Naked Presidents: On Politics and Frisky Photos
I really enjoy it when, on one of my rare visits to the Twitter platform, I find myself staring at a picture of Trump jubilantly hashtagged #dickpic. I have never claimed to have a particularly mature or sophisticated sense of humour – and lord knows I won’t be claiming that here. I love everything about this tag: the double entendre, the schoolboy humour, the simplicity. There’s only one downside. It brings to mind the real deal.
Derisive comments regarding an incumbent head of state are nothing. Especially not this one. We’ve seen take-downs of his hair, his tiny hands, his baggy suits, his doll-dull wife, his chinless kids, his shitty attitude, his arrogance, his nerve, his macho-egotism.
But we’ve also seen something new. Something only appropriate in an age of digital fever. Trump might be the first President who’s been publically shamed for *forgive me* his genitalia. Never before have we been given the somewhat dubious opportunity to openly malign a leader’s phallus not for what it has done, but merely for what it is. Yet thanks to porn star Stormy Daniels, we have now been granted this questionable honour. Directly from her memoirs: “I lay there, annoyed that I was getting fucked by a guy with Yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart.”
Pre-internet, free speech of this kind needed editors, proof-checkers and willing publishers to get anywhere. Today, all it needs is Wi-Fi. Obviously I don’t have to describe the joy of the web upon hearing Stormy dish the gory details. How gleefully the quote was retweeted. How quickly it spread. How endlessly it trended. Soon, the public and press were speculating whether or not Stormy (or indeed some other unenthusiastic paramour) might have a photo of the porky porcini in question. In some quarters, debate moved to the legalities and moralities. Should we really have access to the President’s privates? Would discussion of his dick-particular warp our minds when we should be wholly focused on policy, stature, law and governance? Could the dick become decoy, consuming all our attention so we fail to notice constitutional changes? Is the trouser-snake the ultimate smokescreen, a tool as slippery as its seed, which will distract us just long enough for wars to spark and senates to crumble?
I know, all this information is a little hard to swallow. We can slow it down. Think, with the appropriate accompanying wince, of Bill Clinton. Bubba’s pecker led him towards every hole available, including an inevitable noose. The second President of the United States in history to be impeached, Bubba was the anguished victim of his own organ. Think of the disgrace, the shame, the horror. Think of Monica Lewinsky’s cheap-ass dress lacquered with his ejaculate. This, my friends, is the definition of dick-publicity gone wrong.
The insatiable fire burning in Bubba Clinton’s loins sent his reputation up in flames. And, though I don’t mind a little bonfire here and there, this really is too much heat for me. So, on to my next glittering point. We know what it looks like when a President can’t use his dick for good press: ridicule at best, impeachment at worst. But do you know what it’s like when a President uses his dick to triumph? To crush criticism and strike fear into the hearts of men (and women, depending on length and girth)?
No? Then it’s clear you don’t know enough about Lyndon B. Johnson. LBJ was 36th President of the United States, serving from 1963 to 1969 following Kennedy’s assassination. Here’s the meat of it: LBJ was packing and he didn’t care who knew. In fact, he wanted people to know. ‘Jumbo’, as he nicknamed Johnson Junior, ran riot in the White House. The member was so sweetly cherished by LBJ that he exhibited Jumbo hither and thither like the proudest papa. Every time someone walked into the bathroom while he was taking a leak, he’d turn around and shout, “Woo-eee, have you ever seen anything as big as THIS?!” proceeding to shake it “in almost a brandishing manner as he began discoursing about some pending legislation”.
He rummaged, unabashed, in his trousers during congress, and he requested a modified shower with a nozzle aimed directly at his penis. When he was told this would require a colossal and frankly tiresome amount of plumbing, he roared, “If I can move 10,000 troops in a day, you can certainly fix the bathroom any way I want it!” Once he was having a slash in a parking lot and a gust of wind blew his urine onto a Secret Service agent, who said, “Sir, you’re pissing on my leg.” Johnson replied: “I know. That’s my prerogative.”
And then there is my favourite presidential incident ever. During a press conference, when Johnson got sick of being badgered by reporters about the death toll in Vietnam and why the hell he’d started the war anyway, he unzipped his pants, pulled out his penis and roared, “THIS IS WHY!” at the audience. Needless to say, watching journalists were distracted from human rights and military discourse.
Look, I’m not saying Johnson was a stand-up guy. But he certainly gives new meaning to my general unease regarding the latent power of Presidential penis. There’s no denying he weaponized his little soldier, and this is what we have to fear if Trump is allowed to control his own dick-narrative. But then, what is the alternative? The thought of someone other than Trump spreading images of the Trump-junk seems uncouth. After all, the dick is an intensely personal thing; their primal purpose, coupled with the significance their hosts place on them, makes the D too easy a target. It seems shallow and unfair. Below the belt, if you will.
Despite the conundrum, we need to come to terms with the fact that one day we will see the first Presidential dick pic, whether it’s officially released by the White House or leaked online by an embittered Tinder fling. It’s an inevitability, like the collapse of all our ecosystems, and we have to consider the implications of living in a post-dick world. Would it normalise dick? Would we soon give dick no more significance than ankles, once considered scandalous? Or would we come to judge each president on his dick?
If we did start to judge each president on his schlong, they could be looking at some top-notch PR opportunities. Think of the short-lived hashtag #BDE, for big dick energy, meaning a casual, confident countenance, achieved by the innate knowledge of your beyond averagely sized member. You could harness that BDE nonchalance so easily with photographic evidence. A future candidate might repurpose the dick pic to sell his campaign, flying the flag for body confidence. Just imagine the fiery new arguments to be had. Would an impotent President be more compassionate than a virile one, leading to better welfare structure? Would a well-endowed President be better placed to wield his love wand, stern and true, against troubling foreign syndicates?
This sort of batshit crazy scenario fits perfectly with the finer journalistic conclusions of my colleagues. Cyriaque Lamar writes that “the dick pic is our cultural legacy”, arguing that it’s the only original art form of our time. He reasons that we should seek corporate sponsorships for the dick pic and offer training courses on how to get the perfect money shot. Which leads me to think the President shouldn’t be the only man in the public eye to harness his muscle. Why should Kim Kardashian be posing nude to flog more eye-shadow palettes? Why can’t Kanye showcase his nutsack, artfully dangled beside a pair of Yeezys? (Only when the revenue reflects this limitless new tactic might women feel, for the first time ever, the slightest hint of penis envy.)
Absurd though all of this is, it is nonetheless a parable for our times. Perhaps while the swinging dicks at the top of the food chain are busy setting up photography sessions, lights and HD camera lenses for their ultimate close-up, they’ll finally be room for female politicians to squeeze in through the gaps.
But much more likely, the dick pic will be just one more thing co-opted from your average Joe for the powers that be. Not every man can run with the giants, become a hero or an athlete, but every man gets a dick and usually, a smart phone. The humble, grainy, gory dick pic, once the preserve of every lonely, horny beast with a mirror will be appropriated by the Capitalists to run their regimes. This last refuge of the common man – in a world where you need a three-year degree for a job as a crab fisherman – will be taken from us, leaving us not even the small solace of being able to shock some unsuspecting female by inexplicably sending nudes as the mood strikes you.
I’m sorry to announce folks, that it looks as though the only solution is a premature return to dignity.
Image credit: Alison Jackson