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San Diego Featured in a Modern Satyricon

San Diego Featured in a Modern Satyricon

The Age of Filner

As a history geek, I find Victor Davis Hanson’s analogies to ancient classics entertaining.

As a San Diegan, however, I couldn’t help but blush as this savvy pundit featured my home town in an essay referencing a gem of Western literature that describes the decadence of Imperial Rome.

The Satyricon is an often-cruel parody about how the Roman agrarian republic of old had degenerated into a wealth-obsessed, empty society of wannabe new elites, flush with money, and both obsessed with and bored with sex. Most of the Satyricon is lost. But in its longest surviving chapter — “Dinner with Trimalchio” — Petronius might as well have been describing our own 21st-century nomenklatura.

For the buffoonish libertine guests of the host Trimalchio, food and sex are in such surfeit that they have to be repackaged in bizarre and repulsive ways. Think of someone like the feminist mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner, who once railed about the need to enforce sexual-harassment laws, now only to discover ever creepier ways to grope, pat, grab, squeeze, pinch, and slobber on 18 co-workers and veritable strangers, whether in their 20s or over 60.

A protestor at the America’s Finest City Half Marathon in August.

Humorously, a local talk show hosts refers to Filner as “The Emperor”, complete with the Star Wars Imperial March. So, Hanson’s assertion that our political and entertainment elites would be right at home in Petronius’s world of debauchery and bored melodrama is on the mark.

Filner’s last day in office is Friday. Based on San Diego’s city charter, City Council President Todd Gloria will become acting mayor and a special election must occur within 90 days. At that point, all candidates (regardless of party) will appear on the same ballot. If no one candidate receives a majority of the vote, then a run-off will be held between the top two vote-getters within 49 days.

So the San Diego saga may continue until the end of the year. And what a saga it is! Hanson’s piece notes that one of Filner’s potential replacements has come under some scrutiny for allegations of a very different kind of sexual misconduct.

A California news outlet is reporting that Carl DeMaio, a Republican who once ran against Filner for mayor but is now running for Congress, is now being accused by his former colleagues on the city council of, well, masturbating while on the job.

Two Democratic members of the San Diego City Council were quoted on the record at making the allegation that DeMaio often polished his family jewels in a bathroom while at work…..

“There is no other way to respond to this than to call it what it is: a lie,” DeMaio spokesman Jason Roe told [The Daily Caller].

I am a San Diego Democrat who supported DeMaio during his 2012 mayoral run, as he was the only candidate offering serious plans about weighty fiscal issues such as the city employee pension problem.  The leaders of the local Democratic Party are completely deluded if they think that the questionable charges against DeMaio are on the same scale as the actual assaults by Filner (including city employee Stacy McKenzie who has come forward to file a claim of “gender violence” against both the mayor and San Diego).

And if this is the absolute worst charge they can make against DeMaio, then the man is practically a saint among today’s politicians.

However, the claims and counter-claims mean that the new mayoral race has officially begun. San Diego has woken up from its 2012-election-orgy with quite a nasty hangover. It’s just too bad that the rest of the country isn’t going to get a “do-over” as well.


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I normally oppose profiling – but if you see any Mayor of San Diego – please call 911 immediately.

Henry Hawkins | August 28, 2013 at 10:14 am

VDH is on my list of commenters I always read when I see a new entry. Mark Steyn is another.

If the Republicans has been smart enough to run Nathan Fletcher, you’d have your balanced budget, sans scandal.

The Dems are upset with DeMaio for polishing his family jewels and not offering to polish their rhinestones.

And I’ll bet these Dems were hoping for more than just a quick polish, too; Maybe a Jiffy Lube and Roto Rooter job.

And just how do these Dems know DeMaio was polishing his pole?