Having read John F. Burnett’s book, “Uncivilized Beasts and Shameless Hellions” taught me an unexpected truth. The book is divided into eleven chapters. Each chapter depicts an experience John had while working as a radio reporter for National Public Radio. While each story is told with the alacrity for which NPR journalists are known, it was in his story about bullfighting that a quote by Matador Martinez stirred my emotions.
According to Martinez, as quoted by Burnett,
“The bull is more noble than many people. His eyes say that he is about to charge you, that he wants to kill you. Humans will not look you in the eyes before they betray you.”
Although most betrayals by humans do not end in death, they do end in hurt feelings. Is it courageous to be honest at the risk of hurting someone’s feelings? Is it cowardly to carry out the act of betrayal without so much as a word to the one being betrayed. Would you rather be a bull and look into the eyes of the one you will bring forth unwanted news? Or would you rather be a wolf in sheep’s clothing? You know the kind of person who greets you with a smile and says something like, “Oh, how nice to see you.” Then do something they know you will not like.
Regardless of your take on the Bull versus Human method of interaction, Burnett’s book brings to light an interesting perspective about what it is like to be a journalist covering stories such as bullfighting, death row, war, and natural disasters.