‘Every woman who wants to be spanked should be/Spanked for wanting to be’, writes Frederick Seidel, before going on to compare a rear view of the spankee to ‘A hooded cobra about to strike, exactly what a hissing vagina looks like!’ Like the boy in The Pickwick Papers who ‘wants to make your flesh creep’, Seidel has our gag reflex in his sights, and the faster our dash to outrage the more we may suspect we are obliging rather than disappointing this poet-provocateur. ‘Can’t say anything these days, can you?’ asks the satirist, cupping his ear greedily for our response. Do we play along or not?
In Donald Trump, Seidel may have found his ideal subject. He pulls off the strange feat of excoriating Trump while trashing the codes of civility and restraint in which disdain for the US president is normally couched. Where the moralist might reach for edifying dreams of national rebirth, Seidel resorts