Disability, Pornography, Kompromat, and Trump

Kompromat in this instance employs paraphilia: abnormal sexual attraction, and at “The Act” Trump was treated to the sight of a deformed blind man as sex toy– a convoluted projection of teratophilia–a sexual attraction to deformed people or monsters.

In a ghastly but revealing article over at The Washington Post
Aaron Blake details some of the overlooked details in the Senate’s findings about Donald Trump and Russia. There’s the usual fawning over Putin, Trump’s beseeching of oligarchs, a probable affair with a woman (kompromat) while “the Donald” was in Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant…and then there’s this:

“And two witnesses — Rob Goldstone and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen — recall the Agalarovs and the Trump team visiting a club that featured a strange show which Cohen said involved a “sex act.”

Goldstone, a Brit who later served as an intermediary for the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, said Trump bodyguard Keith Schiller approached him about the proposed trip to a club called The Act, where an associate of Emin Agalarov was an investor. “Mr. Trump wants to come,” Schiller said, according to Goldstone.

Cohen described the club as “more than a burlesque club” and a “wild place.” Here’s Cohen’s recollection

He said the show that night featured a “young man” in a body suit who was blind and, in Cohen’s estimation, appeared to have suffered from birth defects. He said the man sang a patriotic song while a large woman in a thong bikini performed “sex acts” on him.”

Straight away my ears perked up–(I read with a screen reader) here’s kompromat meets disability meets freak show. Evers to Tinker to Chance.

In her book “Media, Performative Identity, and the New American Freak Show” Jessica L. Williams writes: “The freak show succeeded…because it reinforced binaries about gender, race, and ability but its failure was cemented when scientific advances and human rights issues altered the ways viewers saw otherness. ”

In other words, the freak show returns as pornography when science and human rights are nuisances.

Kompromat in this instance employs paraphilia: abnormal sexual attraction, and at “The Act” Trump was treated to the sight of a deformed blind man as sex toy– a convoluted projection of teratophilia–a sexual attraction to deformed people or monsters.

The Russians are terrific at Kompromat. After viewing “the act” should the news ever get out, the headline would read: “who’s the monster now?”

Blake adds:

“Trump’s visit to The Act was reported in a 2018 book by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, though it didn’t specify what was onstage that night. Cohen has teased his new book by apparently referencing the club visit but referring to another act — one involving urination — that doesn’t appear in the Senate’s report.”

So You Elected a Pornographer, Now What?

First things first: wash your hands. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve actually shaken hands with Donald Trump or not. All the major studies agree that frequent hand washing is good for you. My Finnish grandmother once shook Richard Nixon’s hand and then didn’t wash that hand for a month. As far as I know Nixon wasn’t into porn but he certainly had dirty hands.

I’m not an expert in pornography but like a famous Supreme Court justice I know what it is when I see it. We’re now living in the age of decline porn. Every story coming out of Washington or Biloxi is like something out of a soap opera. The National Basketball Association? Soap opera. Congress? You get the gist.

People have to love their porn. They have to wallow. Trump brags about grabbing women by their privates. Abuse ‘em and ditch ’em. That’s how he runs the government, conducts foreign relations, handles his business dealings. The man is a grifter. He’s also the decline pornographer in chief. He tells people the country is in trouble though he inherited a prosperous and largely well run nation. He tells people the dark hordes are coming although immigrants fleeing persecution are part of our national history and social identity. The man is sticky with self loathing, which, as I take it, as a necessary pre-condition for spreading porn.

Yes he’s the decline porn star in chief. He’s the Harry Reams of politicians. (Remember when he boasted during the debates about the size of his thing?)

The decline porn star needs endless dysfunction to succeed in spreading false misery narratives. Remember, he’s only happy when he can abuse and mislead people.

A thoughtful, earnest, truth telling chief executive doesn’t need decline porn–he or she can see the real problems facing the nation and bring decent people together to tackle them.

In order for Trump to spread his stickiness all over the place he needs smaller decline pornographers like Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham and countless others with dirty hands to admire his fecklessness and abuse of dignity.

Susan Sontag said famously: “What pornography is really about, ultimately, isn’t sex but death.”

Look at the children and adults dying on our border with Mexico.

Stephen Kuusisto and HarleyABOUT: Stephen Kuusisto is the author of the memoirs Have Dog, Will Travel; Planet of the Blind (a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year”); and Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening and of the poetry collections Only Bread, Only Light and Letters to Borges. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a Fulbright Scholar, he has taught at the University of Iowa, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Ohio State University. He currently teaches at Syracuse University where he holds a University Professorship in Disability Studies. He is a frequent speaker in the US and abroad. His website is StephenKuusisto.com.

Have Dog, Will Travel: A Poet’s Journey is now available for pre-order:
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Have Dog, Will Travel by Stephen Kuusisto

(Photo picturing the cover of Stephen Kuusisto’s new memoir “Have Dog, Will Travel” along with his former guide dogs Nira (top) and Corky, bottom.) Bottom photo by Marion Ettlinger