Ira Chernus – Joy Trumps Fear

Sometimes I force myself to look at photos of Donald Trump, to confront the harsh reality that he will indeed, in all likelihood, soon be the president of the United States. What strikes me most forcefully in that face is the total lack of joy.

Oh, I imagine he can feel plenty of pleasure. he seems to be what the Greeks called a sybarite—a devotee of all the sensual pleasures that his dubiously-earned money can buy. He’s the guy you imagine feels at home only in a hot tub full of beautiful women, with a bottle of high-priced wine in his hand. He even seemed to relish the sensual attraction of his own daughter.

When you look at Trump’s face, though, what jumps out most clearly is the incapacity for joy. Not only does he seem to feel no real joy. He does not even seem to have a clue what genuine joy would feel like.

A psychologist might say that when he grabs at a woman’s pussy (and why should we think he will stop doing that just because he’s in the White House; didn’t Henry Kissinger say that power is the greatest aphrodisiac?) he’s not really grasping for sexual pleasure. He is grasping vainly for some kind of real joy. I don’t know. I’m not a psychologist.

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