Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A "Huh" for a Wednesday...

Yep, Sudiegirl skipped yesterday because she was thinking long and hard about this topic. But NOW I am ready to share my FEELINGS with you regarding this matter.

The topic?

The annual "Running of the Bulls" in Pamplona, Spain.

Here is the Wikipedia definition plus a factoid:

Wikipedia definition:

The Running of the Bulls (in Basque, entzierro; in Spanish, el encierro - both literally, "the enclosing") involves running in front of bulls that have been let loose on a course of a sectioned-off subset of a town's streets.

The most famous running of the bulls[1] is that of the nine-day festival of San Fermín in Pamplona, although they are held in towns and villages across Spain during the fiesta season, usually in the run-up to the corrida, or bull-fight, and in some cities in southern France, most notably Bayonne.

Unlike bull fights, which are performed by professionals, anyone may participate in an encierro. Injuries are common, both to the participants who may be gored or trampled, and to the bulls, whose hooves grip poorly on the paved or cobbled street surfaces.

The origin of this custom is the transport of the bulls from the off-site corrals where they had spent the night to the bullring where they would be killed in the evening. Youngsters would jump among them to show off their bravado.
Ernest Hemingway wrote several novels and stories about this festival, including The Sun Also Rises and Death in the Afternoon.
You know, I was never a fan of Hemingway's (even though he cared about kitties). He tried too hard to be "macho", which irritates my substantial ass. Really - it does. The fact that he was cool with such a dangerous thing as this is a big turn-off.

Moreover, here's how they prepare:

Prior to the running of the bulls, wooden or iron barricades are erected along the route that the bulls will follow to block off side streets. To allow runners to quickly enter or exit, the gaps are narrow enough to block a bull but wide enough for a person to slip through.

A rocket is set off to alert townsfolk that the bulls have been released, though shouts of "¡Ahí va! ¡Ahí va!" ("There it goes, there it goes") farther up the street indicate the bulls are near. Those not intending to run quickly head for the barricades or climb onto balconies.

The bulls often become separated and stop running, preferring instead to charge goading spectators. For this reason, a herd of steers are released in a second wave to collect strays. A run is considered good if the bulls flow swiftly. When bulls are distracted along the way, the run gets more dangerous. While many think it is good luck to touch a bull, aficionados frown upon this as it can distract the bull.

The running of the bulls ends with the bulls arriving to the bullring. The bulls are then guided out and some of the runners remain in the ring. Usually bulls or calves are released back into the ring and the remaining runners tease and goad the bulls for the amusement of the crowd.

As you know, I apologize to PETA for my opinions on various things. I don't think they even know I exist, but anyway...I think this is the weirdest thing in the world.

I know it sounds like I'm intolerant of other cultures. Believe me, I'm down with many aspects of Spain and its culture...mojitos, Julio Iglesias, Placido's all good.

But you see those big pointy things on a bull's head? Those are called HORNS. Bulls have a very high capability of goring people with these appendages, and more often than not the victim can easily identify with a shish-kebab. In other words, it ain't purty, y'all.

So is some kind of testosterone rush really worth the chance you take to be dead meat on a bull's horn? I don't think so...and I don't think it's just because I have ovaries.

But WAIT a minute...something is screwy in Pamplona, I hear. A recent news article had this to say (article inserted in its entirety):

Women in the northern Spanish city of Pamplona, world-famous for its ferocious bull-running festival, are demanding their own version complete with cows instead of bulls.

A student website,, set the ball rolling with its campaign "Cows want to run" which asks for a separate encierro, as the bull-runs are known, where only women are allowed to take part.

Women have been allowed to take part in the San Fermin bull-running for some years but they still represent a tiny minority of the thousands of runners who attempt to dodge 600-kilo bulls along an 800-metre course through the streets of Pamplona.

The students say it's only logical that women should have their own bull-run.

"Cows, as well as bulls, have four legs and a natural instinct to run," says their manifesto. "An encierro for cows, would put Pamplona at the vanguard of traditional fiestas with equality for men and women."

Organizers of the festival, which runs from July 7-14, have not responded to the suggestion.

And just what the late Ernest Hemingway, who made the bull-run in Pamplona internationally famous, would have thought will never be known.

Well, I have lots to say about this. Even though my dad didn't farm, I am acquainted with some forms of livestock, so here goes nothing.

  • Uh - don't cows and bulls weigh about the same? Therefore, when one hits you, doesn't it feel about the same, which I think is called "painful"? I believe this same principle applies when one is stepped on by a bovine, although the discomfort is assigned to a different area of the human anatomy?
  • Also, cows have the same capacity for anger/amok-ness that bulls do. The only thing different is that cows have udders, but heifers, steers, and bulls do not.
  • Why on earth would you want to provoke something that weighs a ton?
Next, I want to look at this statement:
"Cows, as well as bulls, have four legs and a natural instinct to run," says their manifesto. "An encierro for cows, would put Pamplona at the vanguard of traditional fiestas with equality for men and women."
Uh - what?

There are many things that have four legs, folks. Let me list a few for you:

Coffee tables
So if we work on a "cow run", aren't we discriminating against other creatures? Really? I mean, I'd pay cash money to go to a weasel run or a beaver run.

This ideology makes me think of the scene in "Meet the Parents" where Robert DeNiro asks Ben Stiller, "I have nipples, you think you could milk me?" Just because you've got four legs doesn't mean you should run amok in the streets of Pamplona, especially if you weigh well over 500 lbs. and have the capacity to turn a Buick into a pancake.

And there are more meaningful ways to establish/maintain equality between the sexes, you know? Like...uh...EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK?

I guess I have to give up my girl card since I don't agree with this, huh?

I end this entry with one of my fave cartoons..."Bully for Bugs"