The running of the dummies

Column by Craig Marshall Smith


“Three gored, 23 others injured in running of the bulls.” It’s simply not enough. I won’t be satisfied until tens upon tens are gored and injured.

It’s extremely entertaining. Or maybe it’s the adrenaline rush that makes it worth it to the runners and the spectators. I think it’s 19th-century.

“Tension soared when one of the animals charged a 31-year-old Spaniard and tossed him on the ground with his horns for almost 30 seconds as fellow runners tried to pull it away by its tail. The man clung to one of the horns as screams were heard all around.”

I like it. I like it very much.

Six bulls are let loose in the morning to run in the Pamplona encierro. Later in the day they are slaughtered in the bullring.

Runners, who just sang a benediction (“Macho Macho Man”) are prohibited from “inciting” the bulls.

What do you call it, what they do, if it’s not inciting? Let’s reverse things. Let six of these imbeciles loose and have hundreds of bulls chase them around. Now we’re talking.

There’s nothing bold, brave, heroic, courageous, dashing or daring about purposefully herding and chasing animals to their death.

I know it’s cultural (stupidity), like dogfighting and cockfighting. I know it’s traditional (stupidity). But isn’t it about time to look at these animals differently, perhaps with some respect?

Around the world, some unconscionable things are done to pit bulls, eagles, foxes, condors, seals, whales, porpoises, and dolphins.

“Every year,” a petition website says, “in Denmark, specifically the Faroe Islands, innocent and helpless Calderon dolphins are slaughtered brutally by the Danes. Why you may ask? Simply because. A pointless and stupid right of passage to manhood” (“Macho Macho Man”).

Slaughtering a dolphin to prove that you are a man is a right of passage to ignorance.

Hemingway would never buy me a drink. Neither would Picasso. I wouldn’t let the best matador in Spain wash my car.

There are complete yahoos on The History Channel who boast about slaughtering alligators. I watch the channel all of the time, except when “Swamp People” is on. It’s as if they turned programming over to a Hatfield or McCoy for an hour.

Why take out a profound arrogance on animals? Of course, if we didn’t there would have been no King Kong.

I know there are women who run with the bulls, but most of the runners are men, aggressively masculine men, who must reek of testosterone.

I also know that there are men who fly to Pamplona to have their testosterone inhaled by other men. You probably could get pregnant just standing in line at the Pamplona Starbucks.

Pitting dogs against each other makes me angry-sad. If the losers aren’t killed by the winners, they are killed by their owners.

Running with the bulls is as foreign to me as runways. Running with the designers doesn’t make me angry or sad, it just gives me the all-out creeps. But bull running and fashion shows have big audiences, ones that I will never touch. I just looked at my shelter dog and said that I was glad there is no running of the dachshunds.

He reminded me that there is. Even my little friend’s breed is subjected to human condescension.

Go bulls! Go dachshunds!

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at


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