sword (lets say 2 or 3 tries) then he has to finish the job himself in the humiliating manner of killing the bull with the sword but aiming at the back of the neck. If the matador is drunk that day, he may also fail here, and the bull, punctured, stabbed and tired, is sent back to the pen where he will be put out of his missery.

When a matador has shown great bravery he is offered as a trophy the ears and the tail of the bull which are severed on the spot. Sometimes, for exceptional "artistic" corridas they are offered the legs and in one or two famous occassions in which the authority was clearly in one of those drunken days, they are offered the full head.

The bravest bulls (the ones that fought the most but not enough to make life uncomfortable for the matador) are pardoned and sent back to the pen. The owner of the bull then decides if the bull is going to be used for reproduction or if it is going to the butcher anyway.

The bravest bulls that don't achieve clemency receive the honour of been dragged relatively slowly out of the bullring.

All of the above is shown on live TV (in Mexico bullfight's broadcasts where forbidden for many years, but some influential people in the media happen to delight on this spectacle so they convinced the goverment to bring back TV which pushed audiences up at a time that this barbaric pursuit was going away....).

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?

Ratio of bars/people and other Spanish oddities (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by jecouto on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 05:59:05 AM EST

Perhaps more bars than you would expect, given its population. Thats not particular to Pamplona, its just as it is in all Spain. The anglosaxon way is to go to a bar and stay there, drinking. The Spanish way is "ir de copas" (go out for drinks), and that means you go to a bar, drink there (normaly you get "tapas", that is, you get small dishes of food to go with the drinks), go to another bar, drink something there (more tapas), go to a disco, drink and dance there, then go to another bar and drink there too... Some people do that from 10 pm to 7 am friday and saturday and then spend Sunday having the mother of all hangovers. So here all towns get a lot of bars, because you know sooner or later somebody is going to see you and decide to drink at your local. Now about the San Fermines... note that this is not personal. Lot of people from Pamplona think the worst thing to happen to the encierro was Hemingway. There is a small, hardcore group that sees this as it was; a strange mix of religious festivity, rite of passage and celebration. To them, running with the bulls is almost a religious duty, an homage to the saint, an homage to the town, and something incredible serious. People that do that because their fathers and grandfathers did it. People that do it because they want to give thanks to the Saint for something. People that do it because its what you do if you are born there. So now they see the encierro full of drunk foreigners that have absolutely no respect for anything, dont know, care or follow the rules (NEVER touch the bull, DONT run at the sides of it cause you risk it stopping and going back, and then its quite dangerous), etc, etc, etc... I think thats not your case, but as some other poster said, nowadays its easy to see parts of the citi overun by drunk foreigners puking, and parts where the locals gather to follow the tradition. I'm not going to debate the cruelity and torture of bullfighting and all that. I'm not a fan, and for me that could be abolished tomorrow, but for foreigners that get all worked up about it, they just dont get it. For a lot of people there, bullfighting is even more important than soccer. Bullfighters are held in great esteem, fans know a lot about the "art" and qualify them for the sorties and general performance with strict criteria more appropiate to classical dance or theater than just a televised animal torture thing... now I'n not saying that makes it good. I'm saying that makes it impossible to abolish. Nobody is going to tell them "bullfighting is now forbidden". I think bullfighting its going to eventually die as the number of fans each generation is getting lower, but the best propaganda you could do to it would be trying banning it; then a lot of people are going to support it just because "its our way, and you are a foreing-influenced sissy" Jesús Couto F.

Why people do this (3.75 / 4) (#91)
by TRASG0 on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 01:03:54 PM EST

Several people have asked why people do this.  I can't answer that but I can answer why I do it and why I don't shy away from similar acts of brutality or foolishness.

Life is suffering.  That is simply a fact.  These bulls were all going to die one day anyway.  So are the matadors, the runners, the crowd, everything and everyone will die.  So to say those poor bulls are suffering is missing the point.  Their mere existance is to suffer.  By making it a spectacle, a ritual of strength and endurance and heroism, we can give meaning to something essentially meaningless.  Yes the bull is going to die, but it doesn't have to be for nothing.  We can give it meaning and make it glorious.

The point of the bullfight, for me, is that pain and suffering exist and are inevitable.  But pain and suffering and death and agony and eventual oblivian only have the meaning that we choose to give it, and this is Spain's defiant shout into the void that we choose to make it glorious.
sorry no sig now

hurray for the holocaust (2.00 / 1) (#98)
by drgonzo on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 06:00:53 PM EST

those jews sure did not minde that the nazis saw their extinction as glorious ...

man, your "logic" is SOOOO fucked ....

you sould join them nihilists in "the big lebowski" and cut off you thoes ...

[ Parent ]

I ran last year (5.00 / 2) (#92)
by groove10 on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 09:08:03 PM EST

Wonderfully written account of what it's like to really be there. I can attest to its accuracy as I ran last year with 3 of my friends from college. Yes I am an american, BTW. Luckily my Spanish is not too bad and I wasn't there to make an ass out of myself.

I had always wanted to run in the Fiesta de San Fermín, ever since I first heard about it when I was a little boy. I'm usually not one for taking huge risks and such, but this just seemed to be part of me for a long time. I was backpacking around Europe last summer with my girlfriend after graduating from college and I saw that I would be passing through the Basque country during the festival. Once I realized the opportunity that I had, I couldn't go back on it. My girlfriend tried to tlak me out of it but I was having no part of that. I met up with 3 college friends in San Sebastían who were renting a flat there for a month or two.

We all (except for one guy) decided to run, but we were gonna be smart about it. Instead of getting drunk (like we did every night), the night before was spent studying the map of the route and planning our method of surviving the maddness. Luckily my friends had seen the run the day before so they had an idea about how to go about doing it. I got a lot of rest that night but I already had some adrenaline going and it was tough to sleep well.

That morning, we piled into the rented Puegot 206 and drove to Pamplona. It was still dark when we got there and the place was still partying from the night before. It really was a sight to behold. There was the smell of wine, beer, urine, and vomit in the streets. We decided to head to the route to check it out.

Anyway, me and my three friends had planned to begin the race in the square and then begin running through the S-curve after the square and hop a rail when the going got too rough. We had planned to be off the course before the bulls passed but after the start of the run.

The hour or so that we were on the course was probably the fasted hour of my life. I had sooo much adrenaline going it was ridiculous. The people in the street were reading the day's newspaper that had a full 2 pages dedicated to the bulls! It listed where they were from, their height, weight, age, etc. etc. They are the real stars of the run. I think all of the bulls the day I ran were over 600 kg. That's a lot of bull.

The first rocket goes off and some people begin to run (or jog). We're staying cuz we have a plan. There's like 5 mins between the first and second rocket, but I swear it felt like 30 seconds. The next one goes off and everyone knows that the bulls are running. We still wait as people pass all around us. All of a sudden I turn around and my friends are gone! They already started running (Iwas the closet to the bulls). I take off like a shot. I'm really going solely on adrenaline and instinct... there are no thought going through your head.

I pass through the plaza and into a small lane with no escape route. I see two people on the ground up in front of me (they fell moments before) and I look down as I leap over them and see the looks on their face.... pure terror, like death was stalking them. I'll never forget that.

I look left after my leap and I see 4 HUGE black bulls running in a diamond formation going past me at what seemed like 30 MPH. I probably could have reached out and touched one but like I said, I'm not one to take risks and I wasn't drunk either... They got about 1 meter from my left side and that was the closest any bull passed to me.

My friends had similar experiences up ahead of me. one guy almost got taken down with those two others I leaped over. We met up and decided to head to the bull-ring by following the bulls (not very smart). Luckily the security closed the barrier so that if the bulls got turned around, so we couldn't continue. I think that was for the best.

It took about 2 hours for the adrenaline to leave my system, but I swear I felt like a superman right after it happened. I fell asleep for 4 hours after we got back to San Sebastían. I also decided never to run again. I would like however to go back and party on Pamplona during the festival since I missed that part.

Sorry it's so long... If you don't believe me, BTW, here's a pic of me and my friends in Pamplona before the run. (note the faces of nervous tension). Also, here's a pic of me showing a scratch I got somehow during the run... no it wasn't from a bull. I think it was from the wall. No one got hurt the day fo my run except for a few scrapes, etc. In fact no one has died in recent years, which is not bad considering the number of people that run. It helped that it was sunny on the day I ran since the bulls tend to slip on the pavemetn stones when it's wet. Take my advice if you plan to run. Know the route and don't drink the night before or that morning.
Do you like D&D? How bout text-based MMORPGs? You need to try Everwars. It's better than shooting smack!

I'm going (none / 0) (#94)
by Cackmobile on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 06:28:34 AM EST

I am sitting here at work leaving in 2 hours for my flight (from London) down there. I am an AUssie so I guess i will be doing the dodgy aussie run!!!

Murder (5.00 / 1) (#95)
by paugq on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 01:04:43 PM EST

I'm Spanish and live in Spain.

I only wanted to say that for a lot of Spanish people (myself included) bullfighting is murder and should be forbidden. It is NOT and art, it's simply murder.

The bull suffers a lot while a handful of stupid sado-lovers look how the bullfighter kills it. No fun, no joke and no mercy.

REDRUM (nt) (none / 0) (#96)
by Swashbuckler on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 01:59:11 PM EST




*Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
[ Parent ]
no (none / 0) (#99)
by drgonzo on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 06:09:22 PM EST

torturing till the death (which includes, among alot of other things, cuting off the bull's  balls while still alive) deserves to be put on the same level as fucking little children (ie. valuing ones own enjoyment over every other thing)

[ Parent ]
Corredor | 100 comments (84 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
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