Monday, July 30, 2012

They came to an understanding, or did they ???

You recognize it, of course, because it’s been on 12 billion Facebook walls along with its story: A bullfighter suddenly comes to a moral crossroads, the realization that his chosen profession is cruel and vicious, something he can no longer abide. And thus, mid-bullfight, he sits on the edge of the ring, an apparently forgiving bull standing before him, the former foe now a sympathetic ally.

This, appropriately, is bullshit.

Let’s think about this–which is something people haven’t been doing before slapping this photo and the sappy story tagged to it on their walls. First off, can you, as a rational, critical-thinking person, honestly believe that in the very moment a bullfighter is suddenly overcome with remorse for his chosen profession, the bull he’s been working toward killing, most likely half-crazed with a pain-inflicted fight response, is going to look at the guy sitting there in his despondence and think, in cow-thought language, “He appears to be coming to a decision of some great importance. He probably needs some time alone with his thoughts. I’ll just stand here passively.”?

No. That six-hundred-pound goring machine would smell the moment of weakness, seize it and put one of those nasty horns right through that guy’s spleen and laugh about it.

But let’s give it the benefit of the doubt, and say that the bull in question is in touch with his feelings. Let’s consider the bullfighter. Let’s say that, as in the case of Álvaro Múnera, the torero who is misidentified in the photo above, you have been a bullfighter since you were 14. You understand the bull and you understand how bulls act when you’re busily plunging swords into them while wearing painfully tight pants. You know–indeed, it’s been drilled into you–that you’re standing toe to toe with a fucking killing machine, the very species that has taken out people in your position because they slipped up for about the space of a heartbeat, if that. Given that, do you think that when your career-devastating moment of moral clarity hits you like a veritable bolt from the blue, you’d sit down three feet away from this murderous steak with a bad attitude? No. You might stop, yes. Perhaps you would leave the arena. You can do that. But would you sit down and give Mr. Angry Cow a free shot? Not unless along with your moment of clarity you also asked for a side order of suicidal.

So, no, what we are seeing here in not bullfighter and bull having a metaphysical moment of simpatico. It’s better than that. Because the truth of this captured moment highlights how people have just flung themselves bodily onto this bandwagon of pure manure and inflicted a wealth of disinformation on their friends.

See, what the bullfighter is actually doing is called desplante.  This is a thing that they do in bullfighting. It’s part of the show. The bullfighter sits on the rail to show his disregard for and dominance over the bull. Now, we should all be able to agree that when you decide to be a dick to a bull, the bull has no actual understanding what you’re doing. It doesn’t think, “Wow, is he ignoring me? Is he actually pretending I’m not even here?” No, it does not. I would imagine what it thinks is more along the lines of “moo.” The bull doesn’t care that you’re being a dick. So you’re just showing off for the audience. If the bull makes a move on you, bam, you’re over your mock despondence and jamming another pointy thing into its baby backs.

The only shred of truth in this ever-so-overshared photo is that Munera did, in fact, become an activist crusading against bullfighting. You know, 150 or so dead bulls and a crippling accident later. Oh, wait–did the story under the photo not mention that Munera quit after being gored and left paraplegic? Of course it didn’t. That would just ruin the narrative. And just to fire one more nail into this thing, that quote that runs with the picture, the one about him looking into the bull’s eyes? Also not from Munera. That was writer Antonio Gala, who is not, nor has he ever been, a bullfighter.

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