This was a story series that involved puzzle pieces from multiple stories. I love puzzles, because they to force me to pay close attention, and when I step back, I can see larger patterns at work.
I originally conceived of the Corrupter as a super villain name. The name struck me as belonging to a character who would represent a significant evil, one that was insidious and difficult to stamp out.
My first idea for him was as an Incubus, a rape demon. As brave as I imagine myself to be, I don’t like to write demons into stories. Also, I want to avoid fetishizing sexual violence. However, I use my stories to take disturbing events and ideas from culture that have lodged in my mind, and take their power away by having them confronted by my heroes and heroines.
The story is all too frequent of men who use their political, social, and physical power to exploit and abuse. In another post, I made a list of real life pedophile sex rings taking place in plain sight, condoned and covered up by many, many people. I’ll reproduce that paragraph at the end this post.
Next, in one of my writing groups, I was given the prompt to write about the part of myself that I never put on the page. There’s a sadistic side of me I deny. I have a sunny, easygoing exterior. I don’t let my kids say the words “hate”, “ugly”, “stupid”, etc. So I gave Stone my shadow characteristics. The resulting text was his diatribe in Corrupter #1.
I was left with a starting place of his text, and I needed a real name for him. I decided that, as much as possible, I would base my cadre of supervillains on Trump’s associates. because they are a very strange group of characters. Many of them remind me of the heels from the World Wrestling Federation that I watched in the late 80s and early 90s.
I took his name, Sonny Stone, from Sonny Purdue, the secretary of agriculture, and Roger Stone, who provided the bulk of the inspiration for his physical presence.
Roger Stone is fascinating to look at. In fact, it’s hard to look away. He dresses like a super villain. He has the face of a man in his 70s, and the physique of a bodybuilder. He has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back, and he’s known to be in involved in swinging sex romps.
Do I think Roger stone is evil? I don’t actually know enough about him to say. Much like Trump, he’s crafted a public persona for the accomplishment of his goals and that person is meant to be argumentative and provocative in a time where you absolutely need to get people to click on your articles if you are going to be relevant.
As an aside, I also see Trump as an actor. He has a public persona as the dumb rich guy who’s always shooting off his mouth, but can speak the truth. And when he’s caught in a lie, he doubles down, he doesn’t back down. He has a very shrewd strategic intelligence. He sees and exploits weaknesses where others don’t.
My version of Trump is Chester Camullus, and once I wrap up some other ongoing stories, I’d like to do a Chester series as well. The reason I’m reluctant to now is because he appears in so many of the other stories that I want to be able to write his ending at the end of the series.
Another basis for the story was Judith beheading Holofernes by Caravaggio. This is a (deuterocanonical) Bible story from the book of Judith in which a lovely widow seduces and beheads an Assyrian general to save her people. It has a very mythic resonance to it, the proud, strong man, reveling in his power, is laid low by his own hubris.
The razor sharp vagina which penectomized the Corrupter, vagina dentata, is based on a real anti-rape device (never put into production). Women could wear them to events like the World Cup, and would-be rapists would have to beware. I like the idea, of course.
I’ll say a little about Jon Fox. I originally conceived of him as a bishonen boy, a beautiful young man who would be just irresistible every woman, and be pursued by them.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t really interested in writing that sort of upbeat character . So, I turned him into Ray Donovan meets House of Cards. Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber) is a Hollywood fixer who sets elaborate traps involving blackmail and strong arm deals, and there’s no one that he can’t take down. From billionaires to the head of the FBI to crime family bosses, if he makes you a target, your story is finished.
Like any tragic protagonist, Ray Donovan is so good at destroying people that he destroys himself and his entire family. He’s an alcoholic, he sleeps around, he drives away his wife, who is his main anchor to the world of humanity. And as it’s revealed in later seasons, he and his brother are victims of clerical sex abuse, which is central to his motivation.
Jon Fox is a man who worked for Chester and got converted after he was discovered by a minority religious group. They facilitated a religious awakening and mystical experience, in which his dead sister informs him of her murder by Chester and the Faceless Men. Fox goes to work strategically destroying every member of the leadership of the Faceless Men, until Chester is left alone, the government topples, and Chester faces Jon.
Hannah was recruited into the conspiracy to target the Corrupter. She has just lost her husband, and she learns from Jon that her husband was abusing her daughter as part of occult rituals in which Stone was involved. She had always suspected, but Jon confirms it for her.
Hannah’s hypnotized by Jon to keep Stone from detecting a plan in her mind. We, as the reader, see the world from her viewpoint. Stone is influencing and clouding her mind, he’s taken her will. He can force Hannah to do anything, but he takes special pleasure in knowing all of her dark secrets. Once his victims are broken with their own guilt and shame, they’re his forever, and he doesn’t have to keep controlling them.
The Corrupter (sequel to Lust for Power):
Conspiracy theorists get characterized as crazy people with bizarre beliefs. But, would a company sell a knowingly tainted product for years, despite knowing that it was tainted, like the potion to turn kids to mice? Juul shipped millions of pods that were more than a year old. CEO Kevin Burns, when asked, “Half our customers are drunk and vaping like mo-fos, who the fuck is going to notice?”
(Content Warning: following paragraphs discuss sexual assault and pedophilia).
Would an international pedophile conspiracy be allowed to hurt children with widespread knowledge by public and private officials? According to the Ryan Commission, “Catholic clergy had, across decades, violently tormented thousands of children. The report found that children held in orphanages and reformatory schools were treated no better than slaves—in some cases, sex slaves. Rape and molestation of boys were “endemic.” Other reports were issued about other institutions, including parish churches and schools, and homes for unwed mothers—the notorious “Magdalene Laundries,” where girls and women were condemned to lives of coercive servitude.”
Would beloved entertainment figures reveal themselves to be serial rapist of more than 50 drugged women? I grew up watching Bill Cosby on the Cosby show, Picture Pages, Fat Albert, Ghost Dad … and had just finished watching the entire Cosby Show series on Netflix with my wife during a really painful period in our lives in 2014, when I started to read about the accusations.
If I were British, Jimmy Savile’s crimes might have had a similar personal impact. He was a knight, a well known TV presenter and comedian, who hosted Top of the Pops and Jim’s Fix It, where he made wishes come true for kids. And he used his charities as cover for his sexual abuse of hundreds of people.
“At Leeds General Infirmary, 60 people, including both staff and patients, stated that they had been abused by Savile, their ages ranging from 5 to 75. …It was reported that Savile had boasted to nurses and other staff that he performed sex acts on the bodies of recently deceased persons in the mortuary of Leeds General Hospital and claimed to have removed glass eyes from corpses and made them into rings.”
Allison Mack, the cute blonde actress from “Smallville”, was prosecuted for sex trafficking after she had recruited young women into a cult called Nxivm. These women were branded and kept as sex slaves.
“There was a secret society formed within Nxivm called D.O.S. — an acronym for a Latin phrase meaning “Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions” — where women were “slaves” overseen by “masters” and ordered to have sexual relations with Mr. Raniere.”
“Ms. Mack is said by prosecutors to have targeted vulnerable women under the guise of female empowerment, starving them until they fit Mr. Raniere’s sexual ideal and threatening them with the release of collected “collateral.””
These accusations were proven in court, but if Alex Jones rattled them off to you without other context, they would sound crazy. I haven’t even mentioned Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Scientology, Jerry Sandusky … There’s no need to bring a gun to Comet Ping Pong. The abuse is real, and famous people really do hurt vulnerable persons.