Glenn's Glorious Interpretation of Opera Classic 'Madame Butterfly'

Glenn regularly takes his daughters on daddy daughter dates, and this week he had the opportunity to see Madame Butterfly at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas.

Friday, Glenn treated his audience to a not-to-be missed retelling of the classic story.

Listen to this segment, beginning near mark 8:00, from 'The Glenn Beck Program':

PAT: Are you going to another opera in the meantime over the weekend? You going to hit the opera scene?

GLENN: Just because I do a father-daughter date and I do the things that my daughter wants to do, I don't know why you have to mock me for that.

PAT: It's pathetic.

STU: We seen you -- you're woke Glenn Beck, right? So this is you opening up to new cultures.

GLENN: No, I've gone to operas since my daughter started getting into this.

STU: Oh yeah, the whole thing is bullcrap.

GLENN: Okay, so let me tell you, this is the third installment, the third time I've gone to the opera with my daughter.

PAT: The last time I heard about this, I think it's The Nose in New York.

GLENN: Lincoln -- Kennedy Center?

PAT: And all they did was sing about a nose the whole time.

GLENN: No, a nose with feet that came out of the nostrils. It was really great. I am convinced that that is somebody who was high with his friend and went, you want to screw with the people that all think, oh, oh, I understand what this is all about? We're going to write the dumbest, craziest, and we're just going to say this is what it's about, and you watch. They'll all jump on.

Because I watched that thing and we want, come on, people! And the people were like, oh, isn't this brilliant? It's a nose with nostrils coming out so it can stand up and walk around and singing about communism. No, it's not wonderful.

STU: And it was feet coming out of the nostrils.

GLENN: Yeah. That's how it walked. So anyway. That was the last one. Before that I saw the Wagner Ring Cycle. I don't know which one. But it's the famous one, I guess, with the tree and the sword. That's all I remember from it. It's like, where is my sword! Five hours of where is my sword. It's right there! See the tree? (Laughter.) It's the only other thing on stage that isn't the tree! Laugh. Oh, my gosh.

JEFFY: That was at the met.

PAT: He was apparently very, very near sighted.

GLENN: Oh, my gosh. Where is my sword? Shut up. I almost ran up onstage. Here. Here it is! (Laughter.) So Madame Butterfly comes to town here in Dallas. And my daughter --

PAT: Is this a traveling Broadway thing? Don't know?

GLENN: I don't know. Let me preface it with you're not going to want to go after I describe what I've seen. But if opera was like this, I would go more often. It was really amazing. It was really amazing. The people that were singing were just -- this woman, I guess, is the person that you want to see as Madame Butterfly. I didn't even know what the story was about. I read it in Wikipedia on the way.

(Laughter.)

And it was really amazing. But may I just say this: If your story is about a 15-year-old beautiful, delicate, flower, a girl who is virginal, young, soft, beautiful, delicate, little, frail, youth, glowing, and so she comes out in the first act. The first guy comes out, he's supposed to be an American, and he's a big, hairy, Italian opera singer, singing in Italian, and he's the American, and he comes out and he talks about, (singing) oh, my beautiful flower, she's coming, she's coming, I can't wait to see her I'm going to marry her, she's not going to, it's a fake, no, don't marry her, like, that she's a beautiful flower, so delicate, don't crush her petals, no, no, no I'm going to marry her because I love here even though I'm going back to America-- (singing deep tones).

So I'm waiting for this beautiful, delicate flower, and it's a 40-year-old opera singer.

(Laughter.)

And she comes onstage and she's like, (singing) I'm a little flower. And I'm like, no, honey, you're not! No!

PAT: Isn't she somewhat rotund as well? Corpulent?

GLENN: I would describe her as an opera singer. Stick some horns on her and you've got the standard opera singer. So she's bigger than the American guy. Okay. And she's like, (singing) oh, I'm so young and small and fragile. No, honey, no you're not. So then she's -- she's singing to the guy who's going to marry her, and then her uncle comes, and she's got these Japanese family, these relatives, who are strangely all white people, and they all come on, and they're all singing, (singing) we're the family at the wedding. We just love the wedding. And then the uncle comes, and the music changes, and it's dark.

STU: Are they really explaining this, by the way?

GLENN: No, it's almost -- it's almost that. Yes.

STU: Okay. Sorry.

GLENN: So you don't have a problem -- it's not deep. What I've found is the lyrics are not deep.

STU: They're just saying the thing that's happening.

GLENN: Sometimes. A lot of times. Most of the time. It's not real subtle, you know. And now it may be the translation, because you're watching the translation up above the stage.

STU: You're not even watching the show.

GLENN: Yeah, you're watching, and okay, that's what she's saying. Well, you didn't translate that. What the hell is that? What did she just said?

PAT: Do they normally have the English translation?

GLENN: Some do and some don't. Opera is really weird. There's no microphones.

PAT: I thought you just had to know it or not.

GLENN: No. Some don't.

PAT: Huh.

GLENN: And they get really snotty, and they're like, if you don't know it --

PAT: But we in Dallas. We want to know.

GLENN: New York was like that.

PAT: They would to know the words.

GLENN: New York was like that too. I went to the symphony in -- with my other daughter on our father-daughter date Saturday. I almost broke my neck getting up so fast. I couldn't believe it. I come from radio, it's the pops and the orchestra and the guy comes out and shaking the hands of everybody, and standing up and he just walks up, and all of a sudden as he walks up to the platform, everybody jumps to their feet, and he points, and there's a snare drum roll. And I'm like, what the hell, and they start playing the national anthem. I couldn't get up fast enough. Everybody was standing up. I thought, wow, welcome to Texas.

JEFFY: No kidding.

GLENN: They do not do that in New York. National anthem? What? Anyway, so then --

PAT: Xenophobic.

GLENN: Then the uncle comes on, and the uncle is mad because she gave up her religion to marry him and become a Christian, and so he's mad. And all I can think of is, he's also in an enormous black man.

(Laughter.)

JEFFY: The uncle.

GLENN: The uncle. You have the beautiful flower who is not Japanese, she's Chinese; not 15, she's 40. She's thought delicate. She's sturdy.

STU: Casting maybe.

GLENN: I'm thinking, casting is not a problem in -- in opera. I think you're supposed to --

STU: It's just voice quality?

GLENN: I guess. I don't know. It's the only place when you -- I mean, what, it's all -- that's all it is. It's about the music. I really want to know the history of opera. Did it just start out -- because the acting is horrendous in almost every opera I've ever seen.

STU: Because it's not about that. Right? It's about --

JEFFY: A musical, right? On Broadway. A Broadway play.

GLENN: Could it be, and I apologize to everyone who's a musicologist and knows anything about opera.

STU: The three people that are out there.

GLENN: I thought it may have started -- the guy wrote the music, and it's like, this is great, let's get together Saturday and invite friends and blah-blah-blah, and they did that for a couple of weeks and somebody said, you know, it would be cool if we dressed up like the people. And they're like, you got to make costumes. Okay. We'll dress up. Kind of like, you know, a Star Trek convention where people are dressing up. They're like, I'll dress up as the character, and eventually they're like, you know what? I should pick up a knife or a fake knife and pretend it's that. Okay. And then it just started -- somebody said, I could build a set, and we could -- you're pretending. Why don't I pretend? But nobody ever thought, let's actually do a real performance. It's really about the singing. The rest of it is just -- because we had extra time on our hands. I'm not sure.

STU: Surely that's in a history book somewhere about opera.

GLENN: Either that, or they just have the worst directors, actors, and everything else.

PAT: Not good casting people.

GLENN: No. But really good.

PAT: Yeah, because your initial thing was --

JEFFY: It was incredible.

GLENN: It really was.

PAT: Doesn't sound it. Does not sound it.

GLENN: Pat, I bet you would like it.

PAT: No way.

STU: You liked La-La Land.

GLENN: You did.

PAT: Only because I'm so varied in my tastes. I'm so deep. This is complex.

GLENN: This is the Dallas Opera Company, I guess. I don't know anything about it. But this is the Dallas people. I don't think this traveling -- maybe she is traveling. I don't know. But this is absolutely tremendous. It's really, really good.

PAT: I'm sure they'll thank you.

(Laughter.)

LENN: None of the guys are going to listen to these reviews.

STU: Safe to say.

PAT: Dallas opera, you're welcome.

GLENN: You're welcome. Actually -- [Laughs.] -- I know they're not listening so I'm not saying this because they care. It was really good. I went home, I woke up Tania, and she said, how was it, and I always explain about going to the opera and I said, this one, Honey, I want to go again. They may not let me in. I may have to wear a disguise, but I want to see it again. It was really, really good. Really good. And I'm clearly not the biggest of opera fans.

[break]

GLENN: We were just talking about the opera is a wild place to go. I mean, on a Wednesday night in Dallas, Texas.

JEFFY: If you want to party.

GLENN: A few people in tuxedos. Every guy was in a tie and jacket. It was really formal.

PAT: That's unusual. Because we do not do that for anything anymore. Even Broadway, nobody dresses up for.

GLENN: No. Especially in Dallas.

PAT: In Dallas it's more so.

GLENN: In Dallas, there's cowboy black tie, can which means you wear a shirt, a tuxedo.

PAT: And jeans.

GLENN: And jeans. We don't even do black tie here. And it was amazing. And the theater here, it's like the Winspear theater or something.

JEFFY: Yes.

GLENN: How many theaters have we been to?

PAT: Many.

GLENN: We've been to some of the most beautiful theaters in the country. This is by far the most beautiful theater I've ever seen, and paid for by private money.

PAT: Wow.

GLENN: It is beautiful. Beautiful. Unbelievable theater. Must have cost those rich people a fortune.

PAT: If only Foreigner would play there, I'd get to see it someday.

GLENN: They'll take anybody. I asked, do you rent this place out? And she's like, yeah -- only in Texas. Yeah, we've even done birthday parties here.

I'm like, who the hell has their birthday party here? I want to know that.

PAT: Wow.

GLENN: Wow!

JEFFY: Ross Perot.

GLENN: Yeah. Probably somebody like Ross Perot.

The themes of healing and redemption appear throughout the Bible.

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. — 1 Corinthians 15:43
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. — Mark 2:17.

So, for many Christians, it's no surprise to hear that people of faith live longer lives.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. — Jeremiah 17:14.

But it is certainly lovely to hear, and a recent study by a doctoral student at Ohio State University is just one more example of empirical evidence confirming the healing benefits of faith and religious belief.

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Moreover, the study finds that religious belief can lengthen a person's life.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! — Isaiah 38:16

The study analyzed over 1,000 obituaries nationwide and found that people of faith lived longer than people who were not religious. Laura Wallace, lead author of the study, noted that "religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life."

The study notes that, "people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not, which shrunk to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered."

And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. — Matthew 10:1

"The researchers found that part of the reason for the boost in longevity came from the fact that many religiously affiliated people also volunteered and belonged to social organizations, which previous research has linked to living longer. The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives," said Baldwin Way, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at Ohio State.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

In addition, the study showed how the effects of religion on longevity might depend in part on the personality and average religiosity of the cities where people live, Way said.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. — Luke 5:17
Heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you. — Luke 10:9.

In early June, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual report on the fiscal health of these programs, and the situation looks dire. Medicare is scheduled to run out of money in 2026 (three years sooner than anticipated), while Social Security is expected to run out in 2034. The rising national debt is only one of the well-known financial struggles the millennial generation faces. The burdens of student loan debt, high housing prices (thanks to zoning restrictions), stagnant wage growth, the rising cost of healthcare and lingering aftershocks of the Great Recession are among the biggest sources of economic anxiety millennials feel.

Progressive politicians have been very successful at courting the youth vote, partly because they actually promote policy ideas that address many of these concerns. As unrealistic or counterproductive as Senator Bernie Sanders' proposals for single-payer health care or a $15 an hour minimum wage might be, they feel in theory like they would provide the economic stability and prosperity millennials want.

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Republicans, on the other hand, have struggled to craft a message to address these concerns. Fiscal conservatives recognize, correctly, that the burden of the $20 trillion national debt and over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities will fall on millennials. Some conservatives have even written books about that fact. But the need to reform entitlements hasn't exactly caught millennials' attention. Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, in her book The Selfie Vote, notes that millennials generally view protecting the safety net as more important than reducing the deficit.

Clearly, Republicans have a problem. They need to craft solutions that address the millennial generation's struggles, but they can't seem to sell entitlement reform, their biggest policy preference that addresses those problems. The Republican approach to wooing millennials on policy is failing because talking about stopping the debt from reaching an unsustainable level is long-term and abstract, and offers few immediate tangible benefits. A new approach to both pave the way for entitlement reform and give millennials an immediate financial boost is to first reform not entitlement spending, but the payroll tax: specifically, by partially (or wholly) replacing it with a value-added tax.

Under the current Social Security model, workers pay for the benefits of current retirees through the payroll tax. This system creates the illusion of a pension program, in which what you put in is what you get out, but in reality Social Security is a universal safety net program for the elderly paid for by taxes. The payroll tax falls on workers and is a tax on labor, while the value-added tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption imposed at every part of the production process. Assuming that this policy change is revenue-neutral, switching to a VAT will shift the responsibility for funding Social Security and Medicare away from workers, disproportionately poorer and younger, and onto everyone participating in the economy as a whole. Furthermore, uncoupling Social Security funding from payroll taxes would pave the way for fiscal reforms to transform the program from a universal benefit program to one geared specifically to eliminating old-age poverty, such as means-testing benefits for high-income beneficiaries, indexing benefits to prices rather than wages or changing the retirement age.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences. As the Tax Policy Center notes, the change would actually make the tax system more progressive. The current payroll tax is regressive, meaning that people with lower incomes tend to pay a higher effective tax rate than people with higher incomes. On the other hand, the value-added tax is much closer to proportional than the payroll tax, meaning that each income group pays closer to the same effective tax rate.

For Republicans, such a change would fit conservative economic ideas about the long-run causes of economic growth. A value-added tax has a much broader base than the payroll tax, and therefore would allow for much lower marginal tax rates, and lower marginal tax rates mean smaller disincentives to economic activity. According to the Tax Foundation's analysis of a value-added tax, the VAT would be a more economically efficient revenue source than most other taxes currently in the tax code.

Not only would replacing part or all of the payroll tax provide an immediate benefit to millennial taxpayers, it would also open the door for the much-needed entitlement reforms that have been so politically elusive. Furthermore, it would make the tax code both more pro-growth and less regressive. In order to even begin to address the entitlement crisis, win millennial support and stimulate the economy in a fiscally responsible manner, Republicans must propose moving from the payroll tax to the VAT.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate. His writing has appeared in Townhall and The Federalist. He is a federal policy intern at the Tax Foundation. Opinions expressed here are his only and not the views of the Tax Foundation. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Glenn was joined by Alanna Sarabia from "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios on Thursday for an exclusive look at Mercury Museum's new "Rights & Responsibilities" exhibit. Open through Father's Day, the temporary museum features artifacts from pop culture, America's founding, World Ward II and more, focusing on the rights and responsibilities America's citizens.

Get tickets and more information here.

Watch as Glenn gives a sneak peek at some of the unique artifacts on display below.

History at the Mercury Museum

Alanna Sarabia interviews Glenn Beck for "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios.

Several months ago, at the Miss Universe competition, two women took a selfie, then posted it on Instagram. The caption read, "Peace and love." As a result of that selfie, both women faced death threats, and one of the women, along with her entire family, had to flee her home country. The occasion was the 2017 Miss Universe competition, and the women were Miss Iraq and Miss Israel. Miss Iraq is no longer welcome in her own country. The government threatened to strip her of her crown. Of course, she was also badgered for wearing a bikini during the competition.

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In an interview, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, said:

When I posted the picture I didn't think for a second there would be blowback. I woke up to calls from my family and the Miss Iraq Organization going insane. The death threats I got online were so scary. The director of the Miss Iraq Organization called me and said they're getting heat from the ministry. He said I have to take the picture down or they will strip me of my title.

Yesterday, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, posted another selfie with Miss Israel, during a visit to Jerusalem.

In an interview, she said that:

I don't think Iraq and Israel are enemies; I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other. There's a lot of Iraqi people that don't have a problem with Israelis.

This is, of course, quite an understatement: Iraq, home to roughly 15,000 Palestinians, refuses to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate country, as it is technically at war with Israel. The adages says that a picture is worth a thousand words. What are we to do when many of those words are hateful or deadly? And how can we find the goodness in such bad situations?