Where is the limit of censorship?

OT 2020: bullfighting controversy


Bullfighting has become a true thermometer of society. Of a free and tolerant society, which can understand and accept the one who thinks differently, in front of a society in which some decide on what is acceptable and what is not.

Photograph provided by Radio Televisión Española (RTVE) of the performance between Nia (i), contestant of Operación Triunfo, and Estrella Morente (d), guest artist at Gala 6 of OT 2020
Jose IrúnEFE

We attended the nth fire on social networks about thebullfighting. This time it is because one of the great artists of this country,Morente Star, decides to improvise some bullfighting verses in his live intervention in the Operation Triumph program.

The Seventh of Puritania goes out in a trumpet to tear the garments in the public square of the networks for such an impudence. Hordes of small censors cry out against the artist for having dared to sing using verses of the great poetJose Bergaminabout the art of bullfighting.

Up to here comes freedom of expression, these magistrates of improvised courts of inquisition seem to say, bulls mark the line that should not be crossed in our freedoms in any way, they exclaim, neither of thought, nor of work, nor of omission .

These same priests of the unique thought praised a few weeks ago the courage of one of the contestants when he described all bullfighting lovers as Nazis and psychopaths, among many other niceties. There, there was a joyful and full freedom of expression that could not be curtailed.

Insulting a part of the population that has different cultural tastes from yours is fine for our national censors. Singing verses dedicated to bulls by a poet is, however, an intolerable transfer of decency and freedom of expression, which should not be tolerated under any circumstances.

It is inevitable to think about what our unredeemed Calvinos would do with any cultural expression related to bulls if the rule of law and international conventions did not protect us. Enraged groups burning the engravings ofGoya, the work ofPicassoor throwing to their foundations the monumental Las Ventas, intolerable expressions for them of a culture that simply should not exist.Because it doesn’t fit your moral canon.

This is not new, of course. Famous are the burning of books, the Puritan attempts to prohibit them from going on stageJohnny RottenYSid Viciousor the bombings of the Buddhas of Bmiyn. In all these cases, cultural and artistic expressions clashed with the morale of some group. Some group won the authority to decidewhat was culture and what wasn’t, which culture was morally admissible and which was not.

Bullfighting has become a true thermometer of society, of a free, tolerant society, which can understand and accept the one who thinks differently, in front of a society in which some decide on what can be seen and what is not, What is acceptable and what is not acceptable.

The attempts of some, surely few, to curtail through media pressure any manifestation related to bulls should keep us alert as a society. Censorship is the principle of authoritarianism.

But in the face of the attempts of some, the light of the majority is seen. If last night the networks were a virulent burst of fists demanding censorship, today we can see the reaction of all those who, bullfighting or not, raise their voices for freedom and for a tolerant society.

Let us never stop remembering those verses that should alert us to any attempt at imposition and that ends with that shocking “when they came to look for me, there was no one else who could protest.” Let’s protect our free society.

Victorino MartínHe is president of the Toro de Lidia Foundation.

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