Thursday, July 19, 2012

Chicanonautica: Is Bullfighting a Latino Thing?

I paid extra close attention to the online coverage of the Fiesta de San Fermín in Pamplona last week. I took a lot of notes, on more than just the running of the bulls and the bullfighting. I’m off and running, writing my science fiction bullfighting novel.
Or maybe I should call it a futuristic dystopian feminist bullfighting novel, or just say it’s about a woman on a spiritual quest, depending on who I’m talking to.
It’s the sort of thing that I didn’t dare even suggest back before the publishing world as we know it started the countdown to its self-destruct sequence. I don’t care what “they” think or say anymore -- I’m just writing the sort of thing that gets my endorphins flushing: fiction that has a psychoactive impact on the reader. 
Blowing minds for fun and profit -- that’s my impossible dream.
Which brings me to the an important question . . .
Do Latinos like bullfighting?
In plugging into the astounding ways that tauromaquia has adapted to cyberspace, I’m noticing a lot of people from the Spanish-speaking side of the Tortilla Curtain, but almost no Latinos or Chicanos from North America among the aficionados.
In videos from San Fermín I see a lot more women taking part -- even running with the bulls. There are more and more people of color. There’s even a gay contingent -- and cross-dressing.
And among English-speaking fans, they tend to be Anglos -- from the United Kingdom and Austraila.
But here in Anglophone Zone of Norteamérica, it’s kinda lonely. I tend to be a lone brown face. I’m reminded of what it was like in the science fiction world a few decades back.
And, when I do hear my fellow Latinos speaking (en inglés) they sound like antis.
Has the American Way of Life infected us to the point of disconnecting us from this important part of our heritage? Have we forgotten those days before the United States Army invaded, when bullfighting was legal in Aztlán? 
Just when did it become illegal?
And what do you think of bullfighting? Your comments, pro and con will be appreciated.
Meanwhile, I’m having visions of an alternate reality, where bullfighting never stopped in Aztlán. And the buffalo still roam, only to be killed in one-on-one ritual combat, in the ring.
Just what is this thing they call civilization, anyway?

Ernest Hogan trespassed into science fiction with his novels Cortez on Jupiter, High Aztech, and Smoking Mirror Blues and has not been deported.


msedano said...

family legend has it there were always two schools of thought in aztlán. the tipos who endorse picadores and paralyzing the bull, and my side of the familia who said go in there just you and a healthy animal. a ver.

that's why adán y eva left aztlán, by the way, the cherimoya was just an excuse.

Manuel Ramos said...

A few years ago, I sat in the sun (the seats were supposed to be semi-shade, which in a bullring means sun) in Sevilla, in the middle of a spectacle I will never forget. My demure niece went crazy - the scene overwhelmed her. She loved it, and later when we visited the cafe next to the bullring, she didn't flinch at the menu. My wife snapped photo after photo - totally into the event.

Men and women shrieked and booed, applauded and cheered. Bulls died bloody deaths. Men in suits of light pranced and preened, and stared down their fear, all for glory. I drank beer; the men around us smoked cigars and drank rum. It was not my first bullfight - it might be my last. It's too complicated to say I liked it or I didn't. I experienced it. I'm glad I did.

Selinawoman said...

Despite my misgivings, I watched a Bullfight in Mexico city about 20 years ago.

It was explained to me the difference of TORO and OLE!, I understood that the bull was held in the highest regard and the meat would be distributed to the people of the village. So I attended.
After all, I am a carnivore and like to think I am not a hypocrite.

I put aside my North American bias and tried to embrace it with an open mind. I must say that I was fine with it up until the bull was killed.

It was a beautiful and tragic set of events, but when I saw the gallons of hot steaming blood, I knew I was in over my head, culturally.

I don't condemn or glorify it, but I know it's there and a very important part of the culture. I won't go to another one because I do not enjoy the spectacle, and can't get around the killing for entertainment.

I just don't think the bull had a fair shake. I might have enjoyed it more if the bull got to win once in a while. Taking his bows to the audience While resting his foot on the head of the fallen toreador like in the cartoons.

No matter how many streamers you put on a pick, it is still cheating.

Then again I'm a gringa from NJ.