I do not love thee, Dr. Fell;
The reason why I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well:
I do not love thee, Dr. Fell.
That was Schoolboy Tom Brown's off-the-cuff answer to the demand by Dr. Fell, Dean of Christ Church, that he translate the 32nd epigram of Martial. Now there is a new version of this famous rhyme, which you are likely to hear before the sun rises over the yardarm, before the moon shines over the cow shed and before that enlarging dot of dust on the horizon grows bigger than a bull's horn. It goes something like this:
We do not love thee, Irvin Feld;
The reason why we sure can tell;
You've sent the bullfight straight to hell:
We do not love thee, Irvin Feld.
Of course, there is a chance you might hear the other version—the one made up by the 100,000-odd new fans of Irvin Feld. It goes:
We do adore thee, Irvin Feld;
You treat the toros so damn well;
Who cares if all the purists yell:
We do adore thee, Irvin Feld.
P.S. We like your brother Israel, too.
These conflicting variations on Tom's rhyme should persuade you that the Brothers Feld of Washington, D.C. are controversial. Well, they sure are, because any two men who call themselves Super Enterprises, Incorporated and can turn, in one—you should pardon it—Feld swoop, from presenting the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Ella, the Duke and Peter, Paul and Mary, not to mention the New York City Center Ballet, and become International Bullfights, Inc. in order to dream up something called "Modified Portuguese-style New American Bloodless Bullfighting" are not just out to be quietly accepted. They want to make noise. And they're making it—a noise that has seldom been heard inside the borders of the U.S.
"�Ol�!" it goes. Or "�Ol�!" it went down in Houston last month. And "�Ol�!" it will go again in the Houston Astrodome in July, with the famous and/or notorious El Cordob�s promised on the bill for the box-office punch. And, possibly even before then, it may be heard in Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Miami and other places we all know and love. It might even make itself heard above the despairing, ghostly laughter in Shea Stadium.
Now, most of what the average yanqui knows about the corrida he learned from seeing Tyrone Power in Blood and Sand or from reading Ernest Hemingway. He knows that Papa acclaimed bullfighting as the only violent event outside of war offering man the opportunity to see life and death. Maybe he even remembers that Papa made a classic understatement when he wrote: "The bullfight is not a sport in the Anglo-Saxon sense of the word...."
Well, Papa never knew the Brothers Feld. They are determined to make bullfighting an Anglo-Saxon sport if it breaks the heart of every true aficionado ever to fly Iberia or Aeronaves. After their recent $315,000 gamble in Houston's Astrodome, which paid off with a total attendance of 107,257 people and a gate of $409,185, the Felds are snorting like Miura bulls.
"We hope to hold these fights in many cities. Every major city, I'd say, has inquired about them. I think this new American version of the bloodless fight can be even more exciting than traditional bullfighting. We have studied the corrida in every country, you see, and this is a tremendous spectator sport. We think the American people will like it. And we intend always to present it up-holding the great traditions of true bullfighting, with all the pomp and ceremony it deserves." Thus spoke Israel Feld.