Grant Cogswell's essay in this week's paper—about watching cockfights in Mexico in the middle of winter—begins:

My first night on the Oaxaca coast, the roosters kept me up till dawn. It is an urban myth—literally—of cartoons, cereal box packaging, and Dracula movies, that the male gallus gallus greets the sun with a sudden, singular cry. Truth is, they cry all the time. At midnight in Oaxaca in January, it is a wet 80 degrees. It is never cold here. The state of Oaxaca is where Mexico's belly sticks out into the Pacific, catching the deep, clean flow of open sea. You have never seen so many animals, so many fish. And this being Mexico, the nights are a storm of noise—the Catholic imperfectability of the world meaning no one ever yells to any person or animal to shut up. After midnight on the coast road southeast of Puerto Escondido, you can track the last lone pedestrians by the dogs going off like sensors and the roosters following, their humanlike screams propelled by their own tyrannical sperm count as if avatars through which the hard-ons in the boys' and bachelors' beds of Oaxaca were let sing. That sounds grandiose, but that's what I kept thinking about that winter, how the roosters' animal response vented what humans instead hold close or cook inside our minds into disorders that last long past when the people causing them are dead.

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