Martini Quotes

"I'm not talking a cup of cheap gin splashed over an ice cube.

I'm talking satin, fire and ice; Fred Astaire in a glass; surgical cleanliness, insight.. comfort; redemption and absolution. I'm talking MARTINI.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Bow ties and Bullfights

Bow Ties

      I am one that tends to revel in the pomp and circumstance of the occasion, preferring to dandify myself with the bow tie and jacket for formal occasions and holidays.  It is preferable to me that I aver my belief in the quality of tradition over the trends of today.  I would hope that it is the best creations of humanity that stand the test of time, outlasting the transient fads of the present and offering something of enduring quality to the future.  Naturally, I consider the Martini which has endured for over a century, due in part, to it's simplicity and hence understated elegance.  It is iconic and presents an immediately recognizable elan.  But, is that true of all things which aspire to perfection or an immortality like the leopard frozen in The Snows of Kilimanjaro?  Certainly, there are pieces of art which endure... plays, literature, etc.  Yet, what of things that surely possess the qualities of art and which attain a lofty status, but then fall.  Is this the inherent fault of the object, or the personal bias of the beholder?  Are those things which matter most subject to the arbitrary whims of the masses, or can the best sustain themselves simply of their own merit without a popular majority?


      I offer up for your consideration the spectacle that is the bullfight.  Steeped in tradition, the Spanish bullfight embodies tragedy as classically defined by Aristotle-

“Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its katharsis of such emotions. . . . Every Tragedy, therefore, must have six parts, which parts determine its quality—namely, Plot, Characters, Diction, Thought, Spectacle, Melody.”   

The Spanish bullfight then clearly is defined by tragedy.  It is literally a life and death battle between man and bull in which the bull is fated to Death in the Afternoon-one my favorite Hemingway reads.  You cannot help but get the impression that Papa is sitting next to you on the couch in the living room telling you first hand what to expect at the bullfights.  I have not witnessed the spectacle myself, but it is on the proverbial bucket list.  And yet, there are a number of groups trying to stymie the tradition of the bullfight. Even back in the time of Papa Hemingway, efforts were afoot to soften the tradition, to gut it, in a way.  For instance, the horses upon which the picadors rode were disemboweled by the bulls on a regular basis.  This was thought inhumane and displeasing to some spectators (money paying tourists) and the horses were then made to don a sort of straw armor.  In this way, after the picadors' horses were gored by the bull, the trailing blue entrails were no longer allowed their parade, yet the horses suffered nonetheless, for the pointy horns still penetrated the straw padding resulting in a more metered and ironic suffering.  

    And we see this today, where a vocal minority with perhaps a displaced enthusiasm are allowed a stage upon what is now an electronic media world with implications beyond measure.  Even in the early 1930's, when the Martini was becoming king of the cocktail, there was this vocal minority bent on influencing something beyond their grasp.  And so I sit here with my complete and perfect Martini musing over what is all too clear and just, while pondering what will become of things that were once accepted and revered by some and now are assailed by others who are perhaps well meaning, but in the end, a bit naive.

Hold true to your beliefs
show a little Dutch courage!

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