Sunday, July 8, 2012

Evidence That the Human Race is Weird, but Worth Saving

On Saturday, July 7, 2012, Denver’s Highland neighborhood reenacted for the second consecutive year its own version of the Running of the Bulls, an event that has been a tradition in Pamplona, Spain, for nearly eighty-two thousand years.1

Everything about this looks fun. Educational, too—this photograph
gave us good reason to look up the phrase “carotid artery.”

While the Running of the Bulls is held in many other Spanish cities and also in various other parts of Europe, Mexico, and even (oddly enough) Nevada, the spectacle did not gain worldwide attention until the 1926 publication of Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and—of far more cultural significance—the 1991 release of Billy Crystal’s enduring classic City Slickers.

The event, which is a prelude to a series of bullfights in the Plaza de Toros de Pamplona, has garnered quite a bit of negative publicity in recent years and even protests from the kinds of folks who, for weird reasons they probably can’t even articulate, object to living creatures being stabbed to death for our entertainment.

What the Denver event lacked in injuries, violent deaths,2 and Billy Crystal’s buttcheeks, it more than made up in terms of fishnet stockings, wheels, and blind terror,3 as the bulls in this case were not actual bulls but rather members of the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, who chased participants around a one-kilometer course with wiffle-bats in hand and, without a doubt, murder in their hearts.

Fool—never look behind you! This was almost certainly the last thing this man ever saw.
Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler,
Denver Post.

Proceeds for the event are to go to the Tennyson Center for Children. If we were forced to decide between risking getting killed by an angry 2,000-pound bull to get an adrenaline rush, or getting bopped by a pool noodle for charity, we know what we’d pick. But, of course, both options involve running, which is stupid—so screw ’em both, we’re staying right here on the couch.

It beats being trampled and gored to death, for any number of reasons.
Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler,
Denver Post.

1. All numbers approximate.
2. Fifteen bull runners have died in Pamplona since 1910. But that number reaches into the thousands or even hundreds of thousands if you count all the bull runners who have died in Pamplona of other, non-bull-related causes, such as fright, cancer, old age, and death. So, really, running with the bulls is horrifically dangerous.
3. Possibly nose rings, too.

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