An extraordinary life

The British news magazine the Economist sometimes produces obituaries of people who are not famous at all, but have led unusual lives that are simply unexpectedly fascinating.

Conchita Cintrón Verrill Conchita Cintrón Verrill Spanish bullfighter on horseback in a bullring

In February 2009 the bullfighter Conchita Cintrón Verrill died at the age of 86, and her obituary appeared in the Economist in March 2009+.

Bloodsports such as bullfighting have very often been controversial topics, and the obituary of a bullfighter, published in March 2009, gave rise to a lot of correspondence, some saying it was paradoxical or hypocritical that the English introduced laws on the protection of animals as early as 1820 and yet could publish this sort of account of a bullfighter.

Can you deduce which words fit the gaps in the blogs below?

a bloodthirsty e acts of barbarism i does not belong m published
b glorify f primitive form of entertainment j has looked to you for n shame
c unacceptable g say the least k have no place left to go where o erstwhile moral
d defenceless h welfare l slaughtered p unenlightened

"For years the rest of the world .......... 1 guidance and inspiration in matters relating to animal .......... 2. Now, you celebrate the passing of a bullfighter with a grandiloquence worthy of a Mother Teresa obituary. Where's your .......... 3 authority on this matter?"

Another blogger wrote in protest: "Disappointing and sad, to .......... 4, that an obituary on a bullfighter has been .......... 5 in the Economist. It seems people who oppose such .......... 6 and live in the developing world .......... 7 we are not reminded of this horrible and cruel act of torture committed on .......... 8 animals. The terrible fact that hunting, whaling, fishing, bombing and wars still exist still doesn't justify the existence of bullfights."
Another wrote: 'This obituary .......... 9 in the Economist. A leading news magazine, based in a first-world country, should not .......10 such a .......... 11. If animals must be .......... 12 (to satisfy the appetites of those who absolutely must eat meat), then it should be done quickly, efficiently and painlessly. Pandering to the .......... 13 amusement of the .......... 14 is .......... 15 to anyone with even a modicum of moral sensibility. For your information, only two or three bullfighters have died in the ring in the past 50 years, so where's the challenge? ....... 16 on you.'

q lauded s pretending u emulate w No matter how you embellish
r sensitivity about moral issues t one could think it was written by v from back to front x model

Many bloggers wrote in appreciating the story of this unusual woman's life, and pointing out that ..................... 17 change over time, and questioning whether it is possible or appropriate to apply modern views of political correctness to everything we read.

One typical reader wrote "Perhaps the skills and courage required for bullfighting are no longer required or admired in this day and age, but I can only express admiration for the lady of the obituary. And in many ways she was a .......... 18 for other women to ........19 in destroying stereotypes of the day. And her courage should be .......... 20 in any age."
Yet another wrote: 'This is another very remarkable piece of writing by your Obituaries Editor. The piece is so studded with technical detail that .......... 21 a bullfighter, or at least an aficionado. The immediate and repeated allusion to Lorca's haunting line: 'At five in the afternoon'*' was powerfully arresting. The continuing excellence of your Obituary column is the reason I always read your paper .......... 22.'
Yet another added later, "I hate violence and cruelty. .......... 23 it with fine prose or poetry it is still despicable. Killing for food is a necessity, .......... 24 it is an art form is insulting art", while another contributor wrote in, "Superb obituary, wonderful woman in a wonderful sport!"

What do you think about this issue? Remember you can always send us a message about our materials!

Answers and notes

You may like to complete these questions on the obituary of Conchita Cintrón.

Find an account of her life on this link or this one.


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