Contemporary French Civilization

An interdisciplinary analysis of the biocentric representations of bullfighting in Francis Cabrel’s “La Corrida” and Michel Onfray’s Cosmos

Contemporary French Civilization (2018), 43, (2), 229–247.

Abstract

This biocentric reading of Francis Cabrel’s “La Corrida” from the lens of Michel Onfray’s philosophy explores their emotional plea for the abolition of bullfighting in Southern France. For both the acclaimed songwriter and the maverick philosopher, there is no valid moral or philosophical justification for the continued existence of this cultural practice. Albeit in very different artistic mediums, Cabrel and Onfray generate equally persuasive dystopian visions of the carnage that transpires in the arena. Both artists cogently deconstruct the pervasive cultural and philosophical logic often used by supporters of this controversial blood sport urging global society to take action. In line with a growing body of empirical evidence, Cabrel and Onfray present the bull as a highly sentient being that suffers a slow and agonizing death in the arena. Debunking the unfounded notion that the behavior of non-human agents is purely mechanistic in nature, Cabrel and Onfray implore us to reexamine ubiquitous simulacra denoting a morbid conception of artistic beauty and an allegedly heroic confrontation with death that obfuscate the actual ugliness and brutality of this absurd crime against another life form.

Cette analyse de la chanson “La Corrida” dans le contexte de la philosophie de Michel Onfray explore leur plaidoyer émotionnel pour l’abolition de la corrida dans le sud de la France. Pour le chanteur très apprécié comme pour le philosophe controversé, il n’y a aucune justification morale ou philosophique qui légitime de cette pratique cruelle. Bien qu’ils s’expriment dans des mediums très différents, Cabrel et Onfray donnent une vision dystopienne et convaincante de ce carnage qui a lieu dans l’enceinte d’une arène. Les deux artistes déconstruisent la logique philosophique et culturelle très répandue des supporteurs de ce combat sanglant et implorent la société d’agir de façon globale. S’appuyant sur des études scientifiques récentes, Cabrel et Onfray nous présentent le taureau comme un être conscient et sensible qui souffre d’une mort lente et agonisante dans l’arène. Discréditant la notion infondée que le comportement des entités non-humaines est uniquement mécanistique, ils nous encouragent à réexaminer les simulacres omniprésents qui dénotent une conception morbide de la beauté artistique et une confrontation soi-disant “héroïque” avec la mort mais qui ne font que cacher la laideur et la brutalité de ce crime absurde contre une autre forme de vie.

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Moser, Keith