Tragedies of the pandemic

(Penises play a significant role in this posting, so it might not be to everyone’s taste.)

We regret to report the end of Lord Alfred Douglas, famed devotee of fellatio. Yes, it’s

(A) goodbye to Bosie, the queen of coronas

Building up to the groaner… It all started for me (thanks to COVID-19) with

The noun corona, where, in the NOAD entry, I discovered that it had a use as an anatomical term (boldaced below):

noun corona-1: 1 [a] Astronomy the rarefied gaseous envelope of the sun and other stars. The sun’s corona is normally visible only during a total solar eclipse, when it is seen as an irregularly shaped pearly glow surrounding the darkened disk of the moon. [b] (also corona dischargePhysics the glow around a conductor at high potential. [c] a small circle of light seen around the sun or moon, due to diffraction by water droplets. Anatomy a crown or crownlike structure. Botany the cup-shaped or trumpet-shaped outgrowth at the center of a daffodil or narcissus flower. 4 a circular chandelier in a church. 5 Architecture a part of a cornice having a broad vertical face. ORIGIN mid 16th century … : from Latin, ‘wreath, crown’.

But what anatomical features? Wikipedia provided an answer to gladden the heart of a phallophile / peniphiliac:

The corona of glans penis or penis crown refers to the circumference of the base of the glans penis in human males which forms a rounded projecting border …

The corona of the penis. I cannot provide you, on WordPress (or, worse, Facebook), a straightforward anatomical diagram of a penis head, showing you the corona, because that would be exhibiting a penis publicly, and we all understand that such a thing cannot be condoned (because it would damage women and children). But the Penis Ban can be lifted in a number of circumstances, notably via the Fine Art exception (the ennobling properties of fine art cleanse dicks of their psychological toxins) and the Mere Simulacrum exception (no reality, no foul). On the latter, with a stunning image (complete with monstrous corona), from my 9/23/16 posting “News for penises and their simulacra”:

from an article in Le Soir on the 20th, “D’immenses graffitis de sexe choquent à Bruxelles” [‘Huge sex graffiti shock in Brussels’], an image that was quickly posted on Facebook


(#1) Image, from the posting, of a massive charcoal-gray disembodied wrinkly half-hard penis-simulacrum, with a notable corona (roughly 8 feet in diameter)

A gigantic penis is indeed hard to miss, and shocking to some. But it’s not a real penis, just a graffiti penis, and a literally disembodied one at that. Simulacra of penises, even fully erect ones, escape the Penis Ban if they aren’t presented as parts of a real human body.

The choice of corona as the technical term in anatomy has some interest of its own. It evokes the wreath awarded to heroes or the crown symbolizing a ruler’s authority and so treats the penis as an object of veneration — while other metaphorically grounded terminology would have been more neutral (just your basic circle) or would have been based on homier analogies. Some possibilities for metaphorizing:

(the outline of a) a ball; the letter O or the numeral 0; a ring, torus, or doughnut; (the rim of a) wheel; (the rim / brim of) a cap or hat; (the rim of a) cup; (the hem of) a skirt; (the lips of) an open mouth (making an O)

I’m especially taken with the corona as like the hem of a skirt. But instead we get the apotheosis of the penis. Well, the penis is, symbolically, the pride and treasure of a man’s body.

So: item 1: the male sexual bodypart the corona.

And, of course, the corona is the cocksucker’s glory and pleasure. That’s item 2: the enthusiastic fellator, the dick queen.

More /kǝrónǝ/s. From NOAD:

noun corona-2: a long, straight-sided cigar. ORIGIN late 19th century: from Spanish La Corona, literally ‘the crown’, originally a proprietary name.

Then there’s Corona, a city in southwestern California, southwest of Riverside; and Corona, a neighborhood of Queens in NYC; and smaller places elsewhere.

Corona in Queens is item 3a. And the queen of Queens is item 3b. (Be patient. It takes a while to put all this together.)

And a beer. From Wikipedia:


(#2) (photo by Scott Olson/Getty)

Corona Extra … is a pale lager produced by Cervecería Modelo in Mexico for domestic distribution and export to all other countries besides the United States, and by Constellation Brands in Mexico for export to the United States. The Corona brand is one of the top-selling beers worldwide. Outside Mexico, Corona is commonly served with a wedge of lime or lemon in the neck of the bottle to add tartness and flavour.

Since 1998, Corona Extra is the top-selling imported drink in the United States.

(More about Corona beer to come in a follow-up posting to this one.)

And the Smith Corona typewriter. From Wikipedia:

Corona Typewriter Company: With the success of their Corona model in 1914, Standard Typewriter Company was renamed again and became the Corona Typewriter Company. Smith Corona was created when L. C. Smith & Bros. united with Corona Typewriter in 1926, with L. C. Smith & Bros. making office typewriters and Corona Typewriter making portables.

And, finally, the coronaviruses. From Wikipedia:

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections that are typically mild, such as the common cold, though rarer forms such as SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 can be lethal.

… The name coronavirus is derived from the Latin corona, meaning “crown” or “halo”, which refers to the characteristic appearance reminiscent of a crown or a solar corona around the virions (virus particles) when viewed under two-dimensional transmission electron microscopy, due to the surface covering in club-shaped protein spikes.

Lord Alfred Douglas. Bosie is item 4. And very much a queen in his day, so that’s more of item 2. From Wikipedia:


(#3) Bosie Douglas in 1903, looking romantically desirable (photo by George Charles Beresford)

Lord Alfred Bruce Douglas (22 October 1870 – 20 March 1945) [known to his intimates as “Bosie”] was a British poet and journalist best known as the lover of Oscar Wilde.

While studying at Oxford, he edited an undergraduate journal, The Spirit Lamp, which carried a homoerotic subtext, and met Wilde, with whom he started a close but stormy relationship. Douglas’s father, the Marquess of Queensberry, disapproved strongly of the affair, and set out to humiliate Wilde, publicly accusing him of homosexuality. Wilde sued him for criminal libel, but some of his intimate notes were discovered, and he was duly jailed. On his release, he briefly lived with Douglas in Naples, but they were separated by the time Wilde died in 1900.

Douglas married Olive Custance in 1902, and they produced a son Raymond. Converting to Roman Catholicism in 1911, he openly repudiated Wilde’s homosexuality, and in a High-Catholic magazine, Plain English, he expressed views that were openly anti-semitic, though he rejected the extreme policies of Nazi Germany.

… Douglas has been described as spoiled, reckless, insolent and extravagant. He would spend money on men and gambling and expected Wilde to contribute to funding his tastes.

When haughty young queens go bad …

All the men involved in these doings have been described as sodomites, using a term that at the time frequently did not distinguish oral sodomy from anal sodomy, or the receptive role from the insertive role in either act. But I’m comfortable in my belief that Bosie did indeed suck cock (item 2), whatever else he might have done. In addition, Bosie was pretty much a classic bitchy queen — queen describing a presentation of self rather than a propensity for specific sexual acts — and that’s item 5.

(For the record, I have always found Bosie to be a thoroughly repellent character, at all stages of his life, and I’m forever sorrowful that Oscar was so disastrously smitten by him.)

Another kind of queen. The noun queen is easily extended metaphorically to any female with notable authority, distinction, or significance in some place or activity: Aretha Franklin as the Queen of Soul, some girl as the queen of the playground or the playground queen. This is item 6.

Putting it all together. We have so far:

item 1: the penile corona

item 2: cocksucking / fellatio and the men who adore performing it (one kind of queen)

item 3a: Corona the neighborhood of Queens; item 3b: the queen of Queens

item 4: Bosie Douglas

item 5: bitchy queens

item 6: metaphorical queen, (roughly) ‘female of significance’

And now the crucial item 7: Paul Simon’s song “Me and Julio, Down by the Schoolyard”. From Wikipedia:

“Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” is a song by American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. It was the second single from his second self-titled studio album (1972), released on Columbia Records.

The song is about two boys (“Me and Julio”) who have broken a law, although the exact law that has been broken is not stated in the song. When “the mama pajama” finds out what they have done, she goes to the police station to report the crime. The individuals are later arrested, but released when a “radical priest” intervenes.

The meaning and references in the song have long provoked debate.

You can watch the official video here (#4). The crucial line, one of those that have provoked debate:

(B) goodbye to Rosie, the queen of Corona

And in (A) we have an awful pun on (B):

(A) goodbye to Bosie, the queen of coronas

The Corona in (B) is the Corona (3a) in Queens (3b) — not the sexual bodypart as in 1 — and Rosie is a queen as in 6 (while Bosie, in 4,  is a queen as in 2 and 5). It seems that Julio and Rosie were just made-up names that sounded to Simon like they belonged in the neighborhood, not the names of actual residents of Corona, and nobody, least of all Simon, has any idea why he’s singing goodbye to Rosie. Bosie, on the other hand, has (according to the report at the beginning of this posting) come to his end, so we can send him off with a goodbye (and good riddance).

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