LBJ liked to piss on his bodyguards

LBJ was not only the president, he was also a prodigious urinator, who pleased himself by pissing on his Secret Service detail while shielded from public view, according to Mental Floss's Jenny Drapkin:

Johnson lived to dominate, and he used crass behavior to bend people to his will. At 6-ft., 3-in. tall and 210 lbs., he liked to lean over people, spitting, swearing, belching, or laughing in their faces. Once, he even relieved himself on a Secret Serviceman who was shielding him from public view. When the man looked horrified, Johnson simply said, “That’s all right, son. It’s my prerogative.”

LBJ: The President Who Marked His Territory (via Reddit)

(Image: LBJ, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from pagedooley's photostream)


  1. Holy moly, I figured LeBron despised Clevelanders, but I didn’t know it was so bad.

    /didn’t read article

  2. Or, you know, it could be that the right wing enjoys making this shit up because naive liberals eat it for breakfast. But it’s not as if the Democrats have powerful enemies or anything like that.

    1. To be fair, LBJ isn’t exactly a liberal hero. Civil Rights Act? Great! But, you know… “hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”

  3. What ever.  Least favorite Cory Doctorow story ever.  LBJ could be a huge dick (no pun intended), but, who could possibly care about this decades after his death?  

    BTW – civil rights act of 1964? 

    1. Um… I do. Do I win a prize or something?

      People do care about what kind of people now-dead-people were… don’t you? Heck, isn’t that a big part of archaeology and history? By figuring out what kind of people the historical people were we can put historical events into a better perspective. Not to mention just pure curiosity.

      1.  Well, yeah… maybe it’s interesting where dead people used to pee. But I’m not sure how much historical perspective there is to be had from such info.  Where did George Washington, Ben Franklin, FDR, or Steve Jobs like to urinate?

        1. I draw a distinction between places someone liked to pee and persons someone like to pee on.  The latter is a bit more of a distinctive and distasteful habit.

        2. Well… why not? If George Washington liked to go make a big dump on somebody else who wasn’t quite into that kind of thing… I’m sure there would be some historical significance to that.

          But, you asked “who could possibly care” if LBJ was (or wasn’t) a huge dick as he is now dead. People do care. And if we go into a more specific scenario of who would care that he actually, and what I assume was on purpose, peed on somebody… well, I would guess quite a lot of people would care. Equally well one could ask who on earth cares what celebrities or famous people of today do, and looking from tabloid sales I would say quite a lot of people care.

          A much more interesting question would be _why_ we care, but I don’t think there is any question of _if_ we care, even though you so asserted.

    2. Signing the Civil Rights Act of ’64 was great, but it doesn’t mean we should forget all the truly horrible things he did either. Escalating the conflict in Vietnam, for example.

      Human beings are complex creatures. We do ourselves no favors by reducing influential historical figures to one-dimensional archetypes.

    3. Robert Caro cares four titanic volumes’ worth and counting.  The newest installment of his LBJ biography came out this year.

      Readers of The Years of Lyndon Johnson might care about general themes of power, politics, corruption, and how leaders come to power.  Or they might want perspective on an extremely enigmatic figure in US history.

      The article, while unsourced, is most likely plucked from the new installment, since they all deal with his time in the oval office.

  4. LBJ, a truly weird character.  Here he is on the phone with his tailor, it’s all entertaining, but to go straight into bizarro land, you may skip ahead to the 1:55 point.

    EDIT: Oh damn, I just noticed this was in the first post. My bad.

  5. So, people who have such an immense ego that they can pretend, without laughing, that they are actually able to run an entity so utterly unmanageable as the US is, feel the need to prove to themselves that they actually got any power ?  I’m surprised.

    1. I, for one, suggest the addition to everyone’s Wikipedia page. Something like, “James ‘Jim’ Douglas Morrison was an American vocalist, songwriter, poet, and prodigous urinator.”

      We could at least add it to R. Kelly’s.

      1. Surprisingly, there’s nothing on the subject in Wikipedia’s article on ‘Evil’ Jared Hasselhoff, who has pissed on Jimmy Pop’s head many times during Bloodhound Gang concerts.

  6. So the Congresspeople who managed not to fall in line for arguments, discussion, logic, stuff they saw with their own eyeballs, sort of admit by their actions that they were susceptible to that?

      1. Sorry. LBJ is famous for US Congress-wrangling. His methods worked on them, but unfortunately he made 1-2 wrong goal choices. (“I need a war, and I think I’ll choose Indochina!”)

        I think I remember seeing a recent internet analysis that concluded that and how LBJ’s methods surrounded Hisself with yes-men and ultimately provided him with wrong information. But I can’t remember where, so I shouldn’t mention it.

        1. No, you are completely correct for mentioning those points.  LBJ was, in a lot of ways, a gigantic douche bag (pardon my French).  He did a lot of stupid and harmful stuff.  But on the other hand we was a hero too.  Civil rights, war on poverty, etc.  I just find it hard to care about his gross personal habits at this late date.  He’s been dead for many years, let’s get over it. 

          1.  As far as I remember, (and others here will call me out if I am wrong), LBJ pushed through the law called the civil rights act of 1964. Which basically made discrimination on the basis of race illegal in the US.  He managed this by using ALL his clout and political capital earned during his years as a very powerful senator from Texas.  From what I understand, his motivations were his shock at Kennedy’s death and a desire to finish this one piece of JFK’s work.  And also perhaps (even though he was a gross, obnoxious, loudmouth bully from Texas, who peed on people), he knew it was the right thing to do.   

          2. I just find it hard to care about his gross personal habits at this late date.

            It ceases to be a “personal” habit when it involves doing things to other people.

            Not cleaning your fingernails is a gross personal habit. Pissing on people who are sworn to protect you is an act of sociopathic douchebaggery.

          3. Passing a civil rights bill was a good thing, but I don’t think it made him a “hero.”  The Freedom Riders were heroes.  They took risks with their very lives.  Taking political risks simply isn’t heroic.  It’s just the right thing to do.

            On the other hand, describing his negative actions (regarding, for instance, Viet Nam) as merely “stupid and harmful,” is to go in the other direction.  Many tens of thousands of people (soldiers and civilians) needlessly died because of Johnson’s foreign policies.  That’s not just “harmful.”  It’s monstrous. 

          4. aikimoe: 
            > Many tens of thousands of people (soldiers and
            > civilians) needlessly died because of Johnson’s
            > foreign policies.  That’s not just “harmful.”  It’s
            > monstrous. 

            I’ll see your many tens of thousands of American deaths and raise you at least a million Vietnamese deaths.

  7. According to a single source: Rampant Sensationalism.
    Would this even be worthy of a news item if it didn’t allege to malign a past president as some sort of pee freak?

  8. It is my understanding that there was a drug cocktail available during the Vietnam War era called LBJ, which was a combination of LSD, Belladonna and Heroin. 

    I’m guessing there is some sort of creativity involved with the J and the H.

    Okay, Okay…I read about this as a _HIGH_ school kid in the 80s, from the Anarchist Cookbook, which was obviously satire (or sumthin’) – apparent even to us to high-school kids.

    1. Oh, almost forgot my original reason for posting. 

      Prince, the musician, you know, that one, was inspired by his uncle’s up-close experience with LBJ to write Purple Rain. 

      Prince’s uncle was a Secret Service veteran assigned to LBJ’s protection detail. LBJ was known for his laissez-faire urinary habits, which includes agents being occasionally being sprayed. His nickname among his personal detail was ‘Purple Rain’.

      LBJ’s urine was, it was…purple, because  he was afflicted with  porphyria – a condition that causes all sorts of behaviour and other abnormalities. 

      Notable historical figures with  porphyria include King George III, Mary Queen of Scots, Vlad III the Impaler, Vincent van Gogh, Zuckerman’s Famous Pig and Benji.

      1. You just made that story up, didn’t you?  There are a lot of stories about the “real” meaning of Purple Rain, but none of them involve LBJ or pee or exotic diseases.

        The most popular story involves his father’s suicide by gun – not to say that it’s true, because I don’t think Prince himself has ever explained.

        1. Yes, I made the story up – couldn’t resist. 

          My intention wasn’t to poke mean fun at Prince or LBJ. LBJ, under other circumstances would have accomplished much, much more as president. I also kinda sense that LBJ was, and continues to be misunderstood.

          About ten years ago, give or take, there was on NPR an interview with a guy (forgot his name) who wrote a book about LBJ. He described (and played the recording of) a conversation between Pres. Johnson and his longterm barber. LBJ and the barber were negotiating price. LBJ said ten dollars, stuck to the price and after some ritualized negotiation, his barber agreed. The author offered this as an example of what  difficult SOB LBJ could be. 

          The author, IMHO misunderstood the exchange. The recorded conversation between LBJ and his barber was ritualized, and it seemed that they had this same conversation for decades. The tone of their voices was that of old friends. I wouldn’t be surprised if the barber had stopped requiring payment decades before LBJ became POTUS. 

          Amicable banter with his barber aside, many others have described LBJ to an SOB and peeing on others fits this description. I don’t doubt that there is a reason he’s been called this multiple times by multiple people. 

          As for Prince, I’ve liked more than a few of his songs, and I cannot think of anything by him I’ve hated.  I’ve always wondered about the meaning ‘Purple Rain’, but I wasn’t really offering a theory in my post. I was just being a smart alec.

          1.  There was an unflattering cartoon of LBJ in his college yearbook.  When he became powerful he arranged either for for that page to be excised or the entire book to vanish from every publicly-accessible place (and a number of personal copies) it was in.

            The man was all about power, to an extent that is frankly incomprehensible to me; and I imagine to anyone that doesn’t end up in politics.

  9. So… this stuff tends to cross-fertilize, and right now I’m watching TableTop’s Fiasco Ep. 1 for the first time. Which made me remember Bossypants and the micturation.

    IS THERE, possibly, a link between this and the 1980’s pee collection jars Tina Fey reports seeing in SNL writer batcaves?

  10. Somehow this sounds like some sort of parable describing US foreign politics. Always spitting, swearing, belching, or laughing others in their faces to bend them to your will. If you do it often enough you’re bound to meet someone who is not afraid and punches you in the face.

    1. I actually have a family friend who was a maid in the LBJ White House, and has a few crude stories to tell.  Not these exact stories, because she saw him from a different angle – but she definitely paints him as this kind of man.

  11. This gives testimonial to Leary/Wilson’s Eight Circuit theory… especially the anal-territorial circuit. Marking the territory.

    This also reminds me of the work of Cathy O’Brien

  12. Reminds me of a story I heard about George W. Bush, where he like to fart up a room and then call a White House intern in to discuss something “serious” and then get a big kick out of watching the intern squirm and pretend they didn’t smell anything. Maybe it’s something about Presidents from Texas …

  13. LBJ liked to drive drunk around his ranch to the delight and terror of his guests. If I had the land and the cars and the time I prolly would, too.

    But, that kind of behavior goes along with territoral pissing, so I find the story credible.

    1. I heard a reporter tell the same story. He would load the cab of his pickup with his dog and ice chest then fill the bed with reports and drive them around and show them the ranch, while tossing spent beer cans out the window.

  14. Not that it’s impossible, just impossible to believe without sources. Extraordinary claims and all that. But torture and abuse of power is already a bipartisan pursuit for our presidents, so I’m not about to call it unlikely.

  15. LBJ was possessed of many odious habits but, too, did some amazing bits of state craft.  There’s no better biography of any President — and probably no better bit of biography — than Robert Caro’s now-four, eventually-five, volume biography of the man.  It’s a deeply fascinating look at how someone accumulates — and uses — political power.  

  16. This is reminishent of Pauk Krassner’s most notorious satire, the article “The Parts That Were Left Out of the Kennedy Book”, according to which in the aftermath of JFK shooting, Jacqueline Kennedy caught LBJ in the airforce one in the act of sexually penetrating the bullet-hole wound in the throat of JFK’s corpse. Jackie’s quote:

    ‘I’m telling you this for the historical record,’ she said, `so that people a hundred years from now will know what I had to go through… That man was crouching over the corpse, no longer chuckling but breathing hard and moving his body rhythmically. At first I thought he must be performing some mysterious symbolic rite he’d learned from Mexicans or Indians as a boy. And then I realized—there is only one way to say this—he was literally fucking my husband in the throat. In the bullet wound in the front of his throat. He reached a climax and dismounted. I froze. The next thing I remember, he was being sworn in as the new president.’

    1. If memory serves, Paul Krassner took a ball that was initially thrown out by Terry Southern and ran with it. It’s one the first and best examples of political pranking I remember. As for the relevance of LBJ’s treatment of his lackeys, anybody who spent time in Southeast Asia as much because of Johnson’s ego as any conceivable political factor can be excused for finding it *highly* relevant.

  17. It’s my prerogative.

    As if a certain song weren’t tainted enough by it’s singer’s later bad behavior…

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