As a clumsy, near-sighted, dyslexic guy I was never much into sports, but I always liked bullfighting. It might have something to do with ethnic pride. It could also be a literary link, with that other guy named Ernest. Or it could just be something about blood glistening in the sun.
I must admit, I get a thrill at the look of shock on a Joe Typical Sports Fan’s face when I tell him that, no, I don’t follow football, basketball, or baseball, but I do enjoy bullfighting. Ever see a guy with hamburger residue rotting between his teeth turn into an animal rights activist?
It’s also fun the way bullfighting makes liberals intolerant of other cultures, and conservatives speak of abolishing traditions. Ah, sweet iconoclasm!
I’m lucky to live in an age when I can watch bullfights almost every day, from the comfort of my own home, even when Spain no longer puts them on television.
Yes, technology has done it again. A Web connection is all you need for more bullfighting news and videos than you can keep up with. Just get on ABC.es on their Toros tab under Cultura. Bullfighting videos can be found at Burladero.com, Suertematador.com, and TorosTVPeru on livestream.
YouTube is also a good source, but you should use Spanish in your searches. Online, there is a language barrier: Most of the stuff in English is from the “antis.”
And don’t think this is all machismo. Some of my favorite bullfighters are women. Want female heroes? Look up Milagros Sánchez, Hilda Tenorio, Conchi Ríos, Mari Paz Vega, and Noelia Mota.
The problem is, it’s so hard to have a reasonable discussion about this subject. Hysterical reactions kick in. Suddenly, there are all these screaming pseudo-naked vegetarians covered in fake blood running around.
But bullfighting is art, and culture, and tradition that will leave us poorer if we don’t take it into the future.
It’s also all about spirituality, though in this land where such things are divorced from blood, guts, tits, and ass, people just don’t see.
One American writer who did see was Richard Wright in Pagan Spain: And the matador in his bright suit of lights was a kind of lay priest offering up the mass for thirty thousand guilty penitents.
And later: It is the conquering of fear, the making of religion of the conquering of fear.
Like the modern tradition of the horror film, only the blood and death are real.
Seeing a bullfight makes me feel up to any task I may have to do during the day. A great one makes me feel that anything is possible. It’s called inspiration.
I’ve written and sold two science fiction stories about bullfighting: “Tauromaquia” (Science Fiction Age, July 1995) and “Frank’s Tricer Run” (Science Fiction Age, May 1997). Both published thanks to editor Scott Edelman.
I have a mad vision of a science fiction novel about bullfighting, in which a female matador goes on a spiritual quest through corporatized religion, genetic engineering, and space travel. The publishing world as it exists now would never touch such a thing, but change is in the air.
And the vision, like the bullfight, is compelling.
Ernest Hogan is working to get his novels released as ebooks, and waiting for la Fiesta de San Fermin.