Joyanna Adams

Nobody's Opinion

Nobody Remembers Walt Whitman and The Seduction of Monika Lewinsky

Nobody Remembers

I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,Bill and MonikaBill Clinton Leaves of Grass

And what I assume you shall assume,

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you…

                                 Walt Whitman or Bill Clinton?


Here’s a bit of trivial fun: Bill Clinton gave both Hillary AND Monica Lewinsky copies of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Clever really. Bill, I’m sure figured it was a lot better than leaving a trace of your old love letters around for some future Presidential scandal. (ha ha ha) No, Bill wanted the ladies to know that he wanted to have sex, but he also wanted them to think that he was in love with them, when he really wasn’t. Bill Clinton in love? I doubt that has ever happened. I don’t recall him ever mentioning “love” in his autobiography. But wait…

I’m off the subject: This is about Walt. (I think.)

Bill really liked Walt, and it’s no wonder. If Bill had lived in Walt’s time, no doubt they would have been lovers.  Walt was ‘gay’ but even more than that, he was full of himself..just like Bill.Walt witman

If you read Leaves of Grass, you truly can feel that Bill and Walt were like two peas in a pod of lust…for themselves. Yes, Bill and Walt,  besides being both democrats, had another characteristic that they shared:

The great talent of self-promotion.

The reason any of us remembers Walt is because Walt was a master not only of writing obscene poetry, he was great at promoting himself.

Like Bill, Walt could really sell himself:

From A History of the American People by Paul Johnson:

Whitman first published his central work, Leaves of Grass, in 1855, when it consisted of twelve poems and ninety-five pages. He republished it, with as much fanfare as he could muster, in 1856, with additions, and this process of republications continued until the sixth edition, in 1881, had 293 poems and 382 pages. He reviewed his own poetry often, both anonymously and under pseudonyms, wrote articles about himself and promoted biographies. He planted news-stores. He said: “The public is a thick- skinned beast and you have to keep whacking away on  its hide to let it know you’re there.” He was his own iconographer, promoting photos and portraits of himself and editing them. He built up his own biographical archive, a practice followed by Berthold Brecht in the next century. He even designed his own tomb. He was the first American poet to employ free verse on a large scale, as a device for attracting attention, and the first to make a virtue of obscenity, thereby getting himself written about (and prosecuted.)  He conned Emerson into writing him a letter and then published it to boost himself. He described his own body as “perfect” a theme taken up by his votaries, who compared him to Christ: actually he was an ungainly youth who became an ugly old men. He got a letter from Tennyson but let it be known that it was so fulsome in his praise that modesty forbade him to publish it. He wrote a sixty-four page promotional pamphlet to sell his third edition but did not acknowledge authorship till twenty-three years later.  As visitors like Henry Thoreau discovered, he was not only eager to talk about himself but reluctant to have the conversation stray from the subject for long.

The first edition of Leaves of Grass sold only ten copies and Whitman had to give the rest away. But by the end of his life he was already a cult figure on both sides of the Atlantic, and his fame, and the interest in his work and personality, have continued to increase.

TELL me that doesn’t sound like Bill Clinton. Yes, I can just see old Bill now, reciting Walt Whitman to Monica:

Undrape! you are not guilty to me, nor stale nor discarded,WTF funny

I see through the broadcloth and gingham whether or no,

And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and cannot be shaken away.

Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are crowded with perfumes,

I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,

The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.

The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the distillation, it is odorless,

It is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it,

I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,

I am mad for it to be in contact with me.


You have to wonder….Bill figured he could seduce just about any woman with Leaves of Grass…

We know Monika read it, but Hillary? She probably gave her copy to Huma.

December 3, 2015 - Posted by | American Culture, Uncategorized | ,

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