Thursday, March 19, 2009

Jealousy Rears Ugly Heads in Spainish Bullfighting World

"Don't hate me because I am beautiful."

I make no qualms about it. Bullfighting fascinates me.

Last year, I wrote a piece about Hemmingway's The Dangerous Summer, which chronicled the 1959 Spanish Bullfighting season and the rivalry between Antonio Ordóñez and his grand-uncle Luis Miguel Dominguín.

Today, Ordóñez's grandsons (and Armani models) Francisco Rivera Ordonez (pictured above) and Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez are two of the most popular matadors in the country.

The respect of their peers, however, doesn't seem to match their popularity amongst the public.

Citing his youth and more deserving retired bullfighters, two previous winners of the country's Cultural Ministry Fine Arts distinction, given in the fields of literature, cinema and cuisine, have returned their awards after Francisco received the honor last month. They say giving the prize to Rivera Ordonez "cheapens the deadly duel between man and beast that Spain calls its national pastime."

Despite "killing 1,000 bulls in Spain's topflight arenas over the course of his 14-year career...he is just as much of a fixture on the covers of gossip magazines, having once been wed to a daughter of Spain's most titled aristocrat and now dating a former Miss Spain."

I suppose the same argument could be made once Derek Jeter's Hall of Fame consideration comes into conversation. After all, he'll forever be known as a fine, young, talented, handsome ballplayer. But Jose Canseco's paid his dues.

"Don't hate me because I am beautiful."

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