He’s endlessly proven himself a monster, but don’t ever call him a tragic figure. He even lacks the class of Mary Shelley’s horrific creation.

“Frankenstein is a potent warning-not so much against scientific invention as against the breakdown of fellow-feeling, without which one is stranded on an arctic sea.”

“To be a great and virtuous man appeared the highest honor that can befall a sensitive being; to be base and vicious, as many on record have been, appeared the lowest degradation, a condition more abject than that of the blind mole or harmless worm.”

Alas! Victor, when falsehoods can look so like the truth, who can assure themselves of certain happiness?

Fred had lessons: how to cheat on your taxes; how to discriminate in housing; how to scam the government. But we know much less about his mother Mary’s influence, in the 20 years since her death. The man who has something to say about everything-including distinct opinions on every other woman in his orbit and women in general-has relatively little to say about the woman who brought him into the world.

“The mere sending of a letter from Roy Cohn has saved us a lot of money,” says builder Donald Trump. “When people know that Roy is involved, they’d rather not get involved in the lawsuits and everything else that’s involved.”

“I had been the author of unalterable evils, and I lived in daily fear lest the monster whom I had created should perpetrate some new wickedness. I had an obscure feeling that not all was over, and that he would still commit some signal crime, which by its enormity should almost efface the recollection of the past.”

“I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”



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Kirk Swearingen

Half a lifetime ago, Kirk Swearingen graduated from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. His work has most recently appeared in Salon.