Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I know it's not politically correct, but I've always been interested in matadors and bullfighting. When I was growing up, we had paintings in our home featuring matadors in action. I was always mesmerized by that artwork. I really wanted to be able to attend a bullfight some day.
Bullfighting is popular in Spain, Portugal, Latin America, parts of France and Turkey, etc. I know there is a lot of debate and controversy over bullfighting. Supporters see it as a cultural tradition that should be honored, while opponents see it as a barbaric blood sport. There are people on both sides of the issue even within countries where bullfighting takes place. King Juan Carlos of Spain and especially his daughter, Princess Elena, are fans of the sport, while Queen Sophia detests bullfighting.
We can trace bullfighting in some form all the way back to ancient times. The sport as we know it developed in the 18th and 19th centuries. It always seemed to have supporters and opponents throughout the years. Sometimes it was outright banned, while other times it was embraced. It was very popular during the Franco era in Spain. Many thought it might decline after the end of the Franco government, but it continues to remain a draw today. The current government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero though is opposed to bullfighting and has placed some restrictions on it.
I wasn't sure if I should post some pictures of matadors here or not. I knew that there were probably readers who fall on both sides of this issue. Please feel free to share your opinions on bullfighting. You aren't going to hurt my feelings if you disagree with me. I'm sure there are plenty who do.
Between the matador art in my childhood home and reading too much Ernest Hemingway, I've come to find bullfighting to be very fascinating and alluring. There is something timeless and romantic about the idea of the matador and this artistic dance to the death with the bull. I still would love to attend a bullfight. In another lifetime, I think it would have been cool to have actually been a matador.
Here are some pictures of Spanish matadors in the late 1960's. I did try not to post anything too graphic, but there are a couple of pictures that might offend some people. I apologize beforehand.
Martin Santiago, also known as "El Viti"
Manuel Benitex, also known as "El Cordobes"
Francisco Ribera, also known as "Paquirri"
Cesar Giron and Palarmo Linares
Doing this post reminded me of the video for the Madonna song Take A Bow. The video features a matador in a bullfight. Check it out.