I’ll come to Tennessee’s answer to Dr. Mengele shortly, but first a word about his predecessor as Senate majority leader, that bruised son of Mississippi, Trent Lott. How was Lott finally induced to quit the post he loved so much, and from which vantage point he was able to guide so many millions to public works to his home state? A well-informed Republican source confides that Lott was
promised the chairmanship of the new Senate committee scheduled to oversee the vast Homeland Security Agency now in process of formation. So Lott will be able to continue dispensing prodigious patronage of the sort that has brightened the eroded downtown of Jackson, MS, with a vast new post office I was able to admire last spring. We may expect numberless counterterrorism facilities, command centers and kindred porkodromes to enrich the concrete pourers and building contractors of Mississippi.
As for Bill Frist, the millionaire Tennessee sawbones, everything you need to know about this unpleasing man was contained in one short paragraph of a profile of Frist by Michael Kranish in The Boston Globe Sunday magazine for Oct. 27, 2002, which discusses when Frist was in Boston, first at Harvard Medical School and then at Mass General.
"Frist is an animal lover who said his decision to become a doctor was clinched when he helped heal a friend’s dog. But Frist now found himself forced to kill animals during medical research. And his new dilemma was finding enough animals to kill. Soon, he began lying to obtain more animals. He went to the animal shelters around Boston and promised he would care for the cats as pets. Then he killed them during experiments. ‘It was a heinous and dishonest thing to do,’ Frist wrote. ‘I was going a little crazy.’"
So now the U.S. Senate is going to be led by the cat world’s answer to Dr. Mengele! A man who can do that is capable of any infamy. Can’t you just picture this oily Tennessean cooing and clucking over the tabbies and tortoise-shells at the shelter, solemnly wagging his head as the shelter staff counseled him on proper cat procedures, then dragging the poor creatures into his lab and torturing them to death? I call on the Humane Society to demand that Frist publicly apologize for this appalling, indeed ineradicable stain on his character, and pay substantial reparations out of the vast fortune that has accrued from the Hospital Corporation of America, founded by his father and brother.
While serving as an ardent toady of business, especially the health care and pharmaceutical cartels, Frist projected a "caring" image, accepted without demur by all except his former interns at the Vanderbilt Medical Center in Tennessee, where he amassed big bucks as a heart/lung transplant surgeon. "He was a complete asshole," recalled one to my brother Andrew recently. "Arrogant and unhelpful."
Frist, Andrew writes, "has subsequently let it be known that as a transplant maestro he ‘saw’ indigent patients. ‘The equivocation is telling,’ says the former intern, himself now a distinguished practitioner. ‘As far as we could see, the only indigent patients Frist saw were the ones he passed on the street on his way to operate on rich Saudis at the medical center.’"
If any further particulars are required to convict Frist, we need only say that he has been attracting the toadying attentions of Bono. Bereft of his two prime hosts in Washington, former Sen. Helms and former Treasury Secretary O’Neill, the appalling Bono has been calling on Frist and dining with Rupert Murdoch.
Squawks from The S&M Community
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom complains that I have been unfair both to the Coalition and to Jack McGeorge, the arms inspector who turned out to be a bigshot in the bondo/dom and sadomasochist "community." Among my sins: I called McGeorge "an experienced torturer." What’s wrong with that? Torture, as defined by Dan Mitrione, was the precise amount of pain, applied in the precisely required amount, to acquire the precisely required result. (Mitrione was a notorious CIA torturer, eventually captured by Uruguayan guerillas and executed.) Surely his proud description of his craft applies as a useful working definition of s&m practices, even though pleasure and not information is the objective.
Susan Wright, writing on behalf of the NCSF, noted proudly that "McGeorge is an activist and a leader in the SM-Leather-Fetish community who educates about safe, sane and consensual sexual expression for adults." His qualifications as a "leader" were proudly invoked by Jonathan Krall, a friend McGeorge dispatched as his emissary, to be interviewed by Salon. Two lines from the Salon piece: "He [Krall] says he has known McGeorge for more than 15 years through his very public participation in various S/M clubs.
"In the process, Krall believes, he’s routinely witnessed the ‘leadership qualities’ that will make McGeorge a fine arms inspector."
I think Wright was mostly pissed off by my derisive remarks about the semantic career of the word "community," in the course of which I jocularly yoked the BDSM community to the "cannibal community."
German Cannibal Goes Over the Top
The cannibal community was agog over some pretty far-out activities by two of that community’s members, one being now deceased and well-masticated. There have been abundant reports in the German and British press, but not much here, beyond a brief report on CNN.
Meet first Bernd Juergen B, who finished up on the terminal end of a consensual cannibal relationship. According to police reports, he wrote out his will and had it officially recognized by a notary on the morning of his disappearance March 9, 2001. In the will, he left most of his estate, including a penthouse apartment, to his live-in partner, a fellow named Rene.
Bernd Juergen B had told his boss at Siemens he was taking that Friday off "to attend to some personal matters." He was last seen at a subway station in Berlin. He then took a train some 300 kilometers from Berlin to an old house near Kassel. Reason for trip? Bernd Juergen B had responded to one of several adverts that read: "Gay male seeks hunks 18-30 to slaughter." The advertiser meant this literally.
Armin M was also a computer technician and until recently had a job with a software firm in the Rhine Valley city of Karlsruhe, 30 kilometers south of Rotenburg. He lived with his mother in the 17th-century half-timbered manor house, staying on there after her death.
"He was a mama’s boy," a neighbor later told reporters. "He was totally fixated on his mother, who he said never let him date girls. After she died, he began to thaw out."
After some initial pleasantries the couple got down to business. Armin cut off Bernd’s penis, sauteed it and the two ate it. The proceedings were videotaped by Armin. Police who later watched the tape are, according to the press, now undergoing psychiatric counseling. "The victim appeared to be fully aware of the situation," one investigator has told the press. "Videotape material definitely shows both him and the suspect engaged in eating his own flesh prior to his death." The video also shows that the victim willingly allowed himself to be castrated before both men engaged in eating his severed flesh.
Then Armin M removed body parts for later enjoyment and buried the rest. Police found frozen human flesh and skeletal remains, and a cellar that had been renovated into a makeshift slaughterhouse, complete with trough drains and meat hooks.
The best account I’ve seen was by Roger Boyes in the London Times for Dec. 13.
Armin M, it turns out, was a former sergeant-major in the German army who later worked for the council in Mainz. In the old house the cops found 50 videos that are said to be worth thousands on the "very specialised market for cannibal acts." After snacking on the hors d’oeuvre of Bernd’s penis they set forth for the slaughtering room, where Armin M switched on the camera, then stabbed Bernd Juergen B to death. He then hung the body upside down on a meat hook, allowing the blood to drain, and later cut and wrapped the flesh for freezing. Boyes quotes the head of the Criminological Institute in Wiesbaden, Rudolf Egg, as saying "modern cannibals use[d] deep-freezing to extend and ration out their pleasure. Primitive cannibals used to eat their victims all at one go soon after killing.
"If he really derived pleasure from eating a man," he said, "then he could not possibly eat everything in a single day. And he obviously did not want to eat rotten meat. So he froze the body parts; the act of eating then took on the aspect of a ritual and could be drawn into his sexual fantasies."
German columnists have been blaming Hollywood, specifically The Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon. They’re also sprinkling slurs on the cannibal community at large, with the mass-circulation tabloid Bild expressing concern that cannibals could be everywhere. "They are invisible behind their glasses, their hairstyles, their families, their work, their seemingly unblemished innocence."
Boyes reports that cannibalism "hits a nerve" for a whole generation of Germans who "remember the desperate eating of human organs during the German army invasion of Russia," when the three-month siege of Stalingrad saw the starving storm troopers eating the bodies of their dead fellows, though presumably they avoided dead Russians as untermensch and therefore unfit for Aryan consumption.
And Talking of Food…
A flock of wild turkeys strutted into my front yard two days before Christmas, here in Humboldt County, displaying the same faulty sense of timing that brought their forebears to this same yard three years ago on the eve of Thanksgiving. They like to jump up and down under my holly tree, trying to get what berries have been spared by the robins. Talk about a turkey shoot! This could have been Ground Zero for Meleagris gallopavo but as I was leveling my 12-gauge I remembered I was scheduled to pick up a 24-pound turkey raised by a 4-H kid in Hydesville, which I bought at the Humboldt County fair, plus my yearly batch of two dozen pheasants from a friend in Rohnerville. How much poultry can a man have in the freezer?
Also the wild turkeys looked a bit bedraggled, as well they might, considering they’d been weathering some of the worst storms ever seen on our storm-lashed chunk of coastline below Cape Mendocino. Out of my yard strutted one, spared for the nonce. I brined the 24-pounder for 24 hours and then spit-roasted the portly bird.