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Naked Athena vs. Drumpf

Losing badly to the Coronavirus—now topping 150,000 deaths in America— Herr Drumpf, the “winner” who “hates to lose,” unleashes unmarked Federal stormtroopers to storm the streets of Portland, injuring and kidnapping peaceful protestors, distracting the media, exciting his base and horrifying the rest of us.

Seriously, is this Oregon or Iraq?

No real bombs or bullets (so far), but plenty of pepper balls, baton beatings, stun grenades, rubber bullets that often wound, sometimes seriously. And tear gas! Plumes like small tornados and billowing clouds of toxic, choking smoke enabling this massive camouflage-clothed Federal invasion of an American city.

It’s quite a show. A veritable spectacle. The Theater of Cruelty (with a French beret tip to Antonin Artaud) plays Portland.

It’s also a game. And Team Trumpus is losing—at least on the football field of public opinion.

After all, his “enemy” is literally the people of Portland: Black Lives Matter, the Wall of Moms holding yellow roses as they yell, “we’ve got your damn WALL right here” (maybe that’s why the damn thing is collapsing), the Wall of Dads (a.k.a., Fathers Against Fascists) armed with leaf blowers to blow away the tear gas, a Wall of Non-Binary Parents with homemade shields and umbrellas, an impressive Wall of Vets (some of whom are disabled), a Wall of Lawyers (got to have your lawyers on the battlefield), Teachers Against Tyrants, oh and Antifa too.

Is Antifa a “terrorist organization”? Only in the sense that they terrify the Trumpus. Moreover, Antifa is not even an organization. It’s short for “anti-fascist.” Are you against fascism? Then you are Antifa too.

And then there’s the Naked Athena…

At first, when I saw the now-viral photo of her sitting calmly without clothes on a city street, facing the camo-clad Feds lined up before her like a firing squad, I thought it was a photoshopped fake. It just looked too cool to be true.

Then I found the video and realized she’s real…

An ethereal vision of classical grace rises up from the smoky battlefield. A muse of peace-through-pleasure wearing nothing but a black face mask and beanie, walks the filthy street like it’s a Paris runway, then stops to do battle with a dozen over-dressed, over-armed Trump-issued thugs, undressing and disarming them, laying bare the bottom line of their abusive mission.

Like Lady Godiva riding naked through Coventry to protest oppressive laws, Naked Athena protests the presence of Federal agents in her city.

She strikes what looks like a yoga position as they shoot fireballs at her feet. Did one hit her?

A male protestor with a makeshift shield tries to “protect” her. Gently but firmly, she pushes him out of her way as she displays her nudity to authority, a visual variation on speaking truth to power.

She looks them in the eye, her emotions bared as well as her body.

In her silence, the Naked Athena represents different things to different people. To me, she symbolizes Portland’s famous spirit of organic, freethinking, good-natured rebellion, and what I call the Bonobo Way, using erotic power and pleasure to make peace.

Suddenly (on the video), the Portland police announce their arrival. The Feds appear to turn around and leave her, the Naked Athena, victorious in her vulnerability, her eyes smiling, her hand touching her chest in this moment of what looks like raw, naked triumph of the human spirit against tyranny.

Or maybe she’s just relieved she wasn’t killed.

In Greek mythology, Athena is the Goddess of Wisdom which Plato identified as “moral intelligence.” As the Patron Goddess of Athens, one of the first democratic cities (at least for adult male Athenians), she is the Goddess of Democracy.

Athena is also the Goddess of War, but unlike Aries, the God of War, who embodies toxic masculine aggression and brute force, Pallas Athena is a tactical warrior woman, a powerful trickster, patron of wily Odysseus who invented the famous Trojan horse, sneaking the Greeks (who were losing the Trojan War at the time) into the gated city of Troy for the win.

The secret to the Greek Goddess Athena’s success is clever strategy that uses the enemy’s physical power against them, just as Portland’s Naked Athena uses the Feds’ authoritarian, heavily armed presence against them.

Of course, there are those who criticize the Naked Athena. On the right, they call her a symbol of all that is wrong with the left: decadence, immorality, nudity and sexual freedom.

On the left, they question her deserving all this attention. Some take issue because she appears to be white and conventionally beautiful, saying that there have been Black near-naked protestors who, perhaps unfairly, received more negative reviews.

They make a good point. The protestors of color dancing before the police are also awesome, and they deserve to be commended for their bravery and sexual spunk in the face of overwhelming force.

“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution,” Emma Goldman is reputed to have said. She probably didn’t say it, but I appreciate the sentiment and, thankfully, there are many ways to dance in this revolution.

Though none of the other dancing protestors I’ve seen so far have been completely nude, for what that’s worth, nor are they moving in that slow, mystical style of a Bonobo Way Ballet.

Some try to slut-shame the Naked Athena, calling her an “exhibitionist,” as though that negates her protest.

But others (like me) admire her courage and artistry that will stand as a butt crack-blurred symbol of erotic revolution in our history books… if there are history books in America’s uncertain future.

Regardless, the Naked Athena is a lovely example of one way to combat overwhelming force in the nonviolent traditions of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Femen and the bonobos.

Then… just as I’m accepting the Naked Athena as real—but consigning her identity and humanity to the realm of unknowable mystery—she speaks!

Lo and behold, the divine goddess is a regular, normal person.

Her name is “Jen,” though she doesn’t divulge her last name on the local progressive Portland podcast, Unrefined Sophisticates, on which she chooses to come out.

“I came here because I think stories are worth exploring,” she explains. Needless to say, I listen to every word of her story.

Jen says she feels like a separate entity from “Naked Athena,” the appellation having been conjured in a twitter post. I concur that she seems like a separate entity… though that divine symbol of protest and this thoughtful-sounding human named “Jen” do share the same body.

She also clarifies a few facts. For starters, she isn’t doing yoga (she stands on one foot when the other is wounded by the Feds), and she’s not actually “white” (she’s “mixed race,” but doesn’t divulge what’s in the mix).

Furthermore, this isn’t Jen’s first night at a Black Lives Matter protest. In fact, she is a veteran protestor who usually participates in her “normal Antifa clothing.” That fateful night she strips down, she is specifically protesting the presence of the Federales. “I wanted to confront them,” she tells the Unrefined Sophisticates.

She says she didn’t plan to take off her clothes, but the action comes from a “deep feminine place within” her. Protesting naked is a “political statement,” as well as a pleasure for Jen who describes herself as a “sex worker” who is “naked all the time” anyway.

As she looks at the Federal agents taking their standard legs-apart “warrior stance,” a “fury” rises up within her, and she says to her partner, “I want to be naked… I want to confront them.”

He replies, “I’ll hold your clothes.”

Then she does the deed, feeling “calm and terrified at the same time…. In the eye of a storm… following my nature… my impulse to be who I am in the moment.”

She “assumes the position,” the same legs-apart warrior stance taken by the Federal officers, as they shoot pepper balls at her bare feet. She points her finger at them as if to point out their senseless brutality, but they continue to fire away. Then one of the officers shoots her in the foot, and it hurts like hell, but she pushes through the pain, trying to show them where and how they’ve injured her (thus the “yoga” positions), a naked, vulnerable, unclothed, unarmed woman. Her message: “Nobody has weapons here.”

When the police car arrives, she almost leaves, but turns and sits down on the street. Then she opens her legs, as if to say, “Shoot this.”

Or maybe just, “Look at this. Don’t shoot. This is where you come from.”

A photographer captures the iconic image that, at first, I thought was too fantastic to be real.

Jen might be an exhibitionist, but she’s no narcissist. “I’m not a person who enjoys disingenuous attention,” she explains. “I just wanted to make some Feds uncomfortable.”

She’s quite critical of the “mainstream media (coverage) that celebrates my body because I’m a light-skinned Wonder Woman… it’s so sensationalized… I don’t really want to play their game, I don’t want to interact with them…. The mainstream media… would not print the things I would say… about colorism… abolish[ing] the police… why would I put my energy into places where it’s not understood?”

Sensitive to the criticism of some BLM activists, she humbly apologizes to “any and all Black persons who were angered by what they saw of what I did… I am genuinely sorry… I promise that I will do better work and I will educate myself… I’m sorry for taking part in a society for so long that was built on principles of separation and oppression for financial gain… When someone confronts you, you want to defend yourself. But you shouldn’t. You should take a breath and listen.”

“I’m just a human who did a thing,” she continues. “And it’s kind of taken on a life of its own.”

It’s also—in my not-so-humble, slightly voyeuristic opinion—the perfect protest for the over-dressed, fascistically-styled, Federal invasion of an American city.

And who, pray tell, is responsible for this invasion?

Who else, but the Presidunce who takes “no responsibility” for anything bad, even when it’s clearly his fault, and takes credit for everything good, even when he has nothing to do with it.

Donald J. tRump has been pulling this con since he was a little boy, according to his niece Mary L. Trump’s terrific new book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.

In a way, Mary Trump is a literary Naked Athena (there are a few), laying bare Trump Crime Family secrets, to protest the dangerous power that Americans have given her damaged Uncle Donald.

She certainly strips him down: The Orange Emperor has no clothes at all.

Apparently, little Donnie was neglected by his sick mother, as well as ignored, then molded, spoiled and molded some more by his sociopathic father. That same Papa Fred pushed, punished and belittled Donnie’s older brother Freddie until he died at the young age of 42, teaching Donnie the “lesson” that admitting to weakness or taking any responsibility for mistakes will kill you.

Donald also learned to revere and charm authoritarian “Daddies” who might benefit him like Roy Cohn and Vladimir Putin.

Daddy Fred taught little Donnie to “divide and conquer” and “attack, attack, attack” no matter the situation. The young bully-in-training learned to pick on seemingly easy targets—people perceived to be weaker than him—using words as weapons, including sexual comments.

The most attentive thing Uncle Donald ever said to his only niece was, upon seeing her in a bathing suit at the pool (while she was staying at Mar-A-Lago, helping him write The Art of the Comeback), “Holy shit, Mary, you’re stacked!”

As opposed to his habitual lying and self-aggrandizing exaggerations, this most likely was his honest appraisal—and certainly his chief measure of a woman’s worth. But it was also meant to embarrass his niece, as well as his wife at the time (Marla Maples), and assert the power of his male gaze over her 29-year-old female body.

Little did he know that in a couple of decades, that little, seemingly offhand remark to a “weaker” family member would come back to haunt him.

Of course, Uncle Don did more than leer at niece Mary; he and his siblings tried to screw her out of her inheritance.

One lesson of Too Much and Never Enough is: Be careful whom you screw over because one day they may write a best-selling book about you.

Like Naked Athena, “stacked” Mary Trump has stripped off her familial loyalties and exposed Uncle Donnie’s shortcomings.

Not that there’s any big revelation in the book (we all know Donald’s a lying, selfish, socially awkward, cowardly pile of pig manure), but it does dish up some piquant family drama as backstory to the special Trumpus Rumpus Room of Hell we’re all in right now.

Charitably, Mary blames Donald’s sadism, malignant narcissism and free-floating sociopathy mostly on his father Fred (her grandfather). The brutal Fred had a genuinely tough childhood, forced into taking on the role of Man of the House at age 12, when his dad, Donnie’s granddad Friedrich (who changed the family name from Drumpf to Trump), died of the influenza pandemic of 1918 that, even though it started in Kansas, they erroneously called Spanish Flu.

Most people with a grandparent who died of influenza would be more sensitive and empathetic to the pain and loss of others in a pandemic. But life is complicated, and some, like Damaged Donnie, learn the opposite lesson: that you mustn’t—at all costs—let others’ suffering bring you down, or you will never get up.

Not that a tough childhood is any excuse. The fact that Hitler, Jeffrey Dahmer or King Leopold of Belgium had tough childhoods does not pardon their crimes, and neither should Donald tRump’s crazy-making Daddy be any excuse for his.

Her Uncle Donald knows right from wrong very well, says niece Mary; he just doesn’t think those rules apply to him.

That’s malignant narcissism for you; everything revolves around the narcissist (“Nobody likes ME!” whines the Big Baby-in-Chief in the midst of the Coronapocalypse).

Contrast the blubbering baby’s bottomless narcissism with Naked Athena’s strategic exhibition of her bottom, tactically using her joy in nudity—so remarkable in our sex-phobic society—to protest the militarized Federal presence in her city.

Meanwhile, the Big Baby Trumpus uses whatever politics he can to service the bottomless cravings of his bawling, tantrum-throwing narcissism. Currently, as the pandemic, protests and his flaccid polls continue, those politics are steeped in fascism.

In contrast to her uncle, Mary Trump appears to be no more narcissistic than the Naked Athena. She’s not much of a physical exhibitionist, favoring buttoned-up tops and seemingly still horrified by Uncle Donald’s “stacked” comment. Though she does appear to take pleasure in showing off the juicy details of the Trump Crime Family’s many misdeeds.

Nevertheless, I believe her when she says that her main reason for writing Too Much and Never Enough is that she feels her Uncle Donald, along with her grandfather, “destroyed” her father (Donald’s older brother), and she doesn’t want him to destroy our country.

She’s telling us to beware, Brothers and Sisters: Beware the evil Trumpus, and be aware that his all-American brand of narcissism-driven, violent, camo-clothed fascism is storming the streets of Portland and now other U.S. cities, and if we the People—the Naked Athenas, the Moms, Dads, vets, lawyers, authors, nieces, everybody—don’t turn it around, it will overtake us.

 

Susan Block, Ph.D., a.k.a. “Dr. Suzy,” is a world renowned LA sex therapist, author of The Bonobo Way: The Evolution of Peace through Pleasure and horny housewife, occasionally seen on HBO and other channels. For information and speaking engagements, call 626-461-5950. Email her at drsusanblock@gmail.com  

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