Can you bear another Trump pathology? It’s necrophilia

This is one of those “many years ago, I read…” things. So…

Many years ago, when I was reading biographies of Hitler, I learned that (1) he could be called a necrophiliac and (2) necrophilia, literally “love of death,” was a pathology covering more than having one-way sex with dead bodies.

Pulling out my old psychiatric dictionary is not particularly helpful here since it defines “necrophilia” as “A sexual perversion, whose condition is that the love object…must be dead before orgasm can be achieved.”

The dictionary does better with “necrophilism: A morbid desire to be in the presence of dead bodies.”

But, thanks to the brilliance of Erich Fromm and John D. Mayer, I broadened and deepened my conception of necrophilia to see Trump as its overt carrier. He doesn’t disguise his love of death. He cheers it on.

Trump does not try to mitigate the number of deaths from COVID-19 because he loves them. He finds no power in saving people from death. He finds his power in the mounting death toll. They have died at his hands. Unlike any rational leader who would suffer guilt for the mass death of his people, Trump is crazy with triumph.

I’d think this power charge he gets from the deaths he sees before him is also erotic. I’d think his sexual potency has been diminishing along with his mental capacities for years and the only erotic pulse he gets is destruction.

As his niece, Mary Trump, said of him, “Donald is a very sick man. He’s never going to get better. He’s only going to get worse. And if it suits his purposes he will take this entire country down with him.”

If it happens — and I don’t believe it will — it will surely be Trump’s last orgasm.



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New York, the anarchy city

Today in the Daily News there’s a two-page spread quoting lots of New Yorkers on William Barr’s charge that our city is anarchic. Here are some of the comments:

“I can’t help but feel attacked. Honestly, I just think they don’t like us very much. I’ve had my rough and rowdy days but I was never an anarchist.”Rosten Filan, 70.

Mary Robinson, 58, said anarchy was the last thing on her mind. She was more worried about setting her trash out properly with her recycling for sanitation pickup. “Like, is he going to send in the troops?” said Robinson.

“I’m in NYC. No anarchy in my area except money laundering through banks by Russian Oligarchs to finance campaigns.” — a tweet.

“Can’t spell anarchy without NYC,” someone else tweeted, along with a picture of a serene city park.

“New York’s anarchy on full display,” tweeted activist and artist Shannon Galpin, along with a picture of eight well-behaved dogs out for a walk. “Won’t somebody put an end to this violence? Law and order desperately needed.”

“If New York has anarchy, is alternate side parking still enforced?” — James Kinzer





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Do you want to know about a saint named Corona? Sure you do.

My dear friend, Andrea Vuocolo, is my hagiography maven. She knows more about saints and their stories than anybody of my acquaintance.

I can’t recall why, many years ago, I learned about her saint savvy. I must have been writing something and needed clarification about an odd name. She pulled out her book of saints and we spent a while laughing and grimacing over some of the names and the reasons why they were (posthumously) awarded sainthood. (Torture, it almost always has to do with torture. And until I read this article about St. Corona, I hadn’t known and wish I still didn’t that there’s an encompassing scholastic-ish term for it: “martyrology.”)

So I wasn’t surprised when Andrea sent me a link to an online journal from an organization called Aleteia, which seems to be a Catholic publication with an affection for contemporary life (there’s a story about Dolly Parton). I’m not digging into it very deeply. No, I’m not afraid of being converted. I just don’t have the time or interest.

But St. Corona, she’s got temporal relevance. Here’s the story with a warning: it’s ugly.

Little is known about St. Corona, but she and the man she prayed for, St. Victor, are listed in the Roman martyrology and the Hagiography of the Church. There is ambiguity surrounding the dates and locations of  St. Victor’s and St. Corona’s martyrdom. Most sources say it was in Syria, which was under Roman rule. Some say Damascus; others, Antioch. Most agree they were put to death in the year 170 A.D. Most historians agree they died during the reign of Marcus Aurelius and that they were put to death by order of a Roman judge named Sebastian.

The story (legend) tells the tale of a Roman soldier named Victor. The Romans discovered that Victor was a Christian. The soldiers brought Victor before a judge, named Sebastian, who despised Christians. He decided to make an example out of Victor. He was bound to a pillar and summarily whipped until his skin was hanging from his body, and then Sebastian had his eyes gouged out. Through it all, Victor never denied Christ.

Nearby was a 16-year-old girl name Corona. She was the wife of one of the soldiers, and she was also a Christian. (Corona’s husband did not know his wife was a Christian). As Victor was being brutalized, Corona decided she needed to help the slowly dying man. She chose to announce her Christianity to all present and hurried over to where they were torturing Victor. She knelt and began to pray for him, letting him know she was there for him. It did not take very long for the soldiers to bring her too before Sebastian.

Sebastian was livid that this young woman had so disrespected his authority. He immediately had her put in the prison and tortured. Then, he ordered her tied to the tops of two palm trees, which had been pulled down to the ground. At his signal, the ropes holding the trees bent were cut. The trees sprang back away from each other to an upright position. The force was so great that Corona’s body was ripped apart. Then Sebastian ordered Victor beheaded.

You can visit the remains of Corona and Victor at a basilica in Anzu, Italy which is in a province I never heard of, north of Venice.

Note: I’m somewhat distressed that Marcus Aurelius’ name has been dragged into this, given how much I appreciated his Meditations.


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