FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Donald Trump’s ‘droit du seigneur’

In medieval Europe, droit du seigneur referred to a legal right which allowed feudal lords to have sexual relations with subordinate women. This tradition, however, had older origins. The Greek historian Herodotus (484-425 BC) claims a similar custom existed among the Adyrmachidae in ancient Lybia, “They are also the only tribe with whom the custom obtains of bringing all women about to become brides before the king, that he may choose such as are agreeable to him.”

In 1762, Voltaire wrote a five-act comedy Le droit du seigneur, which was only performed after his death. In his novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889), Mark Twain cites the practice in several parts including having King Arthur himself rule in favor of confiscating a young woman’s property because she denied her local lord his “right”.

Nowadays, with his inexhaustible panache, Donald Trump seems to be reviving that old custom. In the last few weeks, several women have come forward with serious allegations of unwanted attention from the unflappable Republican candidate. As he graphically said in 2005, when claiming that stars like himself could do anything they wanted with women, “Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.”

Not one to accept responsibility for his actions, when Trump was asked by moderator Anderson Cooper during the second debate with Hillary Clinton, “You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?” he replied, “No, I have not,” and quickly changed the subject of the discussion.

In recent days, five women have come forward stating that Donald Trump had sexually assaulted them, and they probably won’t be the last ones. One of them, Jessica Leeds, told The New York Times that watching the second debate made her to want to punch Trump.
Leeds was seated next to Trump during a flight that took place three decades ago. At the beginning he lifted the armrest separating both seats, tried to touch her breasts and later he tried to put her hand under her skirt. She said that the incident had totally unnerved her. She was angry and frightened. “He was like an octopus,” she said. “His hands were everywhere. It was an assault.”

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich tried to justify Trump’s behavior saying, “The New York Times goes back over 30 years to find somebody who had a bad airplane flight.” An even more bizarre explanation was given by one of his campaign personnel who stated that the allegations couldn’t be true because at that time of the alleged incident airplanes hadn’t removable armrests.

First lady Michelle Obama, in an impassioned speech at a Thursday rally for Clinton, said she has been shaken by Trump’s comments. “This was not just a lewd conversation,” she said. “It was not just locker room banter. This was a powerful individual talking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior.” Trump dismissed these accusations saying that they were fabrications orchestrated by the Clintons, and that he head evidence of their falsehood that he was going to release soon.

All these incidents involving serious sexual misconduct and other unusual behaviors on Trump’s part point out to a complex personality with definite characteristics bordering on the abnormal. Many of Trump’s characteristics agree with what is called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a hunter from Thespiae known for his beauty. He was a proud, and even disdained those who loved him. Nemesis, In the ancient Greek religion, Nemesis was a goddess who enacted retribution against those who succumb to hubris (arrogance before the gods).

Noticing Narcissus behavior, she attracted Narcissus to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water. He fell in love with it, not realizing that it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection he stared at it until he died. He is the origin of the term Narcissism, a fixation with oneself.

In 1899, Paul Näche was the first person to use the term “narcissism” in a study of sexual perversions. In 1911, Otto Rank published the first psychoanalytical paper specifically dedicated to narcissism, linking it to vanity and self-admiration. Three years later, Sigmund Freud published a paper exclusively devoted to this phenomenon which he called “On Narcissism: An Introduction.”

The DSM-5, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the standard classification of mental disorders used by professionals in the U.S. and in many other countries, includes the following symptoms of this disorder, which usually is not accompanied by commensurate accomplishments: Grandiosity; fantasies of power and personal attractiveness; self-perception of being unique; needing constant admiration from others; sense of entitlement; exploitative of others for personal gain; intensely envious of others and pompous and arrogant demeanor.

Anybody who has been watching Mr. Trump since the start of his campaign cannot fail to notice the striking resemblance of his behavior to include the above-mentioned characteristics. If he is not the poster boy for narcissism, then nobody else is. He feels that he has droits (rights), but he is not seigneur.

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador   Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail