Ryan: War

Photo by Sean Ryan

Virgil begins The Aeneid in darkness. "I sing of warfare and a man at war," followed by an invocation of the Muse and a ton of badass one-liners. Such as:

"The descent into Hell is easy" and "If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell" and "Let me rage before I die."

War is what happens when we lose our minds collectively, sometimes on a global scale. It is both uniquely human and bleakly inhuman. Brutalism by design, rococco on accident. An animalistic loss of composure that we perfect through elaborate, brilliantly organized maneuvers, only to devolve to our worst selves, overtaken by an ugliness that bursts up from Hell.

Murder is the worst thing a person can do, worse than rape. And war is industrialized murder, assembly-line killing, the violent death of millions of people, scattering our bones into the earth by the pile. Betraying ourselves in every possible way. And often accompanied by all sorts of heinous crimes, including rape. Which makes war, by far, the most odious behavior that humans can commit.

When a war begins, the world gets quieter. Collectively, subconsciously, we are frightened, like a child hiding from a monster. In 2020, this pronouncement — of war — is just as bone-rattling as it has ever been, same as it was in Virgil's Rome, only now, it's infinitely more tangled, complicated by invisible networks that we don't fully understand, like everything else we encounter these days. Because our human era will go down as "The Bluff Age," when everyone was constantly pretending to be relaxed, and competent, but, secretly, no one had the slightest clue what was happening, or why, and especially not how.

Right as I was gliding into the peaceful, dreamy territory of an evening nap, my phone began firing off under a stack of books on the bed. Emails, DMs, phone calls. A text from my father that said, "War."

"Jesus, not again," I said, with the same annoyance you get when the doctor is late and you're stuck in the waiting room.

In 2019 I had to cut five stories because the news moves too fast for all of us. And, here I was, two stories into part two of this election series, a new year, and I'd just spent an entire month preparing stories, had literally just completed the final edits on the six-part installment about Trump rallies in Louisiana, and now our attention as a country shifted to war.

Why We Fight: Prelude to War (Frank Capra) www.youtube.com

Times have changed since Frank Capra's "Why We Fight" series used cinema to explain World War II to the American public. In Prelude to War, the first installment, a vaudevillian narrator asks, "Why are we Americans on the march?"

The media change but the questions, at their core, stay the same.

But Trump hadn't tweeted in hours. An ominous sign.

And Twitter, to nobody's surprise, was a shitshow. A portion of the activity was news-related, mention of rockets hitting a U.S. airbase in Iraq, likely as retaliation for Trump's recent killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. An assassination that was itself a retaliation, in a history of retaliations too intermingled for anyone to remember who threw the first punch.

For the most part, however, Twitter was just as pathologically sarcastic and delusional as always, only now #WAR was trending.
Our own Stu Burguiere wrote: "In this moment of potential crisis, please make sure to tweet all of your worst inner thoughts." Spot on, Stu.

Meanwhile, the front page of Reddit was even more frantic than normal. At the top, a "Iran War" megathread, flawlessly assembled, with everything I needed all in the one place.

All of it was so serious. I needed a good laugh. A dose of comedy. So I put Fox News on the TV..

Some cardboard pundit in a spandex blazer kept saying that the Amendments to the Constitution are like people — they were born, they grow perfect, but some turn degenerate and come undone, until we're full of senseless death.

Then, like a robotic wax figure, he lifted his chin and faced the camera and said "War is inevitable."

The FoxNews logo spun like clipart into an ad for adult diapers. Next was a commercial for those Oakleys-style sunglasses that Navy Seal snipers wear. Isn't it great, the way they pop their heads out of the river with their sunglasses on?

Don't get me wrong, the other networks weren't any better. Just smug in a different way. And now add tension, uncertainty, fear. Would we live through another 9/11? Good God, no, no, no.

Outside, the air belted larger and farther and quicker than usual, slanting with cinema shade that hung behind a divided Moon. Half of it was bright, its usual morose, like an acne-faced teenager. And darkness gloved the other side, low and cracked like a parking lot.

The night seemed so painfully quiet, all at once.

"War and peace," I shouted, in the direction of my two dogs. "Darkness and light." They expected treats, given the tone of voice I'd chosen. They got treats.

Humans have had cognitive awareness for about 100,000 years now. War has baffled us since we were able to be baffled. Why do we fight? Poets, philosophers, artists, theologians have all plundered their minds for an answer and the best we can come up with is contradictory, at the very least. It seems that war and peace need one another, like a sexually-charged divorce. Existence itself needs that struggle, life and death working together.

Leo Tolstoy captured the existential absurdity of this dilemma in his novel War and Peace, which chronicles Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812. In it, he writes, "If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war."

Fighting for your own convictions turns out to be far trickier than we assume. Because we're not as independent as we'd thought. There is no silence in the world we have created, through language and art and religion and history. No single hero, no lone villain. It's never my world. It's only ever ours, with me in it.

Despite our postmodern concept of selfhood as a unique experience that each of us controls, we matter more to the collective than as an individual. Each of our lives finds meaning as a part of the greater whole. The rest of it is trophies.

Tolstoy writes, "Man lives consciously for himself, but serves as an unconscious instrument for the achievement of historical, universally human goals."

War is inevitable. But how it affects each of us is a matter of fate. Maybe you're born into the cozy rung of a country that nobody cares about or one that everybody loses to. War still happens, just elsewhere. It is as fortuitous as life itself. Who knows why we were born now, here, as the person each of us is. If you're lucky, war is something you can discover via Twitter, at your leisure.

New installments run Mondays and Thursdays Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

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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