Running with the Bulls: Culture as “Public Commons”


I will be posting something shortly focusing on Ernest Hemingway’s home in Havana, Cuba and the wrong-headed U.S. restrictions on and penalties against Americans helping to try and preserve Hemingway’s 21-year home, Finca Vigia, and the many books, memos, and other belongings there that are important to Cubans, Americans, and many around the world.
But in another Hemingway dimension, a close friend just posted a YouTube video of himself running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. (here is a higher resolution version of the film)
I did the same with him two years ago, but he got expelled from the course for having a camera. This time, he somehow mounted a small camera on his head and got away with it.
Despite popularizing the run along the ancient, cobble stone streets of Pamplona — and the bull fights after (not my thing) — Hemingway seems never to have actually done the run himself.
Hope you enjoy the video and when watching it think of Hemingway and the “public commons” that culture is; it is something that no nation — including the United States government — should be able to cut off access to or restrict financially supporting.
In fact, cutting off funding from supporting preservation of Hemingway’s library and notes sounds a lot like cutting off a constitutional right to free speech.
More later.
— Steve Clemons


8 comments on “Running with the Bulls: Culture as “Public Commons”

  1. Roland says:

    I read about 500 injured participants, maybe you will try this next time:
    Best regards from Europe


  2. Carroll says:

    I am also a Hemingway fan…he and Fitzgerald are my favorites.
    I can’t believe we would let his home and papers rot and ruin. This is just inexcusable. His Key West home is well maintained or at least it was when I use to visit there…I don’t know who pays for that I think maybe the Key West Hemingway Society does.
    Anyway…who is our current most popular Cuban movie star…? Hollywood needs to get more involved in this in a public way.


  3. rich says:

    Couldn’t we have a ‘running of the press secretaries’?
    All the White House press secretaries, or any other spokes-persons who’ve lost face and all dignity by crossing that bright line of glibness beyond which all use and credibilty is exhausted, shall be assigned to run the bulls. Travel to Pamplona not required.
    Nothing cruel or unusual: the public deserves minimal entertainment value, and having lost that, they need to come up with something.
    Frances Townshend, btw, lost all credibility the instant she appeared on TV and opened her mouth. Sad fate.


  4. George Sanders says:

    Hemingway blew his own head to bits a shotgun. Why should the public fund anything associated with a suicider? His own final opinion of his life is summed up in his final act. Let’s only fund the remembrance of interesting people who are man or woman enough to see their lives through to the natural final indignity, not those who end it all themselves in self loathing.


  5. Willy Wanker says:

    Real men don’t “run” with the bulls, they turn and face them with feet planted squarely on the ground. They do however, get themselves run over with a vengeance. Kind of like G. Bush and Iraq. All things come to those who wait.


  6. Dave says:

    As a Hemingway fan, I cannot believe that his home in Cuba is continuing to rot a way and nothing can be done. I find it fascinating that we can fight a war for 12 years in Vietnam and now have the ability to travel to this communist country, but I still can’t go to Cuba. Amazing. And try to get an answer from an elected official regarding this. The same old party BS (an I’m conservative). Interesting how powerful the anti-Castro lobby is in south Florida.


  7. Esoth says:

    IIRC, Carlos Baker’s biogrophy included a photo of Hemminway in a Pamploma bullring (in white pants) participating in the spectacle. Maybe he didn’t do the entire run? Just the end part?


  8. erichwwk says:

    The time for reminding this administration of Reagan’s statement “Tear down that fence” is long overdue? Have Americans not even the desire for Freedom and Liberty that the East Europeans and the Russians had?
    That this administration sees no reality or heritage other than what it creates should be obvious with their unwillingness to commit resources to protect out common human heritage in Iraq. Fascism wasn’t defeated after WW2- it was merely imported to the USA.
    Unless someone in this administration is IMPEACHED, we are implicitly condoning the fact that we indeed have reverted to a dictatorship/monarchy whereby the rulers are above the law. The process started by pardoning Nixon, the intra contra folks under Reagan who have come back as the mob administration to cast Nixon’s claim in stone: “It is not illegal if it is the president that does it.” In fact it has gone a step further. By politicizing the SCOTUS and lower level judges, we no longer have an independent judiciary to counter illegal activity by whatever administration finds itself in power. Money is free speech, but speech critical of the administration is not to be tolerated.
    Personally, I could care less if this administration passes ANY legislation. Without bringing administrative leaders under the umbrella of law, NOTHING else matters. For me its IMPEACHMENT, or decades of authoritarian rule. It could not be clearer.
    ““Resistance is never futile, for it defines the terms of the next struggle” –Natsu Taylor Saito


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