Of Cocks and Men | Major English – XI




Of Cocks and Men 



– Clifford Geertz
Summary



Men in Bali love cocks and cock-fighting. A lot of Balinese language refers to cocks. And Balinese men spend a lot of time taking care of their cocks. They get special food, baths with herbs and their feathers are brushed.

The Balinese people see animality (being like an animal) as the opposite of humanity (being like a person). They hate behavior that is like an animal. So children are not allowed to crawl on the ground and when children become adults their teeth are made smooth so that they do not look like an animal. Balinese people think that eating and going to the toilet are disgusting. So these actions are done very quickly and privately. Balinese people hate and are fascinated by the “Powers of Darkness“, the double nature of man being both animal and human. Cocks make Balinese men think of these things.

The Balinese use the cockfights as a way of calming evil demons. They are thought to be a form of sacrifice. Cockfights are held for natural disasters and religious festivals. The lights are very violent and they always end in the death of one cock. The owner of the winning cock takes the body of the dead cock to his home. An owner who has a losing cock may become mad and curse the gods for his bad luck.