Another great thing about being a bullfight aficionado in the Twenty-First Century is that you can enjoy the Fiesta de San Fermin, with its famous Running of the Bulls, even if you have go to your day job. With my iTouch I watch encierros in the break room. Isn't progress wonderful?
By the time this goes up on July 7, the Fiesta will be off and running. I'm writing this on the Fourth of July. Funny how I've come to see Independence Day with its fireworks as a warm-up for San Fermin.
This weekend, I was disappointed by PETA protests. They have become unofficial opening ceremonies, but the promising tradition of the Running of the Nudes just keep fizzling. Originally, it was spectacle of naked bodies and fake blood, first running through the streets, then lying down like the climax to a surrealistic spaghetti Western. But then PETA's puritanical instincts kicked in: black cloth covered up breasts and genitals, and last year the fake blood was replaced by paint as they lay their collective bodies in the shape of a giant bull.
This year, they pulled a rerun of the giant bull thing. There wasn't much media coverage. And you have to wonder about how effective their protests are if guys like me are among the few paying attention. Do they really think that lame performance art will discourage people who have come to see bloody, excrement-smeared beasts killed?
What did get coverage was the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Ernest Hemingway, and the revelation that, yes, the FBI was hounding him. Like people are always saying, you're not paranoid if they're really out to get you.
Last year, I reread The Sun Also Rises, and was disappointed that there wasn't more of the Fiesta in it. Granted, Hemingway was going far for the Anglo literary audience of the times – note the way he apologizes for the subject matter all through Death in the Afternoon. San Fermin deserves a novel that pays more attention to it, rather than Jake and Brett and their sexual-mutilation tragedy.
Besides, the Fiesta has evolved, the way Las Vegas has gone beyond Hunter Thompson's wildest hallucinations. Maybe the new century needs a new San Fermin novel. I hope that somewhere in the crowded streets of Pamplona, a young person – not necessarily male, because women do run with the bulls these days – is going wild, Facebooking, Tweeting, and blogging about it, and will get the idea that they have material for a book that will rattle the world.
Meanwhile, if you want to join me in enjoying San Fermin online, the best website for it is SanFermin.com, that provides text, video, and photos in Spanish, English, and Euskara, the Basque language. And the sites of Pamplona area newspapers, Diario de Navarra, Noticias de Navarra, and Que Es, provide coverage in Spanish.
It'll all be over by the 15th. I'll be reading, watching, taking notes. In two weeks I'll report back. Maybe even do a special report over at Mondo Ernesto.
Meanwhile, may the cape of Saint Fermin, protect you from close calls.
Ernest Hogan, when he's not working at his day job, or enjoying San Fermin coverage, will be getting his novel Cortez on Jupiter ready to be released as an ebook, which includes designing the cover.