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I get all steamed up
July 7, 2014 9:31 PM   Subscribe

I love your poise
Of perfect thighs
When they hold me
in paradise ...
If I had you today, I’d kiss and
fondle you into my arms and
hold you there until you said
‘Warren, oh, Warren’

Warren G. Harding, perhaps the worst chief executive in U.S. history, was a poet to longtime mistress and possible German spy Carrie Fulton Phillips.
posted by four panels (48 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
People once again amazed to discover they weren't the first generation to discover sex could be fun. (And Jesus Christ NYT Magazine--the pink blushes on the cheeks? Grow the fuck up.)
posted by yoink at 9:48 PM on July 7 [10 favorites]


or, alternatively, he would "fondle you into my anus"

this will never stop being funny to me
posted by NoraReed at 9:55 PM on July 7 [16 favorites]


yoink: "People once again amazed to discover they weren't the first generation to discover sex could be fun."

Sorry, which are these people amazed about this? Are you saying Harding and Phillips thought they discovered sex? Or four panels? Or...who?
posted by Bugbread at 9:58 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


I thought Warren G. Harding discovered sex.
posted by mazola at 10:03 PM on July 7 [4 favorites]


NYTimes: "The president often wrote in code, in case the letters were discovered, referring to his penis as Jerry and devising nicknames, like Mrs. Pouterson, for Phillips."

Harding: "...when I saw Mrs. Pouterson, a month ago, she persuaded me you still loved. I had a really happy day with her."

I'm guessing that NYTimes sentence was just really sloppily written, because it's clear that Mrs. Pouterson isn't a nickname for Phillips, it's a nickname for Phillips' genitalia.
posted by Bugbread at 10:04 PM on July 7 [5 favorites]


It was actually Howard Taft who discovered sex. That's why he got to be both President and a SCOTUS Justice.
posted by XMLicious at 10:05 PM on July 7 [8 favorites]


I'm guessing that NYTimes sentence was just really sloppily written, because it's clear that Mrs. Pouterson isn't a nickname for Phillips, it's a nickname for Phillips' genitalia.

I cannot wait for the correction.
posted by mazola at 10:06 PM on July 7 [32 favorites]


Holy fucking shit New York Times Magazine who the hell did you let into your design department drawing cutesy hearts and birds and crap over these photos WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS IS, BLINGEE OR SOMETHING ARGH
posted by Spatch at 10:11 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Some things really should remain behind the veil...

*turns away, slowly*
posted by BlueHorse at 10:25 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Warren G had to regulate, you feel me?
posted by Sparx at 11:00 PM on July 7 [14 favorites]


And here's to you, Mrs. Pouterson,
Jerry loves you more than you will know,
Whoa whoa whoa
God bless you, please Mrs. Pouterson.
Your teapot domes are always on display
Hey hey hey
posted by benzenedream at 11:10 PM on July 7 [36 favorites]


I don't know if I can bring myself to read the poetry, but WOW, that Washington Post piece is a pretty epic tale. I knew the Harding Administration was pretty corrupt, and naturally I'd heard of Teapot Dome and such, but I never really knew how bad it was, y'know? I mean I pretty much lost track of all the shenanigans in that piece before I was through reading it.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:14 PM on July 7


I always wondered where Maroon 5 got their lyrics.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:56 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Warren Gamaliel Harding
in Alaska running out of days
leaving the ladies
God moves in strange ways.

posted by Harvey Kilobit at 12:26 AM on July 8


H.L. Mencken on Warren G. Harding's inaugural address:

That is to say, he writes the worst English I have even encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm (I was about to write abscess!) of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.

The whole critique is worth reading.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:29 AM on July 8 [12 favorites]


Worst President Ever? That seems like a stretch.
"but his administration has been widely regarded as vision-less, ineffectual and corrupt. He slashed immigration quotas, appointed his cronies — one of whom, his secretary of the interior, accepted bribes from oil companies..."
Remind you of anybody? I'd love to read a in dept comparison of Harding vs. W. Bush, the who was worse papers. I am going to bet W. As far as I know Harding didn't break the world.
Also, Harding's bad poetry reminds me of Bush's bad art.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 2:05 AM on July 8 [6 favorites]


If G. W. Bush wrote love letters to his mistress:

Roses are red, my love
Iraqi blood is too
Nothing makes me happier
Than hearin' y'all go MOO!
(Now watch this drive.)
posted by spitbull at 3:07 AM on July 8 [4 favorites]


On July 29, the Library of Congress will make the original letters available to the public for the first time.

I can't figure out why so many outlets covered this yesterday based on excerpts provided by an author who reviewed microfilms for a book that came out five years ago instead of waiting for full access to the letters before reporting on them. There must have been a press release or something.
posted by stopgap at 3:18 AM on July 8 [4 favorites]


I had occasion to read up on Harding shortly after Lewinskygate - I was doing research for a play. And ever since I've been saying that Bill had nothing on Warren G. Harding. Phillips wasn't even his only mistress - when he was president he started schtupping Nan Britton, the daughter of one of his friends; they'd sneak into the coat closet of the Oval Office. Sometime during then she got pregnant and kept the baby; after he died, she came forward to his family and said that oh, by the way, Warren was my daughter's father and he was secretly supporting me, so you'll do the same, right? His family said "oh HELL no" and she ended up writing what is arguably the first "Kiss-and-tell" book, The President's Daughter, to get revenge and to raise herself some money.

The stuff I remember about Phillips was crazier - Harding's wife suspected something, and one time when she came by their house his wife was still there, and was standing on the porch throwing furniture at Philips to drive her off. Then when Harding was running for president, his staff actually paid Phillips off to move to Japan during his term so she'd be out of the way.

Like I said - Bill Clinton had nothing on this man.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:21 AM on July 8 [5 favorites]


"I’d kiss and
fondle you into my arms and
hold you there until you said
‘Warren, oh, Warren’"

Ouch.

One of the marks of true self-awareness is knowing and accepting that you are not a poet.
posted by Decani at 3:30 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


One of the marks of true self-awareness is knowing and accepting that you are not a poet.

Eh, I dunno. It's not like he wrote them for publication. What anyone writes to their desirous lover should be written in the wind and running water, as they say*. I mean, I rarely wrote poetry in my various love letters over the years, but I expect some of my sentiments would read as embarrassingly mawkish if I were to reread them now.

If we are going to throw stones at Harding, I think there are better and sharper stones to throw. It's not like being an adulterer and bad poet were the main reasons why he was a terrible president....

* Although Catullus meant something rather different and more misogynistic by it, I think.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:00 AM on July 8 [4 favorites]


mazola: "I thought Warren G. Harding discovered sex."

I heard they even named the G-Spot after him.
posted by chavenet at 5:03 AM on July 8 [5 favorites]


I think that when your middle name is Gamaliel, you pretty much have to spend your life screwing and writing bad poetry.
posted by JanetLand at 5:09 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Keep cool with Coolidge but get hard with Harding,
posted by KingEdRa at 5:56 AM on July 8 [2 favorites]


He seems to have thought that "poise" rhymes with "thighs". Was he from Cornwall?
posted by Grangousier at 6:08 AM on July 8 [2 favorites]


And, of course, sex (like so many things) was invented by Leonardo da Vinci, but owning to difficulties in translating his notebooks for a long time it was thought that he'd actually invented a completely radical kind of helicopter.
posted by Grangousier at 6:09 AM on July 8 [7 favorites]


"Warren" has to be one of the least sexy male names ever. Especially when used in poetry.


I think that when your middle name is Gamaliel, you pretty much have to spend your life screwing and writing bad poetry.

Don't forget hunting orcs.
posted by Foosnark at 6:10 AM on July 8 [16 favorites]


This was the only good part of Boardwalk Empire.
posted by grobstein at 6:36 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Btw the historians' consensus on presidential greatness is largely explained by degree of involvement in war. Historians automagically think of wartime presidents as relatively great. "Number of Americans killed in combat" turns out to be a good predictor of who they'll like. There's a paper on this around somewhere.

So I look askance at reports that historians assess some president as lesser; he may just have not generated any interesting gore.
posted by grobstein at 6:40 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Given that he accomplished surprising amounts of incompetence while only in office for two years, instead of Bush's eight, I'd say that he beats Bush in the Worst President sweepstakes. Imagine what he would have done if not for that merciful heart attack.

Also, yes, NYT, "Mrs. Pouterson" is obviously not the nickname for the mistress herself, but her naughty bits.
posted by emjaybee at 6:40 AM on July 8


"Warren" has to be one of the least sexy male names ever. Especially when used in poetry.

I don't know. It slant-rhymes with scoring, boring, snoring, whoring, flooring, soaring, pouring, and, if you must, DeLorean, so I expect the determined poet could manage something.

On a bet.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:44 AM on July 8


It's hard to tell which is more cringeworthy, Harding's attempts at busting a rhyme or the NYT's attempts at being hip (while missing the obvious euphemism).
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:00 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


His nickname for his penis was Jerry? Man, I would have gone with Warren G. Hardon.
posted by saslett at 7:53 AM on July 8 [10 favorites]


The Letters That Warren G. Harding’s Family Didn’t Want You to See

You won't believe what Harding wrote in these secret love letters!

Secret new letters discovered from the Harding archives--The results will shock you!

The first lady is named Florence, so why is the President writing love letters to someone named Mrs. Pouterson?

President Harding wrote private love letters to his mistress. The best part? They've just been released to the public.

You won't believe the crappy photoshop job that the NYTimes did to this photo of President Harding!
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 7:53 AM on July 8 [4 favorites]


I think the poems are sweet.
posted by Nelson at 7:59 AM on July 8 [2 favorites]


> "... so I expect the determined poet could manage something."

Hmm.

After warfare had us frazzled
You eschewed entanglements foreign.
But your silver tongue bedazzled
Both the Chinese and Ecuadorans.
The Europeans fall to you,
Wear they clogs or capes or sporrans.
And each night, I learn why they do,
When I'm buried inside your Warren.

So limit my naval capacity
While my borders you are guarding.
Return me now to normalcy,
Bad labor laws discarding.
Ignore my League of Nations,
Every edict disregarding.
Then give me the sweet sensation
Of a man who's always Harding.

Now, in decades hence, you'll be called the worst,
The scandals are the tale they'll tell.
In future days your name is cursed --
"He should have gone to jail!" they'll yell.
The bribes could fill a weighty tome,
Your triumphs will seem frail. Oh, well.
You'll still fill me up with your Teapot Dome,
Until I scream, "Gamaliel!"
posted by kyrademon at 8:34 AM on July 8 [10 favorites]


Sorry, which are these people amazed about this? Are you saying Harding and Phillips thought they discovered sex? Or four panels? Or...who?

The writers of this rather wretchedly puerile piece: "OMG, you wont beLIEVE it--old people were sexually attracted to each other! LOL!"
posted by yoink at 8:48 AM on July 8


can't decide if "fondling someone into my arms" is good clean American fun or a horrific cry for help.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 9:23 AM on July 8


Also: this is my pick for doing Lip Sync battles with Jimmy Fallon.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 9:24 AM on July 8


(And Jesus Christ NYT Magazine--the pink blushes on the cheeks? Grow the fuck up.)

Do not fail to notice that the caption of the photo atop the article includes the phrase "sexy pen pal."
posted by psoas at 10:24 AM on July 8


yoink: "The writers of this rather wretchedly puerile piece: "OMG, you wont beLIEVE it--old people were sexually attracted to each other! LOL!""

Yeah, I'm thinking you're the only person seeing that. Perhaps shell shock from it actually happening in so many other places.
posted by Bugbread at 5:10 PM on July 8


Oh, hey, check this out:

"Mrs. Harding's diary, discovered last year at an Ohio barn auction, revealed her to be a true believer in crystal ball readings, the zodiac and clairvoyance. In February 1920, as a Senate wife, she had her first consultation with capital society's seer, "Madame Marcia." The psychic predicted that if Harding ran for president that year, he would be nominated – but that if he won the election, he would not live through his full term and instead die of "sudden, peculiar, violent . . . death by poison."
Knowing that the blackmail price of $25,000 demanded by Carrie Phillips for the love letters could never be met unless her husband became a presidential nominee, Florence pushed him through the primaries on to the nomination, ignoring the ominous prediction. During the Harding presidency, Madame Marcia was regularly fetched by the first lady's Secret Service agent, brought through the back entrance and escorted to the presidential bedroom for zodiac updates. Madame Marcia also did horoscopes for the president's public appearances; the first lady was trying to protect him from numerous assassination and bomb threats.
When Florence got early inklings of the Teapot Dome, Veteran's Bureau and Justice Department scandals, she asked Marcia to do astrological charts of Cabinet members – and used the results as evidence to remove some of the crooks from the administration."


So (a) Nancy Reagan wasn't the first First Lady to use an astrologer, but this one used it for blackmail, and (b) we owe the presidency of Harding to a shortage of blackmail money?!
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:05 PM on July 8


we owe the presidency of Harding to a shortage of blackmail money?!

Seriously - do all y'all's self a favor and track down political scandals from the Gilded Age and earlier. Some stuff is batshit crazy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:48 AM on July 9


"On behalf of the Harding Institute, I take considerable umbrage at CNN and Jake Tapert (sic) for besmirching the good name of Warren G. Harding, and I demand an apology," the think tank's faux senior associate fellow for public affairs "Daniel Sadler" said in a statement titled "CNN Puts the 'Hard' Back in Harding: Presidential Thinktank Demands Apology Over Sex Scandal."
posted by gingerbeer at 12:45 PM on July 9


Eh, I dunno. It's not like he wrote them for publication.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:00 PM


What does that have to do with my point? Is "I want to get this published" now a valid criterion by which quality of poetry is measured? I missed that memo.
posted by Decani at 4:20 PM on July 10


Decani: "What does that have to do with my point? Is "I want to get this published" now a valid criterion by which quality of poetry is measured? I missed that memo."

A poet is someone who writes poems for publications, right? Or at least writes poems with the intent of having them published. Someone who doesn't write them for that purpose is just a person writing poems, right?

I mean, I play around with a guitar in my room. I'm terrible. I wouldn't call myself a "musician", nor do I think anyone else would call me a "musician". I'm just a guy playing music in my room.
posted by Bugbread at 4:30 PM on July 10


Because otherwise I and everyone I know is a fucking Renaissance man. I'm a musician, and an artist, and a writer, and a scientist, and a translator, and a carpenter, and a chef, and a tailor, and more!! I'm probably more "ers" and "ors" than da Vinci!!
posted by Bugbread at 4:32 PM on July 10


gingerbeer: ""On behalf of the Harding Institute, I take considerable umbrage at CNN and Jake Tapert (sic) for besmirching the good name of Warren G. Harding, and I demand an apology," the think tank's faux senior associate fellow for public affairs "Daniel Sadler" said in a statement titled "CNN Puts the 'Hard' Back in Harding: Presidential Thinktank Demands Apology Over Sex Scandal.""

The Onion would struggle to do better than that....
posted by schmod at 8:23 PM on July 14


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