Let it Bleed: Blood, Drugs, and Trump’s ImaginNation

“Yeah, we all need someone we can bleed on
Yeah, and if you want it, baby, well you can bleed on me.”

– Mick Jagger/Keith Richards

So this blog is about blood, but these days it seems that to talk about blood constantly involves talking about the Donald J. Trump, President of the United States. This at once very obvious and very odd, but I think there is an actual reason that blood keeps coming up these days, and it has to do both with material blood, blood symbolism,the President’s idea of how drugs and the nation relate, and the Rolling Stones.

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Inaugural Gore: Blood and the Birth of a Presidency?

Today, January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as President of the United States. His inaugural speech offered surprisingly few novel thoughts, instead echoing stump speeches of his campaign. Some of the perhaps grander moments of the speech aimed for a lofty nationalism as the umbrella for a unified US. Politics aside, the bloody images in the speech offer a surprisingly clear vision of how Trump conceives of the nation.

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Bleeding Blue: Police Work and the Bodily Fluid

Charlotte: a woman smearing blood on a police riot shield. (September 21, 2016, photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Charlotte: a woman smearing blood on a police riot shield. (September 21, 2016, photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Elise Greene was charged with assault on a government officer and vandalism, according to a Charlotte NBC station report, for smearing blood on officers. This seems a drastic response to a gesture that protests police violence by materializing the pain caused by this violence in the form of blood. But blood in the world of police officers is anything but a simple matter. Police work and blood are intimately connected, and I want to lay out some major aspects of this connection in order to not only explain the facts behind the police punishment for bleeding on officers, but also the connection between police work and vulnerable populations.

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Bloody Art: Menstrual Artists, Trump, and the Material Image

Since my last discussion of this topic over a month ago the anger over Trump’s misogyny has not subsided. While few likely voters were swayed and probably no opponent convinced by his derogatory views on women, some have channeled their anger into something more than a tweet.

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Trump’s Bloody Nose: Men and Assorted -struations.

What Trump Sees? (Source: Pinterest, Aela Gholizadeh)

Portrait photograph of Megyn Kelly

What we see.

I think it was Bubba Jefferson, Thomas’ lesser-known brother, who said that the tree of GOP primaries has to be watered with the tears shed for a candidate who drops out because of what he says about blood and women. And that is still true today.

Kidding aside, Trump’s blood comment should give us pause. In case you are lucky and still avoid the void of avoidable news, you may not have heard that GOP Presidential hopeful and front-runner Donald Trump received some pointed questions about his past comments about women (all disparaging, many shaming their bodies, some directly suggesting that submitting to sexual intercourse with Trump would be a good idea). FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly read some of his comments back to Trump, asking if he considers this in conflict with his electability for the office of the Presidency. And from there it went from bad to worse…

 

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And Their Children’s Children: Sippenhaft, Blood Feuds, and other Political Incentives

The seemingly never-ending confrontation between the U.S. and Iran appears to bring out some of the most unpredictable and hostile behavior and some of the most painful grand-standing by pundits and politicians alike.

An Euler diagram illustrating the association fallacy. Although A is within B and is also within C, not all of B is within C.

Association Fallacy Diagram. (Source: commons.wikimedia.org)

The letter sent by 47 U.S. Senators dismissing political negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program has led some to brand the authors as traitors, others to hail them as patriots. Freshman Senator Tom Cotton (R) of Arkansas seems to have a leading role in drafting the letter. Of course this piece is not about Senator Cotton, but about the fraught political nature of blood and blood metaphors. I want to use this opportunity and consider a theme that squats underneath another text Senator Cotton drafted about Iran. This ugly and ancient political idea illustrates the strangeness of political conceptions regarding Iran.

Senator Cotton’s 2013 withdrawn amendment gives me an excuse to revisit one of the most painful political uses of blood: Sippenhaft, or kin liability.

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