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September 12, 2013 at 8:55 am
September 12, 2013 at 11:59 am
bullfighting is cruel and outdated
September 12, 2013 at 8:59 am
Why even call that a sport? Beats me…
September 12, 2013 at 9:00 am
I just don’t like bullfighting. Sorry it’s just cruel. There are other sports one can watch.
September 12, 2013 at 9:12 am
Since you started your blog I haven’t bought a single fashion magazine. I’ve followed, I’ve enjoyed. The bullfighting was a challenge — growing up in northern ontario I was fascinated with bullfighting; so beautiful & exotic. But when I found out they killed the bull, with waves of picadors etc, I soured on it. It seemed cowardly. I like the suggestion of an adapted version of the bullfight — and do away with the waves of picadors that fatigue the bull and precede the matador. One man, one bull.
September 12, 2013 at 10:28 am
I am not so found of “toreo”, but do you really know how dangerous it is for bullfighters and how big one of those bulls is? MR Schuman was fighting a vaquilla in the video. I think (I am not an expert) tt is less tan half the size of a real bull.
Just some graphic comments regarding the “one to one” option:
And for those who understand Spanish:
All this dervies from the atavic mediterranean tradition of death culture that is not present in the french option and in many other cruel bull festivals that are held in many villages Spain that have nothing to do with corrida.
September 13, 2013 at 9:09 am
as you will (for sure) know, BULLS ARE DRUGED BEFORE FACING THE BULLFIGHTER IN ORDER TO BE LESS DANGEROUS…
IF BULLFIGHTERS WERE SO BRAVE AS YOU SAY, THIS PRACTISE WOULD NOT BE SO USUAL…
September 12, 2013 at 9:13 am
Please note that “toreo” is considered in Spain as an “art” and not as a “sport”.
I fully understand the point of view of people concerned with the suffering of animals. It is also difficult to explain the captivation caused by its visual beauty. It is something terribly difficult to judge unless you experience it.
Most people to not now that people in the plaza will shout and complain when the bull-fighter is making the bull suffer unnecessarily.
September 13, 2013 at 3:45 am
I agree, I saw a show in Barcelona (before it was banned) a friend made me attend as there was bull fighter from central america, I was amazed. There is so much tradatition and what I dont think it explained in the video is that before the bull fighter even comes out there are the the picadors and a whole process that is used to tire the bull so he does not suffer and it is very quick in the end. I am not sure if I will see another but I am glad I got to experience it.
September 12, 2013 at 9:14 am
I am currently on holiday in the basque region. On the spanish side there are bullfights. On the french side too…. But in france the game entails the bullfighter to jump over the bull, they are not allowed to touch the bull and it doesnt get hurt. This seems a lot more fair to me! We were told once the bulls get old they retire to a pasture…. An idea perhaps? It is called course basque!
September 12, 2013 at 1:24 pm
There aren’t spanish or french sides in the Basque Country.
September 13, 2013 at 10:49 pm
Gora Euskal Herria!
September 14, 2013 at 10:40 am
That is correct Aitor. Because there is no Basque Country.
September 15, 2013 at 10:49 am
September 16, 2013 at 7:33 am
In France there are also bullfights, with the same rules that the ones in Spain, they also kill the bull. In the French’s Basque region bullfights doesen’t exist. Bullfights is part of a Mediterranean culture that’s why in France the “plaza” is in the South, in Nines. Castella is in our days the most famous French torero. Just in Portugal they have bullfights where the bull are not killed, they jump over it, as you say in your post.
Bullfights are an ancient reminder of the fight between man and animals to survive. They had to kill even brave animals to eat, hand to hand without any weapon. Just a sword. These fierce aninals are extinct in Europe, just in Spain they raise this kind of brave bulls that lived thousands years ago in the Mediterranean countries.
This fight is in the human’s race origin and this is what the Spanish and French bullfights remain. In Portugal it is not a fight it is more a circus show, where the horns are covered with cloths to avoid the badly bored, the toreros serious injuries or his death.
September 12, 2013 at 9:16 am
A fighting bull lives for about five years in the country, free, undisturbed and looked after with the utmost care, before being taken to the bull ring where he fights for about twenty minutes; this is roughly what happens. If bullfights didn’t exist, brave bulls would only be seen in the zoos. This is the reason that explains that, in Europe, only in Spain and in the south of France fighting bulls still live freely. On the other hand, please let me make a small correction: bullfighting is not a sport but an art, and that is how it was seen by, among others, Goya, Picasso, Manet, Bacon, Hemingway, etc.
September 12, 2013 at 9:26 am
My daughter and I visited to Madrid and stayed right next door to the bullfight arena. She did not want to attend the bullfight, but we saw it on TV and were horrified. I think this is a typical American reaction. We don’t really understand bullfighting. We slaughter and eat millions of animals every day without even thinking about it, but we don’t want to watch the animal being killed.
Let’s not try to “update” bullfighting. The very charm of it is that it is highly traditional. Are we really so arrogant that we think we can teach the Spaniards a better way to fight a bull?
My husband is from Japan. He loves Sumo wrestling. Should we Americans update Sumo by insisting the wrestlers lose weight because obesity is unhealthy?
September 12, 2013 at 10:22 pm
Sumo wrestlers, just like fencing is between two humans who CHOOSE to live and play that way. Animals do not have a voice so no it can’t be updated only abolished. It’s not our right as humans to do whatever we want on this planet.
September 14, 2013 at 11:07 am
Thank you for your mind opening. I’m Spanish and I know it’s hard for people who have not grown in our cultural surrounding to understand the art of bullfighting. I have myself ambivalent feelings about bullfighting itself.
The thing is: that bull is able to live freely for 5 years at least before taking part in bullfighting. Nowadays, this is a privilege that few animals have. It is a shame, but it’s true.
Also, I’d like to make clear that bullfighting is not a sadistic sport, but an art that requires passion, in which you can admire beauty, movement, skill… You don’t look forward to the moment in which the bullfighter kills the bull. I remember going with my grandfather to bullfights and I remember seeing him cry when the bull was killed.
September 12, 2013 at 9:27 am
The fact is that by participating in it you are promoting it. It is time to retire this animal abuse despite the superficial fashion history.
September 12, 2013 at 9:30 am
i’ve been keeping the pictures of that men you had posted a couple of years a go. i reckon is clothes are absolutely inspiring. hight waisted pants with shirt. mmmm
September 12, 2013 at 9:32 am
When I read this article, something else I once read immediately came to mind: camargue bull fighting. This is really the essence of what you are looking for here.
In this type of bullfighting, the bull does not get killed. The object of the game is to retrieve as fast as possible, the object placed between the horns of the bull. This way it becomes a game of skill and speed.
Also, instead of the way things are done in spain, rather than having the matador in the centre of attention, in the Camargue the bull is the star of the game: his name is put in big letters on the posters.
I think this is a beautiful way of updating the sport to a more humane level, whilst keeping all the suspense a ‘normal’ bullfight has!
September 12, 2013 at 9:33 am
It surprises me people were so angry at the video – I also hate the whole bull fighting thing especially after watching Running of the Bulls in Pamplona this year, the whole concept seems alien to me, but I absolutely loved your video – it was beautiful and showed how it is not just a sport, it is a tradition. I do agree that the bull should not be killed, it seems contradictory when the fighters are so respectful to the bull during the fight, yet the bull is killed later. And yes, constructive arguments are so much better than an anger-fuelled comment! Loving the AOL videos btw x
September 12, 2013 at 9:39 am
First let me say it’s nice to see that, on such a important fashion blog as it is, you are taking your time to bring a reflexion about this subject. As a fashion stylist sometimes I miss more of my colleagues care more about things going on out of this “fashion world”. But that was not the debate.
I’m from Barcelona, and as a Spaniard I don’t support this sport. I love the costumes, but I think it’s far beyond cruelty. How to change it? I don’t know… It’s not after the bull has been sticked and sticked and lost many blood that man called by us “torero” faces him to finally kill him. I find this quite unfair. It will be really brave facing the animal on its pure state but again, what will be the resolution? I don’t know… That’s why in my humble opinion we should this sport/tradition behind us.
September 12, 2013 at 9:58 am
Hello Scott, I’m Spanish and I love animals. But I have to express a ‘different’ opinion on this subject.
Bullfighting is cruel to the animal, agree. But I want to express why it still exists in Spain.
Bullfighting is part of Spanish culture in the sense that it appears in art, languange (people sometimes don’t realise they’re using expressions that are original from the bullfighters jargon) and even this sport has influenced music. Making bullfighting illegal would cause a terrible and irreversible damage on many aspects of culture.
So, me, on my twenties, I haven’t seen a ‘Corrida’, and seriously, I don’t want to go, BUT banning bullfighting implies a cultural damage yet also the lost of countryside and bulls themselves (and of course farms and companies etc.). Not that I like bullfighting, but If we talk about animal cruelty we should consider what’s going on around the world with billions of animals being slaughtered around the world, after living in the worst conditions all their lives…. On the other hand bulls have an excellent life, in huge farms, and…they exist. Farm animals would like to live a bull’s life.
That’s why bullfighting still exists. And also the reason why many animal lovers understand it’s still legal.
September 13, 2013 at 10:32 am
Such a thoughtful response… I’m Spanish too, love animals and hate bullfighting for the cruelty to the bull and using the ritual of its death as an entertaining show. Still I find very interesting the idea that farm animals are treated much worse, I don’t know how this goes but it does makes sense to me that your affirmation is correct. The difference is that farma are not shown off as representation of our culture like bullfighting, so in short the difference is the level of visibility. I also want to note how I, being against bullfighting, love the way in which the video was made. Just beautiful. Congrats Scott.
I don’t think bullfighting could be sucessfully updated… Tradition and updating usually don’t go well together. Besides, those who say that these bulls would not exist without bullfighting… Sounds as if they had created these animals and put them on Earth. Bulls did obviously exist before they were used for bullfighting, so please don’t try to convince us with this argument…
Thanks for the respectful insights and my NO goes to cruelty towards animals, not even in the name of art or tradition. Or maybe I should say just NO to cruelty in any form.
September 12, 2013 at 10:00 am
Near where i’m from, bulfighting is a really strong tradition, and everyone is crazy about it. But the bull goes back to its farm afterwards.
The bulfight is not really a fight, it’s more like playing. And the only ones getting hurt are the men. It resembles the way peasants would defend themselves during work in the fields back in the old days.
It’s not called “tourada”, it’s called “capeia”.
September 12, 2013 at 10:04 am
Well said, Mr. Schuman.
September 12, 2013 at 10:07 am
I’m Spanish girl and I also hate that bull have to be killed in bullfighting. In Spain there is also much controversy about bullfighting and I think a large percentage of the population is against it. However, I’m also able to admire the tradition, art and culture around the bullfighting, one thing doesn’t exclude the other. I think in this chapter you’ve expressed exactly what most Spanish people feel and… by the way I love all your AOL’s videos! I really liked what you’ve written here because it’s perhaps one of the endless debates that exist in Spain ( bullfighting yes or no) but politicians and different sectors of the population are continually fighting in place to express their opinions in a polite way and trying to build new ideas. So once again…hurrah for your post!
September 12, 2013 at 10:09 am
Having lived in Madrid for 1 year, I think you captured the spirit of bullfighting perfectly, although I wish there was know on the spirit of the fans and spectator, because to me, they make the show. Bullfighting is the only sport that the audience gets to decide what honor the participant deserves. They are interlinked and an integral part of the sport, the passion, the glory, the heartbreak, the brutality. Regardless of what someone thinks of this sport personally, it is rooted in the history of Spain and is a cultural experience not to be missed.
September 12, 2013 at 10:11 am
much as i appreciate your suggestion to modernize this sport and spare the bull’s life in future, i’m afraid the whole idea of bull fighting is to weaken the animal in a strategic, deliberate way so as to be able to kill it (and literally free it from it’s misery) after a while.
yes, all over the planet cows and bulls get killed sooner or later. this fact of life would be more bearable if they were killed (and transported) in a humane way, with as little fear and suffering as possible. and this is where bull fighting goes terribly wrong. the animals are teased and hurt, and they often die a horrible death. not all toreadors are expert killers from the start, and most of the mistakes they make are at the cost of the bull.
my point being, and to answer your question: modernizing the sport doesn’t take away the teasing of the animal. it has no choice but to partake.
i’m not foaming at the mouth, nor do i mean to be disrespectful to anyone. i just wish people would be more respectful to animals.
September 12, 2013 at 10:13 am
As a teenager spending my summers in the Basque region I was in love the matadors! Every summer there was a new one to fall in love with! I loved all of it, but I must say now as I am older and a mom the brutality of it does bother me. I just can’t get over the fact that you actually got in the ring, I’m impressed.
September 12, 2013 at 10:22 am
I have attended bullfights for most of my life, in various forms in various places. The first problem is the English name; it’s not a fight, nor do I think it a sport, it’s a ritualised slaughter and the point is the elegance, spectacle and economy of that goal. A messy death = a bad bout, but no mistake, there has to be a death, one way or the other; the point is that it may not be the bull. As I eat meat and wear and use leather and other skins, I have no problem with the premise of the Corrida but, as we know, others do and one respects their choice not to attend. But as I mentioned on the original post, this is not the only type of “bullfight”. In the south of France they have the traditional Corrida but they also have a fight called the Course which consists of teams of young men (they’re fast), who have to swipe rosettes or ribbons from the horns of a series of bulls over an evening. They start with young bulls, which are frisky, and work their way up to the big old evil ones. In this game the team members mainly compete with each other to grab ribbons bravely and it all has to be done with lots of athleticism and some individual style (there is no armour or defence for the players, they wear white trousers, shoes and shirts, sometimes a red sash, nothing else). It’s very exciting and a very good for showing off to the girlfriend. Of course, because the bulls aren’t killed (though they do get very annoyed), they get wise to the tricks from game to game, learn, get wise and become skilled themselves, it’s also very dangerous, sometimes the bulls develop their own reputations. It’s a lot of fun and they sometimes have them in the big Roman Arenas in Arles and Nimes but it’s better to go to one of the village events, most have their own arena. Go next time you’re in the South of France, you’ll have a lot of fun. It’s not as glamorous an event as that of the Corrida but neither are the stakes as high. I just don’t think you can take the blood out of the Corrida without it becoming absurd; blood is blood and death is death; that’s primal.
September 12, 2013 at 10:29 am
My experience with bullfighting came from my Spanish conceptual, installation art professor in college. She, as many Spaniards do, felt it was so, so cruel. Hard to watch and difficult to handle. But she also pointed out that it is an art form (which other comments mentioned) and it is a cultural heritage. Let’s not approach this with dichotomous thinking- good vs. bad, etc. It’s a cultural dance that is so incredibly rich… and brutal and cruel. Ugh. Yes. Let’s modify it. Let’s discover how to keep the intensity intact and our compassion intact. It is a marvel to watch. Also, Almodovar’s “Talk to Her” sticks with me for its portrayal of a female matador. Intensity.
September 12, 2013 at 10:31 am
your video is beautifully filmed and the fashion in it is inspiring. i doubt that any of these critics is doing anything to help bulls in spain or anywhere else.. why don’t they make videos that express their personal values instead of just attacking yours? i don’t see links to any beautiful, inspiring, fashion videos in these blog comments by people who disagree with you…
I am Portuguese, in my country we have bullfighting in a slightly different style. The bullfighter is on horseback and the bull is not killed in the arena. Here in Portugal, like in Spain, there is a strong debate going on over this activity. Growing up in Ribatejo (the region where bullfighting tradition runs strongest) I always saw bullfighting as something normal, but I gradually became aware of the problems bullfighting presents. I am indeed divided and I wish there could be an informed debate on this matter that does not devolve into fundamentalist and demagogy.
September 12, 2013 at 10:59 am
Life is rich, complex, dualistic. Bullfighting is bullfighting. It couldn’t be otherwise. It’s ALL good and VERY beautiful.
September 13, 2013 at 4:56 am
September 12, 2013 at 11:01 am
I’m from México were there is a BIG tradition of bull fighting, wich I hate I think it’s really cruel! But I agree with you I think people shouldn’t post just hateful comments. I really liked what you proposed as an alternative! I also read the comment about how it’s done in France and it actualy sounds really good!
September 12, 2013 at 11:15 am
Lots of good points here (and, full disclosure, I am a huge fan of Spanish bullfighting.) Another point that many people do not realize is that a bull that puts up a fair and brave fight will get “pardoned” and led out of the ring rather than getting killed. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, there is an incredible wave of emotion in the audience.
As for the clothes, you mention that the formal costume is terribly masculine. True, but the costume also includes pink tights and ballet slippers! Not most people’s definition of masculine attire… which is what makes things even more interesting. Indeed, the costume incorporates all aspects of masculinity –including a man’s “feminine side”. That is, in my mind, why it is so very beautiful.
September 12, 2013 at 11:23 am
I like how you (Scott) seem to be a true fan of sports. I think that the video showed me how to see the beauty in bullfighting (which I know nothing about). I like when I have an opportunity to learn how other people appreciate things, especially things I might not have liked myself.
September 12, 2013 at 11:25 am
You are sorry the bull “has” to be killed?
That’s the point–he doesn’t have to be killed. He is killed because you and others consider the slow torture and slaughter of an animal a kind of sport or entertainment.
September 23, 2013 at 4:26 pm
The bull has to be killed like any other livestock. Actually its meatis delicious. Have you ever tasted “rabo de toro” or “caldereta”? Don´t forget what those animals are; they are bred for a purpose (they wouldn´t exist without human intervention, like many dog races).
They are pampered until the day they die, and they receive the most decent and respectable death an animal of that kind can receive.
September 12, 2013 at 11:28 am
My great grandfather was born in the Basque region, perhaps bullfighting is in my DNA; that may explain why I don’t feel any conflict between loving animals and respecting the art of bullfighting.
September 12, 2013 at 11:37 am
I agree, the bull should not be killed. The larger problem is that he shouldn’t be in the ring in the first place. That the bull’s sole human-defined purpose in life is to feature in a human entertainment is soul-crushing. I would much rather keep the ring and the exquisitely adorned matadors, but let them goad and fight each other as willing opponents. It would be much more compelling.
September 12, 2013 at 12:13 pm
I don’t agree with the concept of bullfighting, it is a cruel way to kill an animal. And yes, animals die every day in this country, but I am also a vegetarian for that reason.
September 12, 2013 at 12:28 pm
I loved the video of the bullfight. I happen to have collected books on bullfighting for many years. I find it a far more fascinating sport than the running of the bulls every year where that is just blatant collateral damage. Bullfighting is akin to a ballet in my opinion. So perhaps performing it more as that form of entertainment would update it for today’s palettes.
Some of the books on bullfighting are: ‘Bullfighting Art, Technique & Spanish Society’ by John McCormick, ‘The Death of Manolete’ by Barnaby Conrad, ‘The Bullfight” a photographic narrative with text by Norman Mailer, “How To Enjoy A Bull Fight’ with text and photogarphs by Dick Frontain, I have others but one more of interest is: ‘Aficionado! The Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Fiesta de Toros of Spain’ by Vincent J-R Kehoe. It is an absolutely fascinating sport with much history.
September 12, 2013 at 12:31 pm
Thanks for responding to us that had an issue with your bullfighting post. But you missed the point – there’s no need to use animals for our enjoyment. That bull must experience A LOT of stress whether he gets killed or not. Why do that to another living thing when it’s completely unnecessary? That, my friend, is the issue.
September 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm
I do understand how people may be hurt about bullfighting but I do agree with all the Spanich people that gave their cultural point of view on that.
I am French and from South of France where bulls are part of the cultural aspect of the area. Of course, there is some Bullfighting but also another sport which is called : they are called “course de raseteur” or “course camarguaise” (I do not even think there is a word in english for that).
Some colorful pompoms are fixed to a bull head on the forehead and horns. The aim is to go without any protection in the arena and took off the pompom.Bulls are not armed in any way. To those who may think it is not a sport they can look those videos (unfortunately they are just in French).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWnxNFeVoI0 Hope this will give you a good idea of the Camargue spirit. I think those people are really lovers of bulls and some bulls became a legend for their fighting spirit.
September 12, 2013 at 12:44 pm
Bullfighting cannot be experienced as a sport. It is an art and a ritual. It’s deeply embedded in culture. A fighting bull is an awesome animal, bred for rage and malevolence. The point of all the “cruelty” is to weaken the bull before its final kill, which is the moment of greatest risk for the matador. The matador has to reach over the horns to place the sword. If at that moment the bull thrusts its horns upward, he will catch the matador. Sometimes the bull is spared, but rarely. The problem is that bulls are very smart. If a bull that had previously been spared found its way into the ring once more, the matador would have no chance. When I see a bullfight, I go to see the bulls slaughtered as well. I see men in rubber boots wade through pools of blood and gore. But that’s not why I became a vegetarian. The bulls are full of life when they enter the ring. The cows we eat know only fear when they enter the industrialized killing floors of the modern slaughterhouse. That’s the cruelty I can’t stand–mechanized killing.
September 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm
You are a brave man Scott. Thank you for being thoughtful and daring. The world is not Back & White.
September 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm
Indeed bull fighting is an art, a “fiesta brava”, a ritual rather than a sport therefore the impossibility to propose it as a competitive affair. While controversial bullfighting does represent the “soul” of Spain (not of everybody in Spain nowadays obviously), its history of pain, cruelty and sacrifice, from conquest to reconquest, empire and civil war, but also of dignity, garbo, valor, elegance and art. In that sense bullfighting is a metaphor of such which ends in the final sacrifice of the bull, the ever present loneliness and vulnerability of the “matador”. History attests of the death of so many of them. Beyond the discussion of the legitimacy of “toreo” and its cruelty, The Sartorialist has done justice to its elegance and style, specially when drawing over the “Traje de Luces” another peculiarity of the ritual: among the bravest of Spanish men the “Torero” dresses almost like a ballerina.
September 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm
Precioso!!! Increible! The Film is wonderfull and you know the Spanisch Culture very Good! I am very impresive how You explain the Feeling. I am living in Germany and i was in the Plaza de Toros with my douther and my son and they mind that everybody who Talk Bad about bullfiggting, they have to go once to a Good CORRIDA and than they can Talk about this. The Most People Don,t know really what they Talk about. My Kids are very impresive and this Year my son was in Madrid in Las Ventas with two Friends from Germany and they was very happy. VIVA LA CORRIDA De TOROS!!! Y tu eres muy valiente. Descubri tu Video en Garances Blog. Besos Yolanda
September 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm
I went to a corrida in Spain when I was 16. Therefore, I am allowed to say I hated it and will never go again. :)
(By the way, there a few mistakes in some comments: for example, they DO kill the bulls in many french bullfighting events).
September 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm
The French Corrida events have participants from all over southern Europe and reflect all those traditions in the form of the event.Yes, they kill the bulls in the Corrida but not in the Course Camarguaise; they are different things, even if they involve bulls and happen in the same part of the country.
September 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm
understanding is not required. just move on
September 12, 2013 at 2:03 pm
As a former teacher, I would tell my students that we are going to learn about concepts, issues, and people that will inevitably conflict with our own worldviews. But our job as lifelong learners is to keep an open mind (especially about things we do not agree with), articulate how we feel, and ultimately develop our own opinions in a respectful way (even if they are at odds with others). I may not agree with bullfighting or the running of the bulls, but the duality of perspectives offered in your video, and the artistry of your approach are beautiful.
September 12, 2013 at 2:29 pm
I was in Spain in the early 1990′s and went to the Corrida in Madrid to check it out. It was fascinating. The old men smoking their cigars, the gorgeous matadors, the heat, the dust, and the bulls. They were so beautiful! The dance between the little man and giant beast, the red cape, the sword! However, when the first bull was killed I thought I was going to faint. I had never seen a living thing killed before my eyes like that! It was quite shocking. I had no idea. Yet, at the same time, I realized I was witnessing an ancient ritual enacted in modern times. Man versus beast… Ritual slaughter… I will never forget that experience. It’s a difficult issue for sure but it’s there and has been for centuries. It has survived for a reason. Maybe more people should see the real thing before pronouncing? It certainly gives one pause and raises many questions worthy of consideration.
September 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm
As an English person who grew up with the idea that bull fighting is horrible and inhumane and should be banned, the video seemed at first blissfully ignorant of the cruelty of this tradition. But we banned fox hunting in this country and folk still go out hunting. I’m not saying that the same thing would happen in Spain, but sometimes when a tradition is not honoured the darkness in man is channelled into other outlets. I find the increasing ‘sanitising’ of cultures and traditions to be a little dishonest in their acknowledgement of the human experience. I’m not saying we should torture and main innocent animals for pleasure, but I value the debate in Spanish culture surrounding bullfighting that I’m hearing about through this blog as it seems to explore the dilemma the modern world faces between honouring heritage and culture while trying to move forward. Thank- you Scot for listening to your readers, and creating space to reflect.
September 12, 2013 at 3:08 pm
Bullfighting has never been a sport…and it´ll never grow to universal appeal. It is a local, primitive, mediterranean art/ritual, which has its roots in myths back to ancient Greece. The torero is so exposed you have to see it once to believe it…Toreo would not be the unique concept it is without the strongest of threats clinging in the air…and the one-on-one final duel where the beast meets its fate…and yet the reverse might happen. The plasticity of it all is beyond words, of course..
September 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm
I am glad you did not fall one sided into the animal protection aspect of it in the film. You showed grace, elegance and courage. Strangely I felt a kind of calm and peacefulness in Sebastian’s movement. Just like a dance.
September 12, 2013 at 4:35 pm
What is with you people? Spaniards had been bullfighting since time immemorial. Inuits had been hunting whales for hundreds of years, too. It is a tradition, period. Just like the very American tradition of killing millions of turkeys every year to celebrate Thanksgiving.
September 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm
I am not into unnecessary death by any means. Especially at the hands of man.
I love the juxtaposition of the shows with the death of a bull in the ring. Artfully done.
September 12, 2013 at 6:25 pm
I think the piece was wonderful!! I agree some thought should be given to revising the rules of the sport today. However, all you belligerent fools writing rage filled posts here should divert you rage to other crueler human practices; perhaps start with virtually all poultry products you consume. Bulls from bull fighting actually live wonderful lives. All you know is what you see on TV from across the pond, which is unfair to use in judging the sport.
Stop with the ignorant and inappropriate comments, please.
September 12, 2013 at 6:53 pm
Easy! Look to France that has a humane approach to bullfighting!
Beatriz Álvarez de la Osa
September 12, 2013 at 7:05 pm
I love my country, Spain is different. This is Art.
September 12, 2013 at 7:12 pm
I think that the spanish culture is certainly strong enough to continue to prosper without the parts that mis-treat animals.
That’s the amazing thing about human culture…it’s always evolving! Keep the good parts and move away from the bad.
September 12, 2013 at 10:15 pm
The problem with updating this sport is that how can you update a ‘sport’ (if we must call it that) when we can’t really ask the bull how he would like to participate in this sport or even if he would like to at all. As much as it might have been an art form once and it has a sense of eloquence, its definitely something that should be now left for the history books. It’s inhumane and not fair. I’m Portuguese where it is also a ‘sport’ so I’m not from the outside screaming blind rage. It’s just not right anymore in 2013. In fact using animals for any sport, game where they are being antagonised or mistreated is not right.
September 12, 2013 at 10:16 pm
I didn’t think the previous comments were rage-filled, they seemed quite moderate to me. I assume there were may others far less moderate that were not published. I agree it’s good to have debate, but it should be polite and respectful.
It makes me laugh when people pretend to be so concerned. Where do you think your $5000 prada shoes come from? The grass. Take a quick look at the meat industry. THAT IS WHAT WE SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT. It is such a colonial view to say look at those barbaric Spanish people. The American meat industry is incredibly barbaric.
September 13, 2013 at 12:34 pm
Who says we are not concerned about other forms of cruelty? We are commenting about Bullfighting at the moment, but I for one have a lot of other concerns other than bullfighting, a big one being the food industry and where our food comes from. Should we write down then when arguing a point about everything we find unfair to justify our argument at that moment?
September 12, 2013 at 10:32 pm
My friend and I were in Spain to ride horses on the Camino Trail. While in Madrid we thought attending a bullfight would be an “artistic” Spanish experience. The conscierge at our hotel warned us, “I don’t think you will like it. Americans have a very hard time with the bullfight. Even I have trouble, and I am Spanish, of course.” I think we felt like a cultural gauntlet had been thrown, so we went. As predicted, we were horrified, and unable to see what was happening through any lens but our animal-loving, dog-rescuing own. Luckily, as we rode our horses on the Camino we met a man whose son-in-law is a matador. He became the apologist for toreo, and over the course of our many days of riding became a source of inspiration. We didn’t change our opinions of the bullfight for ourselves, but we had a broader perspective. And coincidentally, the picture of the matador in your film that was on the blog a year or so ago has been my screensaver since then!
September 12, 2013 at 11:07 pm
Scott – you lost me. Bull fighting is a cruel and inhumane. Period. I get the fashion cross over with the bull fighting costume. The suits and the cape ARE exquisite and of another world. I wish you had stopped there. Killing animals – in the name of art is disgusting. I cringe to think of your take on the gladiator sandal.
September 12, 2013 at 11:29 pm
I have always had a bit of a fascination with bullfighting, but I didn’t realize they killed the bull until several years ago. I think that is cruel, but I do think there is definitely room improve the sport so that the bull’s life is spared and the excitement remains for the fans.
Héctor Muñoz Huerta
September 13, 2013 at 1:12 am
Most modern wealthy societies are blind to the actual struggle and violence of life happening in nature and between humans around the world but at the same time are very well adjusted to images of fiction violence and bloodshed in movies and TV.
Animals die horribly in slaughter houses and in nature all the time but the fact that wealthy people have never twisted the neck of a chicken or bled a goat to feed themselves makes them detached from this reality.
Bullfighting is violent and also beautiful. It’s not done for the appreciation of suffering -as the bull is killed quick and in the most painless way the fighter can- but for the appreciation of struggle, bravery and the raw violence of the bull.
Bulls that fight live incredible lives in the outdoors compared to cattle who live and die in miserable conditions.
your updating idea still creates a “man versus beast” situation, not purely fighter against fighter. Even if the bull isn’t killed he is forced into a major stress situation that is – inhuman. Your comparison to fencing lacks in the same regard. Life or death or just about points, there are two opponents that were able to choose to partake in a challenge. The bull doesn’t get a chance to choose. He is chosen to suffer and in the non-updated version to die a cruel death.
For entertainment reasons.
September 13, 2013 at 5:04 am
Did any of you who are disgusted by bullfighting, which as others has already commented, is an art and not a sport, ever see how the animals that we eat each day are treated? Unless you’re all vegetarians I think your disgust is somewhat misplaced. These animals live a relatively good life.
September 13, 2013 at 5:15 am
Thank you so much for this wonderful episode about “corrida”.
I’m a french “aficionada” and I can’t stop loving this, even after reading all these comments…
It’s all about life and courage, and if you don’t agree with that, it means that you are not able to see life like it is: wonderful but also hard and crual.
September 13, 2013 at 7:27 am
Once again, even after my first message, I see that people continue to suggest looking at french corrida for a way to improvement.
In many corridas, for example in Nîmes and other places in the South, they kill the bull, of course. They also cut the ears, and sometimes the tail.
This is a true misconception to pretend we are less barbaric in France (I am french so I know about it). The future of corrida is not to be found in our country.
For the rest, keep up with the good work Scott.
September 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm
You are absolutely correct, the French Corrida slaughters the bulls but in the Camargue, Le Course does not. They are not the same thing.
September 13, 2013 at 8:19 am
I find it odd sometimes that we fight for cruelty against animals whilst human beings are still so incredibly cruel to each other.
September 13, 2013 at 9:26 am
Stella, you make a good point. However, I think cruelty is reinforced early on in life out of disregard for “lower” forms of life. Cruelty is always inflicked on the weak and defenceless. Perhaps if we all learned to treat animals better, our human relations also would naturally improve.
September 14, 2013 at 12:36 am
You might be right on that score. And vice versa I suppose :)
September 13, 2013 at 9:04 am
BULLFIGHTING IS DEFINITELY NOT A SPORT. IT IS AN ATROCITY.
IN CATALONIA (AND ALSO LOTS OF SPANISH PEOPLE) WE HAVE BEEN FIGHTING TO BAN THIS CRUEL TRADITION, SO YOU SHOULD UNDERSTAND SOME PEOPLE DON’T WRITE POLITE WORDS IN THIS POST.
Beatriz M. M.
September 13, 2013 at 11:40 am
HI!Congratulations for all your work!
On what concerns you challenge of updating bullfighting art, let me tell you that we, the Portuguese people, have done it more than a century ago. We do not kill the bull! And our show is a bit different. We also have 2 types of “corrida”: a pie /on foot (spanish style) and á Portuguesa (on horse) , the last one incluiding a whole new scale of how to “torear”/fight the bull and its rules. (Nothing to do with picadores…)
But on both cases, the bull is never to be killed (it is against the law). I invite you next time you go to Spain, go also to the neighbouring country, Portugal, and you will find great surprises on bullrings and on hospitality and food!
Cheers! Take care! Beatriz M.M.
September 13, 2013 at 11:50 am
The problem with this comparison to fencing is that two humans can consent to fight. An animal cannot. Any sport than involves a man fighting an animal is, by its nature, exploitative. I have attended bullfights and do not feel any romance or nostalgia toward this “sport”. It should be abolished. Let the bullfight live on in fashion alone, and be done with the blood.
September 13, 2013 at 11:53 am
When I was watching the first minute or so of your second episode I unwisely jumped to the conclusion that your feature would focus on the style and pzazz of the sport without acknowledging the conflict, but how wrong I was! Fair play to you for addressing the nay-sayers in a way that opens up a forum.
September 13, 2013 at 12:53 pm
In Spain the bullfught is an art. In fact, the rules are supervised by the Ministery of Culture.
September 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm
Bullfight is not consider a sport but an art. It’s true that there is a sort of ranking of toreros, but people doesn’t care about it.
Who is better, Goya or Velazquez? It depends just on your point of view, the style you like the most. Each torero has his own style. Some are elegants, some more “gitanos”, etc. Like painters, everyone has their own influences and they show it in front of the bull.
One of the most beautiful thinks that could happen in a corrida is that if there is a very good bull, who stablishes a kind of magical conection with the torero and offer a great spectacle, it’s not killed. The torero put his hand on the bull instead of killing him.
Regarding if it’s human or not to kill an animal… Well, I was able to discuss this when I was a vegetarian. Now I eat meat, so I don’t think the bull killed on the corrida has suffered more than the one which meat was in my launch.
Sorry abouy my poor English. I just wanted to say my opinion.
September 13, 2013 at 8:06 pm
People obviously have differing opinions about this. It’s hard for me to understand why anyone would find torturing and enraging animal–or even taunting an animal and not hurting it physically–entertaining.
I generally try to understand opposing points of view and certainly cultural practices other than my own (and the U.S. is certainly not cruelty-free), but I hope that bullfighting is something that I never understand. And tradition and beautiful matador costumes don’t make it any more palatable.
September 15, 2013 at 4:14 am
Its not the taunting or enraging that is the sport. Its the act of putting your skill to the test against the better and stronger physicality of the animal that is the sport. I am sure you know that. Don’t be coy. I am not comfortable with the sport. But its easy to understand the appeal. Personally I wouldn’t do it or watch it. But then I got queasy when I watched a kickboxing match too. I don’t like blood. Bullfighting is an extremely dangerous activity, and I do appreciate the skill and courage involved. Is it worth the price…well thats hard to say.
September 13, 2013 at 8:58 pm
Coming from a family that is a fanatic of bullfighting it has never been easy proving to them how sadistic and barbaric is to kill an animal just for sport. I can understand the backlash but to each their own for some is part of their culture so I wouldn’t go as far as insulting them as a person for something they can’t change. Bullfighting has been around for centuries so traditions can’t be change from one day to another.
September 13, 2013 at 10:10 pm
Love the comments by all the spaniards that have a better understanding of this. I live in a little country in the middle of the Americas, and we have some form of bullfighting similar to what has been described here to be done in France. There seems to be a similar and long tradition in many parts of the world.
I personally find it a little hard to see an traditional spaniard bullfight, but I see it no worse than what happens in any slaughterhouse. I agree with the commenters above, those bulls in ‘corridas’ lead a kings life compared to the cows that were used to make the patty for the McDonalds patty you just ate. In a corrida the death itself for the bull is no worse than what it could be in the wildlife.
Don’t try to fool yourself. Anyone that eats meat and uses leather, by default has no problem with the killing of animals for human needs and pleasure. (I eat meat and use leather btw) I find more repulsive the gluttony that leads to obesity in humans and the killing of more animals than necessary.
Also, anyone that thinks that a vegetarian diet saves animals lives, should reconsider their premises and investigate how much damage and agriculture can bring to smaller species (or the production of cotton for that matter).
Scott – you did a wonderful job. Your point was on the beauty, the contrast, the culture, the experience and YOUR view. Excellent work. I hope all of this discussion leads to more education and respect of other cultures as well as the whole ‘animal cruelty topic’.
September 13, 2013 at 10:19 pm
As a life longVeggie,I have problems with animal cruelty.
The bull fight I saw in Seville was a travesty, with a drugged bull and 20 guys trying to kill a bull as slowly as possible.
I can understand the need for meat consumption in a society.
Sometimes the nutrients needed for human survival aren’t there and you still need to eat. But as a seasoned traveller, I never had to succumb to that yet. But then I haven’t been on the poles or in the desert long enough…
The thing here is that the animals don’t have any say in getting into these practices, and we humans end up breeding fur coats and in this case entertainment.
I can understand that one could reason yourself out of eating meat as a necessity but the latter things aren’t necessary.
The bulls are being bred to fight because the cows are inseminated artificially these days . So the twenty bulls that were once needed to run a large dairy farm are now cut back to three
Tradition you say.. Jewish law had the tradition of stoning infidel women and Islamic sharia had the tradition of cutting the hands of thieves off. Western law had quartering by horse (strangely enough depicted on the most sold clothing item in the world). Do we want them back ??
I hope not, the thing with youth and progression is breaking tradition. And these are things that are widely recognized to be out of time
And the thing that struck me as odd was this, you are always looking for that new look, or a new way to look in your photo’s but here you want to keep the status quo. You can’t have new and groundbreaking things without breaking traditions and in my opinion the world will shine a little brighter without fur coats and bull fighting.
The new world found a new way into keeping the bull alive.. It’s called rodeo, look it up …the animals aren’t there by choice either and sometimes treated poorly but here the rider is the one with the shortest straw and he’s without the numbers, knives and swords.
September 15, 2013 at 2:34 am
Wow, great post in its perspective, insight, and recognition. As a paleo diet devotee, I applaud your open-mindedness.
By the way, I often feel the lifestyle I admire most would be that of the cowboy – salt of the earth, tough as nails, and unadorned… but heck, I do love fashion.
September 13, 2013 at 11:33 pm
I don’t know much about the sport, but I know more now than I did. Thanks, not only for showing the beauty, but for opening the door of discussion.
September 14, 2013 at 4:05 am
You wished, that people would taken more time to write a respectful and thoughtful comment rather than just showing strong feelings and I would have expected, that you explained your intentions of the photos in the first place. For me it’s not always just about showing good pictures. A photographer should show awareness and responsibility of the content of a picture.
I personally was shocked, that you not just showed such pictures, but also that you didn’t even explained the content. On the other side the user comments didn’t surprised me at all.
September 14, 2013 at 5:44 am
Bullfighting is NOT a sport.
It’s performance art by nature and in Spanish law.
September 14, 2013 at 8:07 am
I understand the controversity, but behind the “National Party”, yes, this is it name, “Fiesta Nacional”, there are more than the bulls dead. Thank you for your sensibility, Sarto. I think the people in America may understand the differents cultures with an axample: in Spain all people has Universal Health, if you need a surgery or a heart transplant is free for averyone, so when we listen that in USA people dies because they don’t have money for a surgery, we shock in the same way.
September 14, 2013 at 11:56 am
As many others said before me, the Corrida is not a sport, but an art. An art about life and death, about seduction and cruelty; about sun, shadows, blood and sand, black and all the shining colors you can find in a toreador suit; about the Beauty and the Beast. In some way, the Corrida is a sort of symbolic mise-en-scène about the struggle between Nature (a role played by the bull) and humans; between strength and grace; between the masculine (the bull) and the feminine (the matador). I insist, it’s not a simple sport, but a Cosmogony about Kaos and Logos.
But now that we seem horrofied about any idea of death, that we put dying people into hospitals, trying to avoid the fact that all of us are going to die, as if it was something repulsive; now that we’re so proud of living in increasingly aseptic societies, guided by a stupid and childish idea about good and evil (and nature), maybe we should not forget that cruelty and death are a part of human nature, a part of the human experience, even if you can’t stand it. And from this perspective, the Corrida is an artistic way to ritualize death and cruelty, a ritual sacrifice. A better one, I think than killling children and burying them in the backyard because all this violence inside.
September 14, 2013 at 3:30 pm
Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.
September 14, 2013 at 9:09 pm
Scott, take just a second to think. Anytime you have an animal being cornered and attacked, as in bullfighting or any “new”version thereof, the animal is terrified. Are we really supposed to be thrilled by “stylishness”while watching another living creature in total distress? Have we stooped that low?
September 15, 2013 at 4:16 am
Hi, here in Spain bullfighting is not considered an sport but an art. If you look at it as an art you may find yourself asking why seduction is involved in bullfighting.
I’m not in favor of bullfighting, but i don’t commit to the behavior of judging another expression of human consciousness just because i don’t see myself reflected on it.
September 15, 2013 at 4:20 pm
I LOVE how constructive you think. You don’t put yourself boundaries like “This is just a fashion blog and it should remaint like that, I can’t discuss any politic-sociological issues hear.” And I guess that makes you an artist. Long story short: Way to go Sart!
September 16, 2013 at 7:34 am
I read the comments posted on this blog about the bull-fighting episode and I didn’t see any of them tearing down what you did, just expressing disappointment about you glamorizing animal abuse dressed up as art and protected by tradition.
September 16, 2013 at 10:25 am
I truly loved this episode. Beautifully shot images and you really approached the topic on a great way.
September 16, 2013 at 11:31 am
really good job!
September 16, 2013 at 6:20 pm
As a Spaniard and daughter of a dye in the wool aficionado, I am fairly acquainted with the world of bullfighting. I myself don´t condone any kind of animal abuse, and tradition is not an excuse. And yes, I am against bullfighting and the other festivities that involve bulls or other animals (bous al carrer is not exactly a picnic in the park for the bulls, either, and boy, it is MASSIVE in Spain, I am glad that September and the village festivals are almost over!).
Having said that, there´s the aesthetic aspect of bullfighting-the “traje de luces” or skintight jacket and trousers, the devastating beauty of the animal, the whole atmosphere at the ring that I can relate to. So why not use it in an innocent photo shoot? Fair enough. Scott looks amazing as a matador. To all the righteous haters out there, I invite you to check out how farm animals are being treated-unless you are all vegans, I don´t think anyone has the moral authority to judge others.
September 16, 2013 at 9:56 pm
A SPORT?? You totally missed the essence of bullfighting, I am afraid. No one in Spain considers it a sport, supporters or haters.
I don’t like it, I am against it. But those bulls have better lives -and often deaths- than many of the animals we eat, only that we don’t get to see it. Yes, they do get killed. And where do all you think steaks, shoes and purses come from?
September 17, 2013 at 5:36 am
The “Corridas de toros” are pure art, and something so special of our culture.
Bravo Scott!! Olé!!
September 22, 2013 at 3:07 pm
Did that culture are you talking about?you must be joking.If it is culture rather be the most uneducated person in the world
September 17, 2013 at 8:30 pm
There is a no-kill version of bull fighting.
It happens here in California among the Portuguese community. Here, the bull has a patch of fabric on its withers (where the shoulder blades meet), and instead of throwing a spear at the animal, a hooked stick is thrown, which then attaches to the patch on the animal’s back. After a certain number of “hits”, the match is over, bull still alive.
Having seen this, and the other elements of Portuguese bullfighting, I can say it’s every bit as thrilling as a bullfight in which the animal is killed at the end.
September 19, 2013 at 12:32 pm
I enjoyed your piece, especially because it did not feature one of the more overexposed toreros on the scene. I especially thought that the bit with the tailor was excellent. One thing that I would like to make more clear though is that bullfighting to the Spanish is not a sport at all. It is considered art. Bullfighting will not be seen on any sport pages in magazines or newspapers. Rather, all commentary on bullfighting is found in the Culture section. As such, it takes an even more solemn position in the Spanish identify than maybe you or others less knowledgable may have realized.
Like it or loathe it “La Fiesta” will go on!
September 22, 2013 at 10:33 am
The reason bullfighting still exists and why the spanish dont have a problem with it morally because in the end the bull is eaten. It’s more or less like a ritual before the actual consumption of the animal. It’s not really all bad. It’d be worse if the bull ended up just being a pointless sacrifice.
September 25, 2013 at 6:18 am
As a long time reader of your posts, I am utterly in dismay. Of all parts of what you have written, the thing that I disagree with most is the concept of tradition as a reasoning for bull fighting. Not all traditions are good. Surely, if nothing else… we have learned that one thing as human beings? Not wanting to exaggerate, but female genital mutilation also is hidden under the guise of ‘ tradition’ – is it not? Do outdated traditions such as the killing of endangered animals for thieir hides serve any purpose to anyone but as a justification for the person committing the act…. like, these days? Really?? The reliance on tradition as an excuse for any human activity that causes pain or distress to humans or animals is not only outdated, but ignorant. It is ignorant of other species and what we have learned from countless studies (in times when we can use our intelligence for good rather than to find ways to get “more”, faster and without conscience) about their likeness to us (yes, they feel pain, they grieve) and ignorant of the last few decades of human change and growth in finally starting to appreciate our role as stewards and carers of the earth and all it’s inhabitants (rather than to dominate). That said….lets leave tradition out of it.
While i applaud your artistic intent and aesthetic appreciation of beauty in the world. I cannot see how you can condone this ‘sport’. I wholeheartedly wish you would use your profile and talents to convey your understanding and comprehension, in words and images, of how the world is now, rather than glorifying the past for superficial momentary gains in the name of fashion. I am afraid, in glorifying bull fighting and ignoring the clear and evident cruelty that you have now unwittingly advertised as necessary in the name of beauty, you have demonstrated nothing more than superficiality. For that, I am truly at a loss and dare I say, perhaps your loss more so than those who move on to the next big thing on the Internet.
September 25, 2013 at 3:09 pm
you really didn’t read what I wrote did you?
October 1, 2013 at 7:03 pm
Art not sport.
October 5, 2013 at 6:39 am
Fencing is between 2 consenting humans, the bull has no choice to be there either way. Until we can actually communicate with the bull and ask it its opinions and wether or not it would like to take part, there is no updating this ‘sport’ . Some things, no matter how full of beautiful tradition, just need to be left behind. The cruelty breaks my heart.
October 29, 2013 at 12:58 pm
Although you try to disguise dance, sport, tradition or poetry will remain what it is: a cruel act of the darkest years of the deep Spain, which currently has its largest echo tourists and folckloricos.