Here’s a good spot, maybe they won’t find us here!

April 21, 2009

Blog Guy, you write a lot about bullfighting, so you’re probably aware the new season has begun. How about giving us some behind-the-scenes stuff that most people don’t know about the tradition and pageantry of the sport?

Okay but remember, technically bullfighting isn’t a sport, it’s a ”sport”. In the photo below, matadors and their assistants are performing the “paseillo” before starting a bullfight.

My Spanish is very rusty, but I believe “paseillo” means walking around the ring cleaning up cigarette butts and bull poop.

That’s interesting. I wasn’t aware the matadors had to do such menial stuff.

Who else is gonna do it? When you put on funny outfits and torture animals to death for a living you’ve pretty much hit rock bottom already.

What about this other photo, with the capes?

The matadors are having a picnic. They’re looking for a good place to spread out their pink blankets where maybe the bulls won’t find them right away, so they can enjoy some tasteless flan.

Gosh, the way you describe it, it loses a lot of its romance.

Good.

Don’t rest until you join the Oddly Enough blog network

Above: Spanish matadors and their assistants warm up before starting a bullfight at The Maestranza bull ring in Seville, April 12, 2009.

Below: Spanish matadors and their assistants perform the “paseillo” before starting a bullfight at the ring.

REUTERS photos by Marcelo del Pozo

More stuff from Oddly Enough

16 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I saw on 60 minutes or something where the matador almost got killed when he was gored by the bull. Too bad the kidney damage did not finish him off. How lame can you be to kill a bull with these spears. It might would be a sport with a man to bull straight up. Man’s brains vs bulls brawn.

Posted by jwilly | Report as abusive

This is a tradition, and not the most ugly one. People love violence and competition, no matter how civilized they are. Besides this is bulls we are talking about. They are animals raised for that exact purpose. I guess the world would a bit saner place without this violence but it definitely not a big deal. There a far worse problems in the world that need attention.

Posted by Mike S | Report as abusive

Wait, do you mean brawn vs. brawn? Like the bull uses his horns, man uses his hands or something? Because it seems like it already is brain vs. brawn. Some man invented the sword to fight the bull’s horns with.

Posted by Mary K | Report as abusive

I’m not a fan of bullfighting, but well – aren’t these a special breed of bulls?
In other words, they would probably be extinct otherwise.
I actually prefer the idea of a species being maintained for cultural activities (yes, even if that’s killing activities), rather than that species going completely extinct.
Just my opinion…

Posted by ylee | Report as abusive

I am with Mary K. I would like to ask Mike; WUT!? cock and dog fighting, we like them so that’s wrong. Bulls are not raised for this. They are chosen individually for aggression so they will put on a good show. But you are right, there are bigger problems in the world. People who think public displays of blood letting are “not a big deal” and people who think; “People love violence and competition, no matter how civilized they are” Leads to all sorts of fun.

I am no tree hugger and had a steak for dinner. The meal I had was not tortured to death for the amusement of the civilized.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

Only the low mentalities are still into denial, that animals are almost as intelligent as we are, only they can’t hold a conversation, don’t have thumbs to pick anything up, so that makes us superior, but it doesn’t make them without any less emotions; feelings; thoughts than us. There must be some part of the brain that didn’t mature for those like vets who purposely fail to give pain medicine! Even when the dog was sliced down the middle to remove a sock. Not going back there!! How fair is this sport?

I don’t really see a bull being water boarded here. It’s a fight to death but hardly torture.

Posted by Franklin | Report as abusive

@Dan, sorry to say, you are wrong on this. Bulls are raised for this purpose, and they are very carefully bred based on -yes, you’re right- aggressiveness, but also nobleness and other characteristics. They are special breeds of bulls which would be, otherwise, extinct because of their ferociousness and hence lack of regular domestic use. And it is a tradition you may like or dislike, and I sympathise whichever way, but it’s one you need to understand a bit more to judge so harshly. It’s a bit like understanding traditional circumcision in Jewish culture or wearing ear-rings, or other cultural expressions. You may still dislike it, which is perfectly fine, but it’s more respectful and humble to try and learn before judging.

Posted by M | Report as abusive

Ever thought how confounding it is that a nation that takes pride in “machismo” defines itself by running away (!!!) from something (check: bull runs, where “everyone” gets involved). Also, in the amateur bullfights during the fiestas you can see a lot of local young adult males chatting up the girls along the side of the ring and then swiftly – maybe too swiftly – jumping over the side when the bull calf (!!!) just so much as looks at them.

Mhhm.

Posted by April | Report as abusive

the debate aside, this article/blog/whatever is really stupid.

the debate not aside, who cares about bulls?really. WHO cares?

Posted by charlie | Report as abusive

It might not be the best sport but it sure beats invading smaller countries

Posted by Detroit Johnnie | Report as abusive

Mine with fried onions, please!

Is bullfighting a sport? Perhaps not to most people who are not fans. Some posters have stated that at least their meal had not been tortured for the amusement of others before hitting their plate. Sadly those that believe this are ignorant of the level of abuse in the U.S. cattle processing industry, or in fact any factory animal processing. Just because you don’t see the bull/cow/sheep/chicken/pig being inhumanely treated before it hits your plate, doesn’t make it morally superior to those who make a sport of it. Isn’t it just as morally reprehensible of us, the consumers, to criticize from a place of self serving ignorance, as to cheer a mock ‘battle’ between man and beast.

Posted by Henry M | Report as abusive

There are bullfights in the South West of France, very well known, in Dax & Bayonne. The terms are spanish, tickets for the Arena are Sombra (Shade), Sol (Sun) y Sombra and Sol, up high in the full sun. Six bulls reased for the arena. Two bulls per Toreador. I believe the entrance walk is called The Pasillo. The bulls are killed. n the South East of France, bullfights also, the bulls are not killed.Not allowed in the rest of France. There also bullfights with Novicios who are starting with less savage animals. Also “Courses de Vaches” (cows). The bulls are not too ferocious, their horns are shortened and covered sothey are not blunt. Young men come down in the arena and it is rather funny and not dangerous. My conclusion: Men (more than women} like brutal games and sports from boxing to wrestling alligators. M.

Posted by Madeleine Sullivan | Report as abusive

There is only one thing that needs to be understood. It is that this is a Spanish tradition and the Spanish insist on maintaining it even though they know it is extremely cruel and anachronistic. There is no good purpose to torturing an animal till it is too weak and tired to prevent the killer from sliding his sword into it’s spine and kill it. This is an ugly, brutal thing to do, and there is no sport to it at all. People who see beauty in this ritual killing would be considered insane in any country, except Spain, where they are not raised in this tradition. We will all know the Spanish have evolved to better beings when they quit doing this, no matter how important the tradition is to them.

If you think there is nothing wrong with this, and you were not raised in Spain, you need professional help.

Posted by Mike Johnson | Report as abusive

If you can’t see what’s wrong with bullfighting, you really have got a very big problem. I wouldn’t even class you as human. If you really think it’s OK to treat intelligent animals in this way, then I hope that what goes around comes around, and some higher being comes along and does the same to you. The we’ll see whether you think it’s fair.

Posted by Ed Gee | Report as abusive