Monday, August 23, 2010

Michelito, Lupita, Cerqueira, have Bad Afternoons

Michelito was knocked down once again, by his first bull, Merenguero, weighing 880 lbs. He misjudged the trajectory of the bull on a quick turn by the beast and was thrown to the ground without injury as the bull tried to stab him with scooping thrusts of his horns. Michelito backed away from most of his passes after that instead of holding his ground. The bull took to pawing on the ground, backing away, difficult to kill and Michelito butchered him with three misplaced thrusts of the sword, finishing with a descabello (a maneuver with a small sword thrust into the back of the head, severing the spinal chord of the bull) which killed the bull on the second try. Not pretty, any of it. His second bull, smaller, about 80 lbs. lighter, was more his size, and the capework was better, but not distinguished. He was warned about time (you have to kill the bull within 16 minutes in Mexico) twice, killed perfunctorily, and was booed for his performance.

Lupita's first bull was hard to fight but she showed determination. She was unable to kill the bull with her sword thrust and the peones killed it with a puntilla (daggar to the back of the head).

The proceedings in her second bull violated the letter of the law and especially the spirit behind bullfighting. After a few initial veronicas by Lupita, the bull was injured slightly in the right hind leg during the pic-ing. Everyone in the ring saw it, visibly limping, and the bull should have been removed immediately, alive, the legal protocol for an injured bull. It retreated to a querencia (a spot in the ring it prefers) and could not be coaxed to the middle of the ring. In spite of the obvious injury, her bullfighter placed, or rather misplaced, a pair of banderillas with the bull in a dangerous defensive position. Instead of taking charge and asking the authorities for the bull to be removed, Lupita stood by for several minutes, apparently confused, while one of her bullfighters made half-hearted efforts to lead the bull to the middle of the ring. Lupita finally left the ring altogether, with the bull clearly holding his right leg up. Her bullfighter led it to a burladero to be killed by a peon with a dagger long after 16 minutes had elapsed, which should have triggered the removal of the bull alive, a second reason for removal. Highly irregular, very ugly, another butchery; score another point for opponents of bullfighting.

Since the bull had, in spite of two legal reasons for it's removal alive, been killed in the ring, Lupita was, technically, not entitled to another bull, but she was given one anyway. She handled it reasonably well and was well on her way to winning an ear except for a missed thrust on the kill followed by a half-hilt thrust which was not mortal and forced the bull to be killed by dagger. In Juarez they might have given her an ear. Not in Mexico City, especially after the ugliness of the previous bull, in which she had basically abandoned her responsibilities to fight, to seek the removal of the bull, and to take charge of the proceedings. Cerqueira fought two bad bulls perfunctorily without incident, poorly killed. The man on horseback was unable to kill the bull on horseback and had to kill it on foot with a descabello; not pretty.

Bad afternoon. I watched a good deal of it as it was streamed on internet live from the Plaza and later recorded. The bullring was only filled to about 10% capacity, which may help explain the unprofessional management of the afternoon. The video clip of this could serve as a poster child for banning bullfighting.

No comments: