The Torreador Paradox

I’ve often considered attending a bullfight. I imagine I would root for the bull. There are too many arrogant men thinking themselves the better of the beasts of nature and nowhere near enough bulls to gore them all to death.

This assuumes, of course, that the bullfight is as bloody and violent and detrimental to the health of the bulls as I have always been told. It is described as a barbaric event that has no place in modern society. And, yet, parts of Spain and Mexico are still dotted with plazas del toros that, presumably, draw crowds ravenous for bloodshed.

But perhaps the naysayers are wrong. We live in an increasingly politicized society, where every act – no matter how big or small – carries the deep weight of intention, known or unknown, that opens one to stiff reckoning by, if not one’s peers, than those who seem to have more time on their hands than average. The very act of writing this will be deemed by most as a political act – just what is Rob Z. trying to say here? Maybe I’m saying nothing. I’m usually saying nothing but having it praised by educated masses – educated in what, who is to really say – and being lifted as some kind of prophet or, in the very least, someone with something worth saying, even if I often question it’s value myself.

That may all be in my head. Most things are.

Regardless, it would probably be wise of me to attend a bullfight to determine the truth myself. In so doing, I would be able to form my own opinions based on my own senses mostly free from interference from the naysayers. And I may very well prove my assumptions correct, and will decry that people continue to support this barbaric ritual.

But I will have then, myself, supported it by the very act of observing it, having paid for the ticket to enter the plaza and see the blood on the sand firsthand. This is the very definition of a paradox, and it keeps me from making a satisfactory decision on how to proceed.

Perhaps I could ask for a refund.

Sax and Violins

Developed a new theory on the way home from Monterey the other night. While Dani slept in the back, I kept mom awake at the wheel with my idle pratter. I’m not sure why, but the topic of sex on TV came up. Mom seemed somewhat against the further erosion of our moral values through the boob tube, but I said I would be in favor of seeing more skin on network TV. Then I mentioned the paradox of why violence, often rather harsh violence, is OK on TV, but show so much of a nipple and the world comes to an end. And this is when I developed my theory — it all makes sense now.

The argument against violence on TV is that it will cause some viewers to become desensitized to it and, therefore, not see anything wrong with it. The fear is that this desensitization will lead to peoplethinking violence is OK and, in some cases, actually funny and thus prompt them to mimic what they see on TV. There have been actual cases where this appears to have actually happened.

If this theory is correct, one should also assume that shows promoting strong family relationships will encourage the viewers to create such relationships among themselves. Shows demonstrating educational prinicples will actually teach viewers about math, grammar, etc. And shows that portray sexual situations and nudity will encourage viewers to, well, have sex.

And this is where the problem lies. Not everyone watching TV is so impressionable that they lead their lives mimicing what they see on the screen. In fact, a small percentage is actually like this. However, it’s that small percentage who can’t think on their own that tend to cause the most problems. They are the ones who immediately think any lifestyle that doesn’t match their own — i.e. an “alternative” lifestyle — is wrong and will fight against it. They’re the ones who drink too much beer because their buddies say they should, then kill innocent people on the freeways. These are the people who make wild generalizations about people and make themselves look like asses in the process.

When these people breed, they make more people like themselves. Since they essentially do whatever they see on TV, showing them how to make babies would be a Bad Idea (TM). Therefore, the powers that be have determined it is better to just let them wipe each other out. Hence the taboo on explicit sex on TV but the relative acceptance of hardcore violence. You are more likely to see a guy get his head blown off than a woman flashing a nipple.

Unless you watch Jerry Springer.

Is it right? Is it wrong? That’s not for me to judge. I’m just here to blow the whistle on the conspiracy. If I disappear tomorrow, you’ll now know why.