Ryan: The game of politics

Photo by Sean Ryan

Bullfighting is a gruesome art. A hateful, stomach-churning game.

In Spain, bullfighters are called "toreros," and they lead a cuadrilla, or entourage, of assistants and other fighters. Picadors are the men on horses with lances jabbing at the bull strategically, forcing it to keep its head lowered. Banderilleros pace around on foot, and jab decorative barbs into the bull's neck, disabling the muscles so that the bull's head droops and it can't use its horns.

The torero is the star, decked in his garrish traje de luces, an elaborate weave of silk and sequins and pendants of gold and silver.

Toreros are superstitious. They choose their flamboyant outfits' colors with pristine caution. They believe that different colors provoke different reactions from the bulls.

Of course, bulls are colorblind. They do not see red and get pissy. What incites their rage is the torero's sudden, inflammatory movement. Because, let's be real, bullfighting is just the masculine version of flamenco. And this is a parable for politics, as performed by President Donald Trump and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, at this week's State of the Union Address.

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A bullfight has three stages.

One: eruption.

Two: disaster.

Three: humiliation, confusion, death, betrayal and/or victory.

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When bull trots out, he is full of rage and confusion and fear. The torero reads the bull. Taunts it with his capote, the red cape.
This stage of the fight is a dance, as the torero boasts his acuity as a dancer.

Distracted by the cape and the undulating torero, the bull is vulnerable to the surgical jabs and lances from the picadors and the banderilleros.

These cowardly bastards are savage.

For me, it's always excruciating to watch.

But, at this point, the bull is spirited and fiery, so the cuts have little effect.

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In the second stage, the torero prances to safety, to a dugout, and the banderilleros sweep in. They face the bull head-on, then lunge a small lance into its back.

The bull shrieks and moans and rattles its eyes with helpless confusion.

At the start of a bullfight, the bull's gaze is aimed downward, but, as the bullfight progresses, the bull's vision sharpens so that, by the end, they're locking eyes with the torero, straining to keep their head lifted. Then, finally, it's nothing but clotted dirt.

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So. Who's the bull? Depends on your view of the situation and your particular biases. Maybe it's Trump, maybe it's Pelosi. But also maybe we're the bull. That would be awful, wouldn't it?

Just remember that the toreros wear a montera, the sulky astrakhan fur hat with the velvet lining. The bulbous nubs on each side represent bull horns.

Because, although toreros fight the bull, they do so as a symbolic equal. A man so wild and dangerous that he can defeat a monster. A matador is just a bull in some wacky costume.

Or. You can see the mastery and performance of it all. That Trump and Pelosi are engaged in a mesmerizing dance. Above all, a game.

I have exactly one tatoo: "To do a dangerous / thing with style / is what I call art." From the poem "Style" by Charles Bukowski,

Style is the answer to everything.
A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing
To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it
To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art
Bullfighting can be an art
Boxing can be an art
Loving can be an art.
Opening a can of sardines can be an art

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Also known as the "tercio del momento supremo," the final stage of the fight. When the torero lures the bull closer with each ballerina tilt and side hop.

By now, the bull is panting, coughing gasps, lungs contaminated with fluid, muscles severed, head impossibly heavy.

It moans occasionally, the lonesome bellow of an animal caught in unimaginable betrayal. All alone, facing hate and danger.

From the stands, you can hear its full-bodied exhalations, see the silver piercing quiver in its nasal septum. The torrero becomes the matador only if he kills the bull.

Matador means "killer," from "matar" to kill and the suffix "-dor," which signifies membership to an occupation.

*As his final maneuver, the torero takes his greatest risk. He must plunge a sabre into the bull's back, between its shoulders, dealing the fatal wound.

The toreros often fail to kill the bull on the first try. Only managing to deeply wound the animal.

The toreros repeat this dangerous maneuver until they shove the sword in deep enough that it pierces the bull's heart or severes its spinal cord.

As the bull writhes, the torero slits its throat slit, a spray of dark red into the well-lighted dirt.

Then it subsides. Surrenders. Its life vanishes, mostly.

Men on silly horses tie a rope around the bull's hooves and drag it out of the bullring, blood spurting into the chalky dirt.
It no longer matters whether you were even chanting for that bull, as the politician.

Because the bull seems so childlike and limp as men drag it through the dust and the occasional mud. Especially at the end.

If the matador did well, the crowd whistles, they wiggle white handkerchiefs into the air, and the matador is awarded one of the bull's ears. Or both if he performed flawlessly.

But, occasionally, the bull wins.

It may always die, but sometimes it makes sure not to die alone.

I've seen a few bullfights, in Madrid, and on one occasion the bull nearly won. It gored the torero's calf.

The audience gasped, recoiling, then leaned forward.

And the torrero — who was billed as the finest of the night —limped into a wooden crawlspace. He was young, lanky, all jaw and Roman nose like a jagged anchor. And, all decked in blinding pink, he became ladylike and uncertain.

He tiptoed around when he should have kept gliding. He trained his black eyes on floodlights pouring into the ring.

After a ten-minute pause, he returned with a bandage around his pink-and-gold socks, less mobile but still devilish enough to coax the bull into losing.

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It's no secret that I dislike politics, and that I strive, in my writing, to transcend ideology and tap into the deeper meaning of life, the human enormities we all face, in the hope that I can find an answer.

Despite the fact that I work at a conservative news site, I'm neither conservative nor liberal, not left or right or center, not anything. I'm a journalist. I believe in the old way: Find the truth, tell it clearly and honestly, then let the people decide. Leave the activism out of it, all of which I will cover in an upcoming installment titled "The Fourth Estate."

The night of the disastrous Iowa caucuses, at a fashionably indifferent dive bar in Des Moines, I had a few beers with bleary-eyed caucusers.

"I hate politics," I blurted out at one point, with a mouthful of popcorn.

A guy my age who'd caucused for Bernie asked, "If you don't like politics, why do you write for a political news site?"

It's a question I get asked a lot, something I've spent a lot of time pondering. And next month, I'll run an installment called "Outcast of the media world," which describes my weird journey from fiction writer to English teacher in Spain to academic to music journalist to reporter at a conservative news network with credentials for the White House. But in the moment, I had no decent answer, thanks to a long day and a row of empty Pabst Blue Ribbon cans. But the question stuck with me, so here's my answer.

"I write about politics for many reasons," I would like to have said. "Most of all, I want to make people's lives better, or even just a tad brighter, and I've been told by many people over the years that my stories and my words are how I'll accomplish this."

I write about politics because I want to know the wolrd better. And being at political events is so illluminating and electric and surreal. So alive.

I write about politics because I believe that each of our lives matters, and I've worked hard to get here and now I have a platform and, in the words of French philosopher Albert Camus, "Those of us who can speak have a responsibility to say something for those of us who can't."

I write about politics because political writing has gotten so boring and it's time for a fresh voice.

I write about politics because, sometimes, politics is an art, and art is what will save us.

New stories come out every Monday and Thursday. In the next two installations, I'll describe my view of the chaotic night of the Iowa caucuses. Check my Twitter. Send all notes, tips, corrections, etc. to kryan@blazemedia.com As always, thank you for reading.

Fox News host Greg Gutfeld joined Glenn on "The Glenn Beck Podcast" this week to talk about his new book, "The Plus: Self-Help for People Who Hate Self-Help."

Greg admits he is probably the last person who should write a self-help book. Nevertheless, he offers his offbeat advice on how to save America during what has become one of the most tumultuous times in history, as well as drinking while tweeting (spoiler: don't do it).

He also shares his "evolution" on President Donald Trump, his prediction for the election, and what it means to be an agnostic-atheist.

In this clip, Greg shares what he calls his "first great epiphany" on how dangerous cancel culture has become.

"I believe that cancel culture is the first successful work-around of the First Amendment," he said. "Because freedom of speech doesn't protect me from my career being ruined, my livelihood being destroyed, or me getting so depressed I commit suicide. Cancel culture is the first successful work-around of freedom of speech. It can oppress your speech with the scepter of destruction. We don't have freedom of speech anymore."

Watch the video clip below or find the full Glenn Beck Podcast with Greg Gutfeld here.

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Dr. Simone Gold joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Thursday to set the record straight about hydroxychloroquine -- what it is, how it works, and the real reason for all the current controversy surrounding a centuries-old medication.

Dr. Gold is a board certified emergency physician. She graduated from Chicago Medical School before attending Stanford University Law School. She completed her residency in emergency medicine at Stony Brook University Hospital in New York, and worked in Washington D.C. for the Surgeon General, as well for the chairman of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources. She works as an emergency physician on the front lines, whether or not there is a pandemic, and her clinical work serves all Americans from urban inner city to suburban and the Native American population. Her legal practice focuses on policy issues relating to law and medicine.

She is also the founder of America's frontline doctors, a group of doctors who have been under attack this week for speaking out about hydroxychloroquine during a news conference held outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington D.C.

On the program, Dr. Gold emphasized that the controversy over hydroxychloroquine is a "complete myth."

"Hydroxychloroquine is an analogue or a derivative of quinine, which is found in tree bark. It's the most noncontroversial of medications that there is," she explained.

"It's been around for centuries and it's been FDA-approved in the modern version, called hydroxychloroquine, for 65 years. In all of that time, [doctors] used it for breast-feeding women, pregnant women, elderly, children, and immune compromised. The typical use is for years or even decades because we give it mostly to RA, rheumatoid arthritis patients and lupus patients who need to be on it, essentially, all of their life. So, we have extensive experience with it ... it's one of the most commonly used medications throughout the world."

Dr. Gold told Glenn she was surprised when the media suddenly "vomited all over hydroxychloroquine", but initially chalked it up to the left's predictable hatred for anything President Donald Trump endorses. However, when the media gave the drug Remdesivir glowing reviews, despite disappointing clinical trial results, she decided to do some research.

"[Remdesivir] certainly wasn't a fabulous drug, but the media coverage was all about how fabulous it was. At that moment, I thought that was really weird. Because it's one thing to hate hydroxychloroquine because the president [endorsed] it. But it's another thing to give a free pass to another medicine that doesn't seem that great. I thought that was really weird, so I started looking into it. And let me tell you, what I discovered was absolutely shocking," she said.

Watch the video below for more details:


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According to the mainstream media's COVID-19 narrative, the president is "ignoring" the crisis.

On tonight's "Glenn TV" special, Glenn Beck exposes the media's last four months of political theater that has helped shape America's confusion and fear over coronavirus. And now, with a new school year looming on the horizon, the ongoing hysteria has enormous ramifications for our children, but the media is working overtime to paint the Trump administration as anti-science Neanderthals who want to send children and teachers off to die by reopening schools.

Glenn fights back with the facts and interviews the medical doctor Big Tech fears the most. Dr. Simone Gold, founder of America's Frontline Doctors, stands up to the media's smear campaign and explains why she could no longer stay silent in her fight against coronavirus fear.

Watch a preview below:


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It's high time to leave the partisan politics behind and focus on the facts about face masks and whether or not they really work against COVID-19.

On the radio program Tuesday, Glenn Beck spoke with Drs. Scott Jensen and George Rutherford about the scientific evidence that proves or disproves the effectiveness of mask wearing to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Then, Dr. Karyln Borysenko joined to break down where the massive political divide over masks came from in the first place.

"I think if we were to talk about this a couple months ago, I might have said, 'Well, there's the science of masks, and there's the emotions of masks.' But, unfortunately, there's something in between," Jensen said. "I would have thought that the science of masks would have to do with the physics of masks, so I did a video a couple months ago where I talked about the pore side of a cotton mask or a surgical mask."

He explained that properly worn masks can help reduce the spread of virus particles, but cautioned against a false-sense of security when wearing a mask because they are far from providing complete protection.

"If you have a triple-ply mask, the pore size will end up being effectively five microns. And five microns, to a COVID-19 virus particle, is 50 times larger. That's approximately the same differential between the two-inch separation between the wires of a chain-link fence, and a gnat," Jensen explained.

"But now what we're seeing is if we have some collision of COVID-19 viral particles with the latticework of any mask ... if you're breathing out or breathing in and the viral particles collide with the actual latticework of a mask, I think intuitively, yes, we can reduce the amount of virus particles that are going back and forth."

Dr. Rutherford said masks are essential tools for fighting COVID-19, as long as you wear them correctly. He laid out the three main reasons he believes we should all be wearing masks.

"So, we're trying to do three things," he said. "First of all, we're trying to protect the people around you, in case you are one of the 60% of people who have asymptomatic infection and don't know it. The second thing we're trying to do is to protect you. The third thing we're trying to do is, if you get infected, you'll get infected at a lower dose, and then you're less likely to develop symptoms. That's the threefer."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:


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