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Bullfighting: is it an art?

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"Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value judgements".

Well, that's exactly what a bullfight is to me!. I look forward your comments!

Sounds like you need to re-evaluate your metaphysical value judgement to me.

It is not art. It is a sport.

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Isn't bullfighting mostly staged? I don't mean to say that there is not risk involved, but my understanding was that bullfighting events only end one way. That being said, isn't the purpose of bullfighting for the crowd to take pleasure in the conquest of the animal?

That's more art than sport. And it's not good art. It reminds me of dueling, where the purpose is for someone to gain at the death of another. I know that it is an animal that is dying, but I have to presume the matador will never die. If there was a chance he would, then bullfighting is like a barbaric gladitorial contest. This is what inspired me to compare it to a duel. The matador is not conquering the bull, because the game is fixed. Compelling and exciting at points, reflecting a semi-rational metaphysical value-judgment (man over nature via reason), but overall it falls short for that reason.

If two men were competing against each other in how fast or how well they could kill the bull, that would be more legitimate as a sport. If a film or a painting portrayed an actual struggle between man and beast, that would be legitimate art.

But I find the actual killing of a creature, when the whole things is staged and phoney anyway, to be a bit out of taste.

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That was the definition of art, and I think bullfighting suits it. It is the recreation on reality: mans struggle to command nature. And there are values involved: bravery, self-steem, courage

I think the wider question of "does a performance such as dance qualify as art?" is more important here. Bullfighting is as much a performance as ballet, and given what I know about bullfighting, it is closer to dance than sport or pure entertainment. You should note that recreation of reality is a necessary but not sufficient factor in determining what is or is not art. What sort of metaphysical value judgment is present in dance? What sort of metaphysical value judgment is present in bullfighting? I question whether or not moving in a particular fashion could really ever qualify as a metaphysical value judgment of any sort. The presence of value expression is not what is meant here, what is meant is a value judgment of what the artist thinks reality is or is not and how one deals with reality. If any performance is to be art, it is bullfighting, because there involves more than just a conglomeration of movements merely to kill a bull. The matador moves in a particular way for a particular reason to quite literally command nature through the use of reason rather than brute force like the bull. Bravery or courage are not the primary things to take into consideration if you want to argue that bullfighting is art.

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The matador is not conquering the bull, because the game is fixed.

A lot of art is "fixed." Roark becoming a successful architect in The Fountainhead was fixed because Rand made it that way. The plot could proceed in no other way than how Rand wanted it to proceed.

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Isn't bullfighting mostly staged? I don't mean to say that there is not risk involved, but my understanding was that bullfighting events only end one way. That being said, isn't the purpose of bullfighting for the crowd to take pleasure in the conquest of the animal?

That's more art than sport. And it's not good art. It reminds me of dueling, where the purpose is for someone to gain at the death of another. I know that it is an animal that is dying, but I have to presume the matador will never die. If there was a chance he would, then bullfighting is like a barbaric gladitorial contest. This is what inspired me to compare it to a duel. The matador is not conquering the bull, because the game is fixed. Compelling and exciting at points, reflecting a semi-rational metaphysical value-judgment (man over nature via reason), but overall it falls short for that reason.

If two men were competing against each other in how fast or how well they could kill the bull, that would be more legitimate as a sport. If a film or a painting portrayed an actual struggle between man and beast, that would be legitimate art.

But I find the actual killing of a creature, when the whole things is staged and phoney anyway, to be a bit out of taste.

There is actually competition among matadores in a bullfight. They compete for public apreciation (the aclamation of the crowd is the measure) materialized in trophys (ears, tale) that are given to the bullfighter. Some bullfighters have been killed and many injured by bulls (every year) and some bulls get the right no to be killed, but I don't think that makes the bullfighing a sport, or has anything to do with the game being fixed. The point is: it's not a game, it is art.

The purpose is not to kill the bull, the whole thing has to do with how you kill it (acording to some rules and standards), and what emotions and values does the matador transmit to his public.

It has captivated many artists in history, from Goya to Picasso.

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"Yes, the bull usually gets killed, but that's part of the bullfight, NOT THE bullfight.

Killing an animal for achieving a value (food, art, ...) is correct acording to Objetivism."

Well, no wonder my butcher is such a snob. He must think he's Michelangelo.

:)

Funny, but no arguments

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A lot of art is "fixed." Roark becoming a successful architect in The Fountainhead was fixed because Rand made it that way. The plot could proceed in no other way than how Rand wanted it to proceed.

Ah but was Roark becoming successful they key point of the art, or the inevitable conclusion?

I think the art in "The Fountainhead" was the depiction of Roark's struggles and his commitment to his own values. He could have struggled and remained committed and also been defeated and it would still have been an excellent portrayal of individualism. Isn't that what happened to Kira?

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I think the wider question of "does a performance such as dance qualify as art?" is more important here. Bullfighting is as much a performance as ballet, and given what I know about bullfighting, it is closer to dance than sport or pure entertainment. You should note that recreation of reality is a necessary but not sufficient factor in determining what is or is not art. What sort of metaphysical value judgment is present in dance? What sort of metaphysical value judgment is present in bullfighting? I question whether or not moving in a particular fashion could really ever qualify as a metaphysical value judgment of any sort. The presence of value expression is not what is meant here, what is meant is a value judgment of what the artist thinks reality is or is not and how one deals with reality. If any performance is to be art, it is bullfighting, because there involves more than just a conglomeration of movements merely to kill a bull. The matador moves in a particular way for a particular reason to quite literally command nature through the use of reason rather than brute force like the bull. Bravery or courage are not the primary things to take into consideration if you want to argue that bullfighting is art.

You are right, I am impressed by your reasoning. The value involved is that a man has to comand nature in other to achive his goals, in order to live, and that he can do it.

No wonder most of the people who concioussly that are against bullfighting are enviromentalists who don't want man to alter nature at all ( ultimately they are against man)

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I do think bullfighting qualifies as an art.

I just think it's wasteful to destroy life for the sake of art. Food serves an obvious purpose, and can be art, but even so is still food.

There are plenty of reasons to kill animals.

But I think the spiritual - the 'art' value - of preserving life trumps an event that is purposefully staged to end it.

I'll compare it to cockfighting: there are no values being expressed (beyond the skill of the human trainers). It's life being subordinated to the passion of men to kill. Not a proper valuation, in my opinion. I won't say I'm against it, I'd say I don't care for it.

Same with bullfighting. The life and death struggle, with reason winning over animal power, would only be compelling if it was an actual struggle. And in that instance the artist/gladiator is purchasing your attention with by leveraging his own life. That is improper.

So I can't say that there's anyway to make bullfighting legitimate to me, rationally. An animal is being killed in reality, to portray a value in the abstract. Food is a real value.

The bull was raised to die for the sake of dying. Weird. (food is raised for the sake of dying, for food)

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I do think bullfighting qualifies as an art.

I just think it's wasteful to destroy life for the sake of art. Food serves an obvious purpose, and can be art, but even so is still food.

There are plenty of reasons to kill animals.

But I think the spiritual - the 'art' value - of preserving life trumps an event that is purposefully staged to end it.

I'll compare it to cockfighting: there are no values being expressed (beyond the skill of the human trainers). It's life being subordinated to the passion of men to kill. Not a proper valuation, in my opinion. I won't say I'm against it, I'd say I don't care for it.

Same with bullfighting. The life and death struggle, with reason winning over animal power, would only be compelling if it was an actual struggle. And in that instance the artist/gladiator is purchasing your attention with by leveraging his own life. That is improper.

So I can't say that there's anyway to make bullfighting legitimate to me, rationally. An animal is being killed in reality, to portray a value in the abstract. Food is a real value.

The bull was raised to die for the sake of dying. Weird. (food is raised for the sake of dying, for food)

As a matter on fact bulls are raised to die fighting, and if it weren't the case you could bet thar there would not be any bulls but in the zoo.

But, anyway, art is a value as legitimate as food. Art is the food of human mind. I think this sentence is quoted in Leonard's book on Objetivism.

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I do think bullfighting qualifies as an art.

I just think it's wasteful to destroy life for the sake of art. Food serves an obvious purpose, and can be art, but even so is still food.

There are plenty of reasons to kill animals.

But I think the spiritual - the 'art' value - of preserving life trumps an event that is purposefully staged to end it.

I'll compare it to cockfighting: there are no values being expressed (beyond the skill of the human trainers). It's life being subordinated to the passion of men to kill. Not a proper valuation, in my opinion. I won't say I'm against it, I'd say I don't care for it.

Same with bullfighting. The life and death struggle, with reason winning over animal power, would only be compelling if it was an actual struggle. And in that instance the artist/gladiator is purchasing your attention with by leveraging his own life. That is improper.

So I can't say that there's anyway to make bullfighting legitimate to me, rationally. An animal is being killed in reality, to portray a value in the abstract. Food is a real value.

The bull was raised to die for the sake of dying. Weird. (food is raised for the sake of dying, for food)

As a matter on fact bulls are raised to die fighting, and if it weren't the case you could bet thar there would not be any bulls but in the zoo.

But, anyway, art is a value as legitimate as food. Art is the food of human mind. I think this sentence is quoted in Leonard's book on Objetivism.

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Bullfighting isn't even extremely bad art for the same reason some guy painting the Mona Lisa over and over again (well or poorly, doesn't matter) wouldn't be making art: it's not an act of creation, it's pointless repetition for cheap thrills.

Sure, the first guy to come up with the concept might have been an artist (depending on what he was going for, my guess is it had nothing to do with art but who knows). But everyone else who then proceeded to slaughter animals for spectacle, over and over again, is at best doing it for sport. A really stupid, aimless sport.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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Bullfighting isn't even extremely bad art for the same reason some guy painting the Mona Lisa over and over again (well or poorly, doesn't matter) wouldn't be making art: it's not an act of creation, it's pointless repetition for cheap thrills.

Sure, the first guy to come up with the concept might have been an artist (depending on what he was going for, my guess is it had nothing to do with art but who knows). But everyone else who then proceeded to slaughter animals for spectacle, over and over again, is at best doing it for sport. A really stupid, aimless sport.

So, according to you every performance of your favorite song after the first one by whoever singer (not an artist by your standard) is a pointless repetition.

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I suppose anything that is done purely for entertainment has an aspect of art.

However, I'm curious about a "meta" question: why does it matter? I'm not saying it doesn't matter; I'm curious why it does. The forum has many old topics about whether "X is art or not", and I'm rarely able to relate the question to any particular motivation.

For instance, if someone asks me: is a skate-board a vehicle, I'd be more interested in knowing the reason for his asking. Since part of my job is "information-modelling" for computer systems, I can imagine situations where I would conceptualize a skate-board as a vehicle, and other situations where I would not. It depends on the need. The definition, then, expands or contracts to fit the need rather than starting at the definition and deciding whether a particular class should be part of it or not.

So, given that context, I'm curious about your reasons,

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If it were a sport the bull would win more often.

You suggest that an essential qualifier of something being a sport is that they both begin on an even footing (as far as being realistic). This is false. There are many instances of activity that are considered sport where it is either "fixed" in some fashion or one side has the edge over the other.

Yes bullfighting is usually fixed and is more for apperances sake than actual challenge. Of course, sometimes incidents do happen, but that is mostly due to keeping with traditional practices regarding bullfighting and the fact that higher levels of security/safety from the bull causing mayhem would substantially reduce the thrill/presentation of such in the viewers mind.

Also, for anyone that did not know, bulls are colorblind, it is the waving of that flag/cloth that sparks the event, not the "blood red" of the cloth.

As a matter on fact bulls are raised to die fighting, and if it weren't the case you could bet thar there would not be any bulls but in the zoo.

I hope you are joking....

So, according to you every performance of your favorite song after the first one by whoever singer (not an artist by your standard) is a pointless repetition.

If you are going to challenge Ellison on this point it would be more appropriate for you not to drop the context that differentiates it from your example. You dropped all of the context that was significant to his argument.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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You suggest that an essential qualifier of something being a sport is that they both begin on an even footing (as far as being realistic). This is false. There are many instances of activity that are considered sport where it is either "fixed" in some fashion or one side has the edge over the other.

Yes bullfighting is usually fixed and is more for apperances sake than actual challenge. Of course, sometimes incidents do happen, but that is mostly due to keeping with traditional practices regarding bullfighting and the fact that higher levels of security/safety from the bull causing mayhem would substantially reduce the thrill/presentation of such in the viewers mind.

Also, for anyone that did not know, bulls are colorblind, it is the waving of that flag/cloth that sparks the event, not the "blood red" of the cloth.

I hope you are joking....

If you are going to challenge Ellison on this point it would be more appropriate for you not to drop the context that differentiates it from your example. You dropped all of the context that was significant to his argument.

I am not joking. You don't see a wild cows around here, I don't know why we would see wild (dangerous) bulls. Bulls are raised in big rancho-like places called "dehesas" and only for this purpose.

And, excuse me, where did I drop the context to Ellison argument? He compares bullfighting to painting and I am making an argument on bullfighting being more alike to singing rather than painting.

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