Because my eyes are so over-used and sore, I've begun to explore podcasts, One of the first I listened to was really a wowser. Linked here: http://www.wtfpod.com/podcast/episode-1028-eve-ensler?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=bioneers It's about a book called "The Apology" written by Eve Ensler, the author of the "Vagina Monologues," which I didn't know until the program talked about it. The title was shocking once, but now we name genitalia as though we were a bunch of urologists. I've never seen or read the actual play, just heard the chatter.
The apology in question is what Eve wants from her father because from the age of 5 he raped her. When she was old enough to object and resist, he began to beat her. A competent and prosperous "suit," he is dead and never did apologize, so she has to pretend to be him to see if that can reveal him. She discovers what many of us have been working to understand: what have we been doing as a culture to create so many men with this violent obsession or delusion or whatever it is. It was not just a romantic perversion, because it included life-threatening violence. This is not "Lolita."
I want to say two things right at the beginning. One is that I know boys get caught in this vortex as well and women can put on this "suit" and act out the same evil domination. The other thing is that so far as I know or anyone I know can tell me, I was never abused in this way. In my family the perversion has been one of diversion, pretending that raw sex could be feathered and danced into something acceptable because it is romantic.
This conversation in the podcast was still undigested when on Twitter I was confronted with a link to the vid about Trump's evil that has been hinted at for a long time but never really seen, a suppression that I was predisposed to look behind -- frankly. I watched it. It was predictable, stupid, and felonious -- not a depiction of the acts (there were repeats) but an account by the girl who was supplied to Trump and others by the convicted Harvey Weinstein. She was barely pubescent (13) and Trump said she reminded him of his daughter, who was the same age at the time. Now that same daughter is chaperoning her father where the world leaders can easily see for themselves that he's quite mad. In the end he may escape making any apologies by pleading insanity.
The value of "The Apology" is that Eve and Mark Maron, her interviewer/ understander, give a clear -- if impassioned -- dissection about how such a man is made. It's the seed of empire, the notion that a young man who shows promise can be made into the heir of kings, bombarding him with demands and privileges that send him into a narcissistic whirl, keeping him from ever seeing other people outside his own needs. These boys-to-men become the center of acolytes who reinforce their pretensions in the hierarchy of Empire, spending their lives as intercessory dictators, the buffers between conquered countries and the king or emperor himself, passing the flattery and wealth upwards in order to protect themselves and their families. Never understanding that these governed people are human.
When something does break through his narcissistic impulse, he is likely to make the tenderness that would normally become nurturing and protective, into a deadly determination to make that child part of himself by literally and emotionally entering the child, dominating him or her, and -- if there is defiance or an attempt to escape -- punish and punish and punish. The child is deformed, limited, seeking lifelong for something unnameable, maybe in the form of a sexual partner. An imitation of Empire.
It's not unique, not even occasional. A high percentage of men in the empire-derived culture have done it to whomever was vulnerable, both physically and emotionally. In the ordinary population, estimates of the number of affected children run to maybe 30%, with higher percentages where drunkenness is accepted. My guess is that among senators the percentage is much higher and that it leaves them open to blackmail and hatred. What else accounts for the moral paralysis? This applies to educated, privileged persons as well as those only scraping by. I've heard these personal secrets from both economic categories. Seriously. Quietly drawing me aside to tell me. I never know how to react.
There are some people, especially the young and those who came of age in the Sixties and Seventies, who went against this Procrustean forcing, meant to create powerful males up against situations of great risk and cruelty, because the parents thought the achievement, whether sports, corporations, politics or best-selling novels, was the goal. Sons who failed to achieve were often thrown out and disowned. Some found real vocations that had nothing to do with empires, that allowed connection with others. Some died along the way or found an alternative context, like the gay community or artist's colonies. They are common in ministry, where results vary.
Ensler struggled her way out of a bad start partly through therapy and theatre, which gave her a bold and appealing voice. But she has grown most by converting her own hurt into generosity and help for others, specifically women who are victims of violence. Sex is just a subset of the entrapment and suffering of women. This book, "The Apology", is an effort to understand how men get enmeshed in the syndrome of trying to make women carry their cold-hearted projections and punishments. She works globally in many of the places where ideology supports the displacement of greed and power hunger onto the vulnerable.
All through this conversation, there are sirens in the background. Not intentional -- just urban living where we hear cops and ambulances all day and night, cleaning up consequences of damaging convictions that formed a thousand years ago, becoming more intense after the industrial revolution pulled people into cities and the mafia became an alternative form of government that makes democracy problematic.
The Ensler/Maron podcast is still on the air. The podcast does not mention Trump -- that's my jump. The vid about Trump is probably gone by now or will be disappearing back into the jungle soon. But maybe not. Maybe it will horrify enough people to begin the impeachment.