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.

Like most people, biologist and science journalist Matt Ridley just wants the truth. When it comes to the origin of COVID-19, that is a tall order. Was it human-made? Did it leak from a laboratory? What is the role of gain-of-function research? Why China, why now?

Ridley's latest book, "Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19," is a scientific quest to answer these questions and more. A year ago, you would have been kicked off Facebook for suggesting COVID originated in a lab. For most of the pandemic, the left practically worshipped Dr. Anthony Fauci. But lately, people have been poking around. And one of the names that appears again and again is Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance and a longtime collaborator and funder of the virus-hunting work at Wuhan Institute of Virology.

If you watched Glenn Beck's special last week, "Crimes or Cover-Up? Exposing the World's Most Dangerous Lie," you learned some very disturbing things about what our government officials — like Dr. Fauci — were doing around the beginning of the pandemic. On the latest "Glenn Beck Podcast," Glenn sat down with Ridley to review what he and "Viral" co-author Alina Chan found while researching — including a "fascinating little wrinkle" from the Wuhan Institute of Virology called "7896."

Watch the video clip below or find the full interview with Matt Ridley here:

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Dr. Anthony Fauci's arrogance is out of control and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is one of the only members of Congress calling him out to his face. Last week, Glenn Beck exposed the truth about what happened leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, who the top players in government and science were, and what their real response was in the first days of the pandemic during a live special, "Crimes or Cover-Up? Exposing the World's Most Dangerous Lie." Sen. Paul joined Glenn on the radio program to review some of the facts uncovered during the special and to explain his next steps moving forward in Congress.

Paul said it's "amazing" that so few on the opposite side of the political aisle seem to care about the dangers gain-of-function research poses to the world. COVID-19 has a 1% mortality rate yet it still managed to cause massive destruction around the world, he said. So, what if the next mistake results in a leaked virus with a 50% mortality rate? Because scientists are researching viruses as dangerous as that, Sen. Paul explained, and some — including Fauci — believe the risks are worth it.

"It is kind of amazing, particularly that no one from the opposite side of the aisle seems to care at all about the dangerousness of this virus and that it might have come from a lab, and in all likelihood did come from a lab," Paul said. "Not one Democrat is curious at all. You know, you would think that Democrats have at least some sensibilities about the danger of things. They tend to be the ones who want to regulate away the things that could be dangerous in the workplace. Yet they don't seem to care about something that could kill millions and likely did kill millions of people. This virus has a 1% mortality and killed 5 million people so far, around the world. Can you imagine if the next one that comes out of the lab has 15% or 50% mortality? And they are doing experiments, as we speak, with viruses that have 50% mortality, and Fauci seems to have no problem with this. He says we weigh the risks verses the benefits of the research, and he comes down on the side that the risks are worth it."

"All of humanity could be wiped out if they make [another] tragic error," Glenn responded. "This is not something that the elites should be the ones making the decision. We should all be involved in these decisions. There's no bigger decision to make than, 'should we be playing around with things that don't exist necessarily in nature that have jumped to humans?' Should we be playing around with these things, making [dangerous viruses], so in case it jumps to humans, we can kill it with a vaccine? This is insanity. Insanity. Especially with arrogance coupled to it."

Sen. Paul went on to point out the additional dangers of allowing any one person to have too much authority, particularly, as in the case of Dr. Fauci, a person with casual disregard for both science and individual liberty.

"Fauci not only has a casual disregard for science, but also for individual liberty. You combine the two — ignoring the science, and then having no regard at all for individual liberty — and you have a really dangerous situation. But it's also dangerous because we've centralized the authority," Paul explained.

"Look, I have opinions on where the virus came from. I have opinions on how to treat it. But they're my opinions, you don't have to take them. If you agree with me, you can listen to my opinions. With Dr. Fauci, it's not the same. He has opinions, but he wants you to be forced to do as he says. So it is the difference between coercion and freedom. And in freedom, there are many choices. But the real danger is, as we centralize authority, ultimately you get authoritarianism. And I think that he could easily be a medical dictator, if he were allowed to be."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation, or watch Glenn's special, "Crimes or Cover-Up? Exposing the World's Most Dangerous Lie," on YouTube or BlazeTV.com now.

Use promo code FAUCILIED for $25 off when you join BlazeTV.

Note: The content of this clip does not provide medical advice. Please seek the advice of local health officials for any COVID related questions & concerns.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

COVID-19 changed everything. The way we live our lives, how we operate our businesses, how we see each other. And now, the federal government is sinking its tendrils even deeper, threatening the fabric not only of our bodily autonomy, but of the republic.

Our American way of life may never be the same. To save it, we must understand the key fundamentals of the pandemic that transfigured our society into the nightmare it is today. What is the COVID-19 origin story? Who are its top players in government and science, pulling the strings? What was their REAL response in the first days of the pandemic? The answers to these questions are frightening.

Emails, documents, and federal contracts tell a dark story that is still dominating our lives. It's time to cast a light on the shocking truth. Because only with the truth can we emerge from the darkness of this "pandemic" and take back the liberty stolen from us.

This is Glenn Beck's most important chalkboard of his life. And the most pivotal time in yours.

Watch the full special below:

View the research and supporting documents for this special here.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.