Schmatzis had schmex too.

Ah, the profile of evil.

[Editor’s note: Although I posted this li’l gem, it is 100% USDA prime LHB. She’s having some difficulties with her internets, so I’m doing the extremely generous and arduous favor of posting for her. I also added the linkage, so don’t judge LHB for it. Judge me. Judge me hard. Love always, MRG.]

What’s more scandalous than a woman who has an affair with her step-son and then ends up marrying a guy whose extramarital affairs require governmental intervention?  WELL I’M GLAD YOU ASKED.  A NAZI woman with a penchant for young hotties and a cheating NAZI husband whose sexcapades had to be stopped by the fucking Fuhrer himself!!  That’s right folks, we’re talking about Hitler’s right hand, his weirdest looking henchman with a name that reminds me of the rodents that typically live in little cages in adorable elementary school classrooms, Joseph Goebbels, and his sexy and scandalous wife, Magda.

Okay, so here’s the deal.  Nazis are uncharted ground for For Shame!  Not on purpose.  We just haven’t come across any Nazi-scandals probably because being, you know, one of the most hated people in history kind of overshadows stories of sexual deviancy.  But Joseph and Magda were scandalous in their own right. For realz, guys.  If you take out all the Nazi shit and the fact that they murdered their 6 children and then committed suicide (I know, I just threw up in my mouth a little, too), they’re still up there with the best of them on the scandal charts.

Indiana Jones getting Hitler's autograph? FUNNY.

Let’s have a little disclaimer before we begin the post proper.  World War II.  Not funny.  The Holocaust.  Not funny.  Possibly the LEAST funny thing ever to happen ever.  I know.  I get it.  It’s been explained to me.  I’ve been a yid for a while and I’m well aware of how unfunny Europe was from 1932-1945.  And I’m skipping over the Holocaust-related parts of Goebbels’ Wiki page because it makes me want vom/sob.  BUT.  I’m an equal opportunity historical scandal blogger, people.  And Goebbels and his wife are For Shame! material like you cannot believe.  So let’s remember that Nazis had sex, too, and include them in our archives of the sexploits of yore.  Ok?  OK.

UGH! She's pretty. I wish she were not that.

Let’s start with Magda.  Quickie summary of her childhood: she’s an illegitimate baby, her parents do marry but then get divorced soon after, her mom marries a JEWISH (WHAT?!) manufacturer and then she takes his last name, Friedlander — my Bat Mitzvah partner’s mom’s last name, FYI.  The Friedlanders moved from Belgium to Berlin in 1914 because it wasn’t so good to be a German in Belgium during the Great War.  In Berlin, she met and had an affair with a refugee named Hiam FUCKING Arlosorff.  Do you catch my latke-smelling drift?  He was a big fat Jew! A Zionist even!  He was assassinated in Palestine of all places in 1933.  Holy Moses.  The girl had a thing for members of the tribe and she ended up marrying history’s number two Jew-hater.  Ahh, fate.

Anyway, at 17, she’s riding a train somewhere and meets this industrial tycoon (owns a major battery manufacturing company) who is a bajillion years older than she is and falls in love.  His name is Gunther Quandt and he’s fat and ugly and no one knows why she was into him.  Probably all the money.  Anyway, they got hitched in 1921 and had a little boy named Harald — he was the only one on of her seven children to survive WWII.  As she grew frustrated with her marriage, she set her sights on her 18-year old STEPSON, Helmut.  And they may have had a teeny-weeny (HA) affair before he died of appendicitis in 1927.

The other love of Gunther's life was Rachel Green.

The couple went on an automobile tour of America later that year where she may have had a little fling, or at least batted her eyes at/showed her boobies to Herbert Hoover, nephew of the president of the US of A.  After she and Gunther divorced, Herbie went over to Germany to propose to her (LIKE A BOSS), but she said no.  And then they went for a drive or something and he got them into a terrible car accident and she was seriously injured.  NOTE TO THE LADIES:  Don’t go on a car ride with someone whose marriage proposal you’ve just refused.

Like a doofus, Magda starts going to Nazi party meetings in 1930.  Eventually she sort of works her way up in the inner circles and becomes Goebbels’ secretary.  I imagine that he eyed her low-cut blouse and the rest was history.  The two tied the Nazi-knot on December 19th 1931 at her ex-husband’s farm.  Weird.  Adolf Hitler was a witness. (My stomach hurts.)

So that's Joseph on the left and Magda's first son Harald on the right and the rest of her 6 children surrounding her. Who feels uncomfortable?

The Goebbels' inspiration for baby-naming.

OK, so then over the next however many years, they have 6 kids whose names all start with “H,” which seems very creepy Von-Trapp/Sesame Street to me or something.  Anyway, even before they got married Goebbels really enjoyed getting his D wet whenever possible.  Which is weird because he looks like Voldemort.  I guess some women are into that.  Like Bellatrix.  [Ed. note from MRG: Not into Voldemort, but so into young Tom. I mean I’d open his Chamber of Secrets, KNOW WHAT I’M SAYIN?!?>!???! Sorry LHB, continue.] Anyway, Goebbels’ most notorious affair was with the super-famous (apparently, what the hell do I know) actress, Lida Baarova.  The affair was way more intense than any of his other flings.  Like, to the extent that Magda went to her ol’ pal Adolf and was like, “Get this bitch OUT.”  Hitler called Joe into his office and was all, “You need to tell this whore to GTFO.”  But then SNAP! Goebbels OFFERED TO RESIGN RATHER THAN END HIS AFFAIR.  Hitler was like, “No one says “NO” to the fucking Fuhrer.”  And had Himmler have Lida deported.  WHAT?!  Yeah.  Shit was scandalous.  And it really hurt Adolf and Joseph’s relationship.  Yeah yeah poor them, they didn’t get along too well while they were orchestrating a continental genocide. Cry me a fucking river, assholes.  Magda also probably had a few affairs with other high ranking SS officials but they are not as well-documented or as scandalous.

Lida Baarova was fierce.

Anyway, in the final days of the war, when the Red Army had invaded Berlin, Hitler and his cronies were famously hiding out in the fuhrerbunker and getting all suicidal on everyone’s asses.  To make a long and tragic story short and trite, Magda and Joseph drugged their 6 children with morphine and then broke cyanide pills in their mouths in order to kill them.  Once their kids were dead, they went upstairs to the courtyard and killed themselves.  Everyone debates on how they did the deed.  A lot of people think that Joseph shot Magda and then himself.  Others believe that they had themselves shot by a firing squad.  No one knows exactly.  And then they were burned and left there in the courtyard and discovered by the Russians the next day.

HISTORY GEEK OUT ALERT: I love this photo. It's the last photo ever taken of Hitler, I think. He's outside his bunker looking at a destroyed Berlin. So fucking poignant and shit.

While we’re on that high note, I should add that Magda’s step-father died at Buchenwald and she didn’t do anything to stop it.  UGH!  It’s tragic shit.  Nazis suck.  WWII sucked.  She was a crazy bitch.  But here’s the thing.  OOOOoooh, it’s hard to say.

She was like kind of a good person before she killed 6/7ths of her children and left her step-father for dead in a Nazi concentration camp.  I’M SORRY.  But listen.  Okay, maybe not a good person, but she had some good intentions.  Listen, She was trained as a Red Cross nurse.  She worked in an electrics something or other factory during the war.  She wanted to be an example for the wartime wife.  She even rode the bus to work with her fellow working wives.  WHAT?  She sounds like Eleanor fucking Roosevelt.  But she’s a Nazi!  So she’s innately evil, right?  UGH!  SO COMPLICATED I DONT KNOW WHAT TO THINK!!

So I’m not going to.  I’ve provided you with the scandalous facts so you be the judge.  Let it percolate.  Or don’t.  Or just say the word “percolate” aloud a couple of times.  It’s really fun.

What’s really important here is that we remember a few things:

If Goebbels was a gerbil, he's be this gerbil.

  1. I love to make lists.
  2. WWII/Holocaust UNFUNNY.
  3. Nazis had scandalous sex, too.
  4. Goebbels had the sex-drive of a gerbil.
  5. Magda probably did too, and also was a teeny bit crazy even for Nazi standards.
  6. Even if you take away all the Nazi shit, this couple’s scandalosity is still one for the For Shame! annals.
  7. I still love list-making.

LHB


“Edward the Confessor,” or, “My Overly-Impassioned Defense of the Middle Ages Will Never Allow Me to Become an Accepted and Functioning Member of Society.”

This is a photo of me from my c.v.

Ok, much like MRG, I’m going to start this off with some excuses. Hey, what better way? Anywho, I have not contributed to this blog because of many reasons. Namely, work (I clean toilets in hotels. I know, you’re saying to yourself, “Why doesn’t she just come up with brilliant entries and offensively crude slang terms for women while she pursues her mindless cleaning?” Answer: because instead I’m generally consumed with irrational rage/depression, prompted by the fact that my tip from any particular room is less likely to be monetary and more of the used condom variety.) (Also, fun fact, my official title really is, comically enough, “chambermaid.” Most people don’t believe me when I tell them that. Lord knows why.).

But, thanks to the wonders of a marathon True Blood viewing over the past few days (Admittedly, I’m not a big vampire fan, but what I do like, is high production values, southern-gothic revival, style over substance, supporting characters that are more interesting than main characters, and the hilariously prominent gap between Anna Paquin’s teeth.), and since HBO has no qualms about a lot of sex in their programming, I’m back in the ‘for shame mindset,’ shall we say.

This is a completely historically accurate game in which you can make crusader knights fight the indigenous people of the Americas. No, I did not just buy it on Amazon.

So I return to my roots–The Middle Ages. It’s been far too long since we’ve touched on that great forgotten epoch, and in honor of the fact I did not fail either of my medievally-persuaded classes this past semester, I feel almost completely somewhat fully qualified to speak in a commanding tone on the general subject. Well, the tone is metaphorically commanding, considering that this is print, but whatever, you get it, let’s move on.

Now, in no way to belittle any other posts from me or my fellow bloggers, MRG and LHB, but I feel as though we have touched far too little on sex scandals with braod-reaching historical significance. It occurs to me also, that maybe people see these dramatic word-portraits we paint as being less than serious. I understand, this is a humor blog, BUT, as Flannery O’Connor said, “A comic novel is very serious, for all comic novels that are any good must be written about matters of life and death.” So let’s get involved in some geopoliticalass scandal, shall we?

I’ll set the scene: England. 1042. Shit’s so real it hurts. Since the late 8th century the country has experienced  continuous coastal assfucking from the Vikings, been occupied, tried to fight back, got raped some more, segregated the land like it was the Jim Crow South (too soon?), got raped a lot more, etc. Anyway, things eventually settled into an uneasy-to-say-the-least arrangement in which (this is a gross oversimplification) the native Angles-Saxons managed to reorder their country and include the Viking Danes who had settled there, though there is a definitely ethnic divide. A lot of money changed hands, and a lot of blood with spilt by guys with names like Sweyn Forkbeard and Ethelred the Unready to reach this arrangement. The English crown has been in dispute for over a century, and was juggled from generation to generation between an Anglo-Saxon or Danish family. A major component in all of this has been the fact that the Anglo-Saxons AND the Danes have also been dipping their wicks into Normandy, the closest section of France to England.

IMPORTANT: Normandy is the darkhorse in this whole thing. The one who sneaks up and wins the triple crown, or takes over a country, you know, whatever’s convenient.

So to check our parts and make sure we know where we are—we’ve got a lot of political backstabbing going on between two groups who are overtly trying to live side by side, but actually would prefer to just push the others casually off the Cliff of Dover. People don’t like each other. People want to kill each other. People feel like the other side is getting to cut the last piece of cake AND pick which half they want. Things Fall Apart. The Center Cannot Hold. Feelings Are Getting Hurt.

This is a contemporary picture of Edward. When he became a saint some time later, he was made to look considerably less wall-eyed.

Enter Edward the Confessor (This was before English kings got Roman numerals, so we give them nifty little nicknames to delineate). Before he took the throne, there were many other claimants- some from abroad thanks to marriage, and a couple in Eddy’s own back yard… An Anglo-Saxon, Edward had succeeded a Dane named Cnute (whose name has various other, even dirtier spellings) and his two short-reigning sons. Cnute was Edward’s stepfather, because his second wife had been Edward’s mom, Emma of Normandy  (see, it’s all coming together now). Edward’s father and Cnute had both married her to not only strengthened their ties to Normandy, which was real verdent and shit, but also their descendants’ claims to the throne. But even though Edward had a legitmate claim to the English crown, that did not mean  succession was in any way easy. Actually it was really really not easy. Picture how much you didn’t want to share a toy in kindergarten. Now picture that that toy is a country and everybody in kindergarten is willing to kill you/your family for that toy. Ta-da! That’s the essence of the early Middle Ages.

See, thing about Edward is, he’s been called one of the weakest kings in English history, namely because he left the country without an heir in a time of crisis. I’m talking no heir- not even a ladybaby. Historians tend to argue that he was either gay or extremely religous (hence the moniker, “Confessor”), and that’s why his royal loins sired no fruit. But, having lived much of his life in terrified exile, running from the Saxons, Edward was in fact incredibly resourceful. He was an excellent warrior and close with his arguably brilliant mother, Emma, even after his father died and she was remarried to Canute. Edward restored the English monarchy through political accumen rather than force (even though he had the chance on several occasions in the 1030s). I personally believe Edward to have been a pretty fucking good guy, and his reign was also one of the longest during the period, considering kings were dropping like preteen panties at a Justin Bieber tour. And nobody, not even a member of the Brit royal family is going to be that much of a complete dickwad and take a vow of celibacy when the situation of his country was so precarious. No, I see a larger, far more scandalous reason Edward never produced an heir, and I also spy tragedy on yonder horizon. To explain:

Harold was known for his handlebar mustache and keen ability to point at his own name.

Edward knew one of the potential claimants to his throne was the son of Godwin, Earl of Wessex, named Harold (There’s several Harolds mixed up in this whole thing, but he’s easy to remember since his last name is, logically enough, Godwinson.). Godwin had helped Edward get to the throne because he was an advisor of Edward’s father, and the highest ranking lord in the country at the time, but he himself had no legitimate claim to the throne, so that’s why he didn’t swoop in like a giant douchvulture and take the crown for himself. Instead, Godwin tried to get in good with Edward, for the sake of his own progeny. He might have thought Edward was going to be controlled once he was on the throne, but no dice.

Emma with Alfred and Edward. #Madonna-n-Kidz

BUT, in 1036, before Edward was king, Edward and his older brother Alfred, the heir-apparent after Cnute’s sons, were invited by their mother to come to England from Normandy. Cnute had died the year earlier, and she was out of favor with his donkeydick son, Harold Harefoot, so she wanted some support in the form of her strapping young warrior sons. The brothers traveled separately for safety, and when Alfred touched foot on English soil, guess who Harry H. sent to roll out the welcome wagon? GODWIN, EARL OF FUCKING WESSEX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!11

Godwin kidnaps Alfred, blinds him and tortures him for like 5 days until he dies. In a dramatic retelling of the aftermath, Godwin somes to Harold with his deed:

Godwin- “Bro, just solved your succession problem!”

(they highfive)

Harold Harefoot- “Fuck yeah, dude! Wanna do a couple jagerbombs?” But midway through

Godwin- “Fuck yeah!” (pops his cowl and partakes joyously of the jagerbombs)

Harold- “Oh shit, I forgot about Edward, Alfred’s punkass little brother.”

Godwin- “Naw, no big, man. He had like a skirmish or something then went back to Normandy like a bitch. You’re cool.”

(they continue to partake of the jagerbombs. end scene)

Wrong, fuckers. Edward never forgets.

Edith: affectionately known as “The Chinless Wonder from Wessex.”

When Edward ascends the throne less than 10 years later in 1142 and Godwin tries to get all nice-nice up in his shit by offering his daughter, Edward said, “Of course I’ll marry Edith and help put one of your loyal descendants on the throne!”

“HA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAHAHA!!!”

(^that’s what he said when Godwin left the room.)

This theory most definitely probably ignores a shitload of various contemporary factors, but it was shown that Edward did not have an easy relationship, even in a professional capacity, with Godwin. They disagreed on matters of policy both domestic and foreign, and Edward had Godwin banished in 1051. Edward and Edith were married in 1043, less than a year after he became king, and when her father was bannished, so was she. Forserious, it is entirely possible that Edward, who was a devout Christian, affected a vow of chastity for his own spiritual purity. But I’m gonna call bullshit.

HA HA!

By not putting his p in Edith’s v, Edward felt there was little legitimate claim for the Godwinsons to his throne (there were in fact five son in the family). Harold Godwinson, who did infact succeed Edward in 1066, then promptly got an arrow in his eye, was possibly probably mildly maybe in Edward’s good graces because his superdouche of a brother, Tostig, tried to bring England into a civil war, and Harold was like, “let’s not do that.” The best record we have of the time comes actually from Normandy, post-1066, called the Bayeaux Tapestry. Details are interpretive in many cases, but it seems as though, on his deathbed, Edward gave his family over to Harold for protection- except, yeah, ok, but Edward’s ‘family’ was his estranged wife Edith, Harold’s sister. That’s like taking a book off of someone’s shelf and handing it to them as a gift, saying, “From me to you. No, no, I insist. You deserve to have this.” So like I said, it’s a little hazy in here.

Harold calling on Edward in his last days. He is either suppliant or suffering from a Quasi-Modoesque hunch.

One of my greatest goals in life is to try and change the way society views medieval history (That, and to get a credit card that says “JAF, Esquire,” but I think I need to have a law degree or a penis for that.). Our modern perception of the Middle Ages was crafted largely by the Renaissance and Enlightenment “historians”  who were ready to assume that medieval people were both dumber than the “letters to the editor” page of the newspaper, as well as stunted, insensitive and with the emotional depth of a tea kettle (unless it came to prancing about in forest and fen with tights and a harp, and then medieval people were really tops). In essence- that they were less developed than Reniassance or Enlightenment historians.

But come on, guys! There is so much fire and life in this stuff! If you were Edward, why would you not want to give the ultimate “fuck you” to the son of the bastard who killed your brother? If you’re Harold why would you not sell your brother down the river for a chance at the throne of England? If you’re Edith, who very possibly helped author the Bayeux Tapestry, why would you not want to legitimize your brother’s claim to the throne, and make your withholding husband look like a weak little bitch for the rest of history?

We’re human: we felt just as much in 1011 as we do in 2011, and we can’t all do the nobelest thing. Edward left his country without an heir, purposefully, one way or another, and for selfish reasons. But, in the wake of a leaderless England, the Normans were able to seize power, and while the immediate effect was devastating, it is certainly one of the most significant events in world history, and possibly the most important for the English-speaking world. The language, culture, customs and country became what it is because of the Norman influence, but Wikipedia can expound on that if you feel the need for further investigation. My main point appears to have been that a sex scandal can effect not simply a few people but the entire course of history, so never sell short the effect of doin’ the nasty (or not, apparently).

JAF (Esquire)


I’ll be your beard, Walt Whitman!

I would like to preface this post with 2 (two) items:

1. Sorry it’s been so long since we’ve posted. We’ve had a lot of real-life shit going on. A lot of moving in & moving out of our respective apartments to do. And at the end of move-in/-out day, your number one priority is usually not to write a pithy li’l essay about historical sex. BUT GUESS THE FUCK WHAT. We’re back, our priorities are just where they should fucking be, and you’re about to reap the rewards. You’re welcome.

2. As you may have noticed, roughly 83% of our posts are about people or events or places that we just fucking adore and always have. This will be one of those posts. I’m an English major of the American nineteenth century persuasion, and the following is sort of my jam. Get over it. My throat is already a little tight.

OKAY. Walter Whitman. Uncle Walt. That’s what I call him in my head. And I will probably call him that for the rest of this post. The bard of the American experience. He of the legendary beard and the namesake of that bridge connecting Philly to south Jersey. Probably the best American poet ever to live. That’s a bold fucking statement, and I meant every word of it. Here’s another bold-ass statement: I don’t even like poetry that’s not Walt Whitman. You’re shocked, I know. I love my Uncle Walt so, so much. Because he’s not just MY Uncle Walt, he’s OUR Uncle Walt. We Americans fucking share this treasure of metaphysical verse.

So if America is a metaphorical family, and we’ve already established Walt as our eccentric, bearded, single uncle…I think you know where I’m going with this.

Walt Whitman is America’s super intellectual, super gay uncle.

Actually, scholars think he was either gay or bi, but there’s really no way to know. It’s not like he was snapping daguerrotypes of his sexploits. “Don’t worry baby, just wanna see how hot we look! But stay still, the exposure takes 20 minutes.” So before we get into this I want to say that it’s really hard to prove who or what someone was doing in the heat of the night through historical evidence. But dammit, I’ll try!

And one more disclaimer: in no way am I trying to suggest that being gay is scandalous. I’m just trying to say that in the 1840s-50s, a public male figure would probably definitely want to keep his homosexuality under wraps so as to avoid a giant shitstorm. Remember that sodomy was a crime punishable by jailtime and often hanging. So to review – being gay: not scandalous. Being gay in a time when you could lose everything including your motherfucking life if your sexual orientation became public: scandalous.

The pre-glock Sumner/Brooks caning incident. Resourcefulness, the greates of American virtues.

First, let’s contextualize (my favorite pastime). It’s the mid-nineteenth century. Shit’s getting all kinds of fucked up with the whole slavery issue. People are getting caned in the Senate, James Buchanan, God bless him, understandably is having a real fucking hard time keeping shit together, John Brown is orchestrating suicide missions in the name of the North. It’s just a rough time to be American. You’ve got so many feelings. And you just don’t know what to do with them.

Unless you’re a genial Long Islander with legs for days, a pair of misty-ass baby blues, and you go by Walt Whitman. Because then you fucking write beautiful, inspiring, transcendental, metaphysical, what-do-those-words-even-mean-ical verse all over the place. Verse that’s political but also relateable and celebratory. I’m getting a little boner.

DAYUM, I'd be his beard, know what I'm sayin'!???!?!

And (Northern) people were stepping all up in his shit. Important people. Famous intellectual people, like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott, and my literary heartthrob, Henry David Thoreau. They all agreed that Uncle Walt was really on to something with his emotional, expressive, glorious writing, because people just really weren’t doing that. Poets like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow were getting all kinds of popular for fucking pansy-ass poems about Revolution-era blacksmiths and Founding Fathers while Uncle Walt quietly wrote these amazingly personal and bold poems. Sort of how Ke$ha is to Arcade Fire, to use the parlance of our times. People know Arcade Fire, but more people know, thoughtlessly support, and throw money at Ke$ha.

Okay, so most of the people who think Uncle Walt was gay think so because 1) his poetry was really sexy in a time when you didn’t do that shit and 2) he had a longtime male BFF to whom he wrote steamy letters and was totally devoted.

STOP. I know what you’re thinking. “But MRG, from my extensive reading of the canon Uncle Walt’s poetic voice was just so VIRILE, so PATRIOTIC, so AMERICAN! How could he possibly have been gay?” I know that’s not what you were thinking but indulge me.

So boop ba doop, it’s 1866, the war is finally over. But it’s the Reconstruction and people have no fucking idea how to deal with what’s happened. It’s an uncertain time. And much as before, feelings are popping up like lilacs in the dooryard (see what I fucking did???!?!) So Walt is feeling a little lonely, a little old, a little in need of some zest. And let me ask you this, dear readers. What’s fucking zestier than a 21-year-old man in uniform?

Walt met Peter Doyle, a sexy little bus conductor, on a rainy night in DC. Walt stumbled on, a little rainwater dripping from the end of his Gandalf beard, a wet blanket wrapped around his shoulders. They looked longingly at each other and promptly made out. I mean I just made that part up, but Peter later said this about the night he met the love of his life:

“I thought I would go and talk to him. Something in me made me do it. He used to say there was something in me had the same effect on him…We were familiar at once — I put my hand on his knee — we understood. He did not get out at the end of the trip — in fact went all the way back with me.”

I mean FUCK. I don’t know about you but I’m about to ride public transit all day every day.

And this romance had all the makings of a sequel to Romeo & Juliet. Walt was a staunch supporter of the North, his brother had been a Union soldier, and dear Uncle himself worked as an army nurse throughout the war. Peter was a Confederate soldier. Plus they were both dudes. FUCKING STAR-CROSSED STATUS.

HOLY SHIT THEY'RE SO IN LOVE I CAN'T HANDLE IT FUCK

Walt and Peter were really fucking in love. Their relationship also had a serious effect on Walt’s writing, mostly because Pete WAS FUCKING THERE when Abe Lincoln got shot, an event that really yucked Walt’s yum for a long time. Using Pete’s description of that event, Walt wrote several poems about Honest Abe who was his hero. And I like to think Uncle Walt had a big ol’ crush on Abe and his death hit hard. Sort of like how I’m not over Heath Ledger yet.

ANYWAY, the most popular of the Lincoln poems is “O Captain! My Captain!,” which aside from inspiring one of the most fucking gut wrenching scenes in film history, was almost definitely also about young Pete, in my professional/totally unsubstantiated opinion.

Wait, MRG. I read that shit in junior year English class. No way that’s about a gay!

SHUT YOUR GODDAMN MOUTH. BECAUSE……

The poem is ostensibly about a captain trying to steer a ship through a fucking monsoon. The Captain is Abe, the ship is America, the storm is slavery/the South/mo money mo problems, blah blah blah you get it. But I bet you didn’t fucking know that Peter Doyle was Irish, and that his family came to the good ol’ US of A by boat through a vicious-ass storm on Good Friday in 1852. Abe Lincoln was shot on Good Friday in 1865. COINCIDENCE? OR SORT OF ADORABLE BEAUTIFUL POETIC DECLARATION OF LOVE & ESTEEM?

A copy of Walt's letters.

I mean I could go on. Their letters to one another are lovely. After a tiff, Walt wrote “I never dreamed that you made so much of having me with you, nor that you should feel so downcast at losing me.” And later he promised Pete “a good smacking kiss, many of them – taking in return many, many from my dear son – good loving ones too.”

Their relationship lasted for decades, and when Walt had a stroke in 1876 and moved to Camden to live with his bro, Pete subsequently and probably not coincidentally became a brakeman on the Pennsylvania railroad (if you’re geography challenged like LHB is, PA and NJ are neighbors). He visited the Whitmans all the time. And then Walt had another stroke in 1888 and lived four more years, during which time his relationship with dear Pete fizzled. When he died in 1892, Walt thought Pete had already died because he hadn’t heard from him in so long. Fuck.

Later, in the aforementioned interview, Pete gave us this fucking gem of a statement. I’m going to go cry while you read it:

UM, replace that J with a W and I think we've just struck marketing gold.

“I have Walt’s raglan here. Now and then I put it on, lay down… Then he is with me again… I do not ever for a minute lose the old man. He is always nearby…in a crisis, I ask myself, ‘What would Walt do?’ –and whatever I decide Walt would do, that I do.”

Okay I’m back. I want to know what Walt would do if he was crying like a child alone in his room because the story he’s relating on his humor blog about historical sex is so fucking lovely. That’s what I would like to know.

Anyway, aside from this beautiful, terribly sad, long romance, Walt had about a dozen other well-documented liasons with persons of the male persuasion. Including the biggest big gay in the nineteenth century, Oscar Wilde, who wrote “I have the kiss of Walt Whitman still on my lips,” to the second biggest big gay of the nineteenth century, George Cecil Ives. So Uncle Walt was getting his fo sho in a time when the getting was dangerous and difficult. That sounds gross. I mean the actual boning probably wasn’t dangerous or difficult, just the finding someone to bone part.

And once again, I have come to a graceful ending. Anyway, pick up a copy of Leaves of Grass, preferably the Deathbed edition, and fly your rainbow flag high. And celebrate the gayest, manliest, beardedest poet in history.

MRG