Essay: "I'm the proud owner of Karl Rove's father's solid gold cock ring."

Shannon Larratt, founder of the body modification online publication BMEzine, pointed us a few days ago to a first-person essay that a person named Yard[D]og was writing, regarding the adoptive father of Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove (shown in the image at left). Yard[D]og claims to have been a close personal friend of the now-deceased elder Rove.

About the essay's contents, Mr. Larratt said:

"Karl Rove's father was not only gay, but a part of the early body piercing scene and a regular at 70s piercing parties… There are pictures of him on BME."

Here is part of that essay. BMEzine just published it in entirety with detailed photos said to depict the elder Mr. Rove's numerous genital piercings.

I have no way of immediately verifying the statements in this essay, or the source of the photos. I am pursuing that now, have received responses which so far indicate that this material is valid, and I will update soon. I do know that Mr. Larratt is a friend of the author (a known participant in the body modification community), that he is personally familiar with the story, and is not given to publishing material he believes to be false. With that disclaimer out of the way, here's an excerpt:

Louie loved his piercings, they made him smile. People who are pierced will understand.

So there on the floor in his library, amid teaching videos on piercings and piles of [Piercing Fans International Quarterly], I listened to one man's account of his travels through the Los Angeles piercing community in the 70's and 80's — the "piercing parties" with folks getting pierced on coffee tables in private homes, nurses that helped, and a guy named Jim. I knew about Jim. I had both my nipples pierced at The Gauntlet.

Louie also knew about play piercing; I wanted to learn and so he taught me. And so between splashing in the pool, brunches, visiting his volunteer list of AIDS patients, eating at all numbers of restaurants, visiting friends who lived around the area, birding at the Salton Sea and eating TV dinners, we explored needles and the effect they have on you.

During the day I was told the names of piercings … I hated the words but I wanted to know about each kind. To this day I've never gotten a dydoe because Louie told me it was a hard heal. I never copied Louie's piercings but I never got them out of my mind. Some years after I last saw him, I found another friend, a professional piercer name Sque3z who took me on another journey recounted here on BME. Louie would be proud.

Louie and I exchanged gifts over the years. He really liked those stainless ball weights and I like gold jewelry … so I have a 14 karat gold cock ring that once belonged to Louie, and he had a bunch of ball weights that belonged to me.

So who cares about one man's journey into piercing? For me it is not about a gossipy story, though some people will take it that way. It is not about telling secrets or things left best unsaid; it is about a little piece of history. Perhaps in telling this story someone else will be able to tell a better one another day.

The "Jim" in this story is the Jim Ward who started the piercing industry. Louie is Louis Claude Rove whose adopted son's first name is Karl. Louie died quietly in Palm Springs as his very secular, not-believing son ran President Bush's campaign for President of the United States that energized the Christian evangelical base around the wedge issue of gay marriage…

As I watched the news this week, I saw a Karl Rove standing beside the President, his voice crocking, talking about his love for Bush and his country but over that "noise," I heard the memory of Joe Koons whispering in my ear.

"You do know who his son is?"

… Oh My God!

And now I wondered if that son ever cried for the man who raised him and watched him grow up? I'd be curious as to how Karl Rove would ever explain his pierced, gay father? He never told the people in Louis' phone book that he had died, nor invited them to a service if there was one. No one even knows where he is buried.

As for me? Well, I am the proud owner of Karl Rove's father's pure, solid gold cock ring! I've put it away with a few memories and pictures of his father. And in my garden grows a nasty, prickly little cactus from Louie's backyard … alive and well.

Link to full text. NSFW advisory: Contains links to photographs of pierced genitals said to those of Karl Rove's father, with a "modesty mosaic" imposed over the thumbnail images at that main link.

FWIW, Wikipedia has this to say about Louis Claude Rove Jr.:

Rove was born the second of three children in Denver, Colorado, and later raised in Sparks, Nevada. His biological father abandoned the family early on and his mother remarried. His new adoptive father, Louis Claude Rove Jr., was a mineral geologist, and his mother, Reba Wood, was a gift shop manager. His older brother is Eric P. Rove, and his younger sister is Reba A. Rove-Hammond. His adoptive father is of Norwegian descent.

Reader comment: muckraker says,

While the details about Louie Rove's reported piercing hobby are new to me, his sexual identity was also mentioned in a book called The Architect, published in 2006. Regarding the essay author's question about the relationship between Karl and his dad, there's this part:

Karl Rove frequently visited his father in the 1980s. Joseph Koons said he didn't sense "any great tension" between Karl and his father. Rove keeps a photograph of his father on his White House desk and has remarked to reporters that his father "lived life exactly the way he wanted to live it."

The Huffington Post has two posts up about this book: Link 1, Link 2, and here's a CBS News report.

Related BoingBoing posts:

  • Karl Rove's Pierced Family Jewels, part 2: Jim Ward interview (audio)