The importance of courting danger and controversy.

Well, apparently Barack Obama has a 67 percent chance of winning the US presidential election… its rapidly becoming clear, that Mitt Romney bought the Republican nomination but is not the man to take on the incumbent president.  He is probably the only member of the Republican party who cannot effectively challenge Obama on his healthcare bill because of an almost identical bill he put forward as a governor of Massachusetts.

So four more years of legislative deadlock and cowardly foreign policy, four more years of the leader of the free world cowering behind the resolute desk, while the world goes to hell in a handcart.  Forgive me if I don’t pin my hopes on Hilary Clinton to come to the rescue. The complete and total tragic farce that has been the global response to the Syria crisis seems the shape of things to come.  Send in Kofi Annan! he’ll persuade Assad to step down with tea and biscuits will he? what’s he going to do? hypnotise him with his dulcet tones and a pocket watch?

Anyway, rant over.

The Pamplona festival of San Fermin has come around again.  Those crazy Basques. I’ve gotta say I absolutely love their style. Courting danger like that every year with the bull run, although its not just the Basques, two Brits and a Yank were gored this year (though they weren’t seriously hurt).  Seems like the Basques know how to get out of the way. Fifteen people have died since records began in 1924. But I’d argue they only have themselves to blame, therefore its fair game, watching the video of the bulls running through the town there are guys running alongside the bulls holding the horns!  There is a fine line between bravery and madness it seems. Is the death of fifteen people worth it? maybe not, but then the cost of trying to permanently avoid all danger is higher.

One story that stuck in my mind from this last week was of a lifeguard in America who was fired from his post after saving a man’s life outside of the area the company who provides the lifeguards has protection from litigation.   This is madness, this is so mad it is totally immoral.

The second thing is that if you think that this is just a problem over the pond you are dead wrong.  I was in a council run office a few days ago, and it was boiling hot, everyone was melting but there weren’t enough fans, and staff members weren’t allowed to bring in fans of their own… for health and safety reasons! This is insane.

We need to court a bit of danger every once in a while it seems, otherwise we lose joie de vivre. So I envy the Basques and their bull run. The bullfighting is more questionable, if it were just a matador and a bull it would be fine by me, but the bull is often speared several times before it is killed. God created man to be master of creation, and to pit your wits one on one with a bull is fair play if you ask me but we shouldn’t be cruel. Still it is a dangerous tradition, a good matador will not retire unscathed and it can be fatal, a healthy respect for the unpredictability and strength of the bull is required.

I find it fascinating because Britain has gone to the other end of the spectrum. Hunting with hounds has been banned, which is ridiculous.  A fox caught by hounds will usually die in the first second, a fox shot with a rifle or shotgun can limp around for days in agony before it dies, even worse if it is caught in a trap.  Foxes are vermin with no natural predators (since we wiped out wolves) if they aren’t hunted they will explode in numbers. The worst part of the fox hunting ban is that it was imposed by city dwellers with no understanding or appreciation for rural life. Though apparently through a loophole in the law fox hunting is still going strong, its fine to hunt with hounds just so long as you have a bird of prey with you… But its mad people of this country have to find loopholes in laws to keep rural life alive.

On perhaps a more relevant topic have a gander at this.  I couldn’t agree more, the rioting in this country last year was the worst and most flagrant outbreak of mass criminality in decades and a symptom of a total vacuum of moral values. It was about greed and gross disrespect for the well being of others.   People who went out and participated in such activities weren’t helplessly sucked in, they gleefully embraced law breaking because the police had shown the rule of law had been completely suspended by not clamping down in any effective way.  For people at the highest levels of the institutions responsible for nurturing the moral life of this country to go and apologise for the rioters is an unthinkable disgrace.

Well now that I’ve finished courting controversy for the day, congratulations Roger Federer.


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