Monday, July 07, 2008

Seventh of July... San Fermin

David Seaton's News Links
Today is the seventh of July and that means that they are running the bulls early every morning in Pamplona till the fourteenth. You can see the encierros live on Spanish national TV before going to work.

Pamplona is a small, prosperous city famous for the teaching hospital of its university in the green north of Spain, a very Catholic, very conservative and very sober place... fifty one weeks of the year.

I'd love to give my readers a good description of the festivities, but I haven't been back to Pamplona in fiestas since the 1960s and I confess that I (and everybody else) was too drunk at that time to remember very much.

What little I do remember coincides perfectly with the video above.

It is hard for Americans to see the fiestas of San Fermin through any other eyes than Ernest Hemingway's.

Boys of my generation were much under the influence of Hemingway, who tended to confuse the Spanish people with the Native-Americans of Michigan. I found, after living here for some time, that there was truly little resemblance between these two groups.

Spanish people, for example, tend to talk loudly, all at the same time for hours on end over the ruins of a beautiful, several course meal: a meal which heavily features olive oil, garlic and wine and the Indians of Michigan don't.

This discovery in no way dimmed my admiration for Don Ernesto's art, as many of the women that Picasso painted have only a passing resemblance to any women that I have ever known, either casually or in the biblical sense, but they are fine paintings and have much truth in them... about painting, if not about women.

Art is about art.

For example, the mixture of the American banjo of west African origin and the most ancient cro-magnon Basque language heard on the video's sound track encases within it's contradiction the same truth that Magritte's pipe, does. It is not a pipe, but is in fact it is a pipe. Words mean what they want to mean. In a sense truth is unknown until art puts a boot into it.

For me, what the fiestas of San Fermin of Pamplona are finally about, is one small, very closed and very conservative, city of the ancient kingdom of Navarre that is able to maintain its most ancient traditions, dating back to the sixteenth century, while allowing visitors from all over the world to share them fully, and to do so without making any concessions to a changing world or pandering in any way shape of form to the outsiders. Then, when the fiestas of San Fermin are finished, to quietly return to their sleepy provincial life for another year.

How they keep this unaffected authenticity is a mystery. Probably the death and mayhem that is ever present in the bull's horns has something to do with it. DS


Forensic economist said...

On projecting one's fantasies on a candidate --

Sorry to bring you back from a grand party to American politics, but here is some more Obama mania:

"David Friedman, the son of late conservative icon and Nobel economist Milton Friedman, has also endorsed Obama... Friedman, an economist at Santa Clara University, thinks Obama could turn out like the liberals who deregulated New Zealand's economy... Friedman likes Obama's University of Chicago advisers such as Austan Goolsbee and Cass Sunstein, who he believes are trying to forge a new leftism that incorporates free-market views... "I certainly would be happy if the left became more libertarian, since the right seems to be less libertarian than it used to be." "

RC said...

Your pastoral and cultural celebrations of the last few days are a pleasant anodyne for the usual cruelties of politics. Thank you so much.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

I think its more of the same phenomenon of people projecting themselves and their wishes like the Hindu wishing tree on Obama or perhaps, if it weren't taken as a racial slight, a Rorschach ink blot. He is all things to all men, the alpha and the omega, the morning and the evening star.