The Johnson Treatment



(clockwise) w/ Theodore F. Green, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 1957; w/ Abe Fortas, associate justice to the Supreme Court, 1965; w/ Senator Richard Russell, 1963; w/ civil rights leader Whitney Young; w/ President John F. Kennedy; w/ Irish president Éamon de Valera, 1965


WHILE campaigning in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a Secret Service agent to stand in front of him so that he could urinate on the sidewalk. After a few seconds, the agent said, “Sir, you’re pissing on my leg,” to which Johnson matter-of-factly responded:

“That’s all right, son. That’s my prerogative.”

It was known as “The Johnson Treatment” — unrelenting mental and physical intimidation by any means necessary. And the 6’3″, 250-pound president had plenty of means…



LBJ & President-elect Nixon taking the elevator to the family quarters of the White House, 1968.

Johnson once conducted an interview while driving a group of journalists down a steep incline toward a lake, yelling, “The brakes don’t work! We’re going in! We’re going under!” As the car splashed into the lake, the journalists screamed in horror—and Johnson doubled over, laughing. They were riding in an amphibious vehicle.

These days, employing the Johnson Treatment will, at best, land you in an unscheduled—and awkward—meeting with human resources. For example, LBJ often called staffers into the Oval Office bathroom for nearly an hour to take dictation while he sat on the toilet.

As former New York Times White House correspondent Tom Wicker recalls of his first interview with the new president…

He was having his hair cut and just stared at me from under heavy, lowered brows, across the sheet littered with his hair clippings. I shuffled from one foot to another; still he said nothing, nor did he even move, as the seconds came to seem minutes, then hours…I was quickly intimidated, unnerved, reduced to a sort of nothingness by those unblinking eyes, that jowly familiar face turned implacable, that motionless form under the barber sheet, the brooding silence in which I was being regarded, or perhaps measured. I shuffled and writhed. He still said nothing.

Finally I knew I was beaten, and to my shame I mumbled some banality about the nation’s good fortune in having such a man to take over. Only then, as if just noticing my presence, he whipped off the barber sheet, stood up and spoke, as if those interminable moments had never happened. Forty years later, whenever I remember that first interview with a new president, I still feel diminished by my small experience of the Johnson Treatment.


TUESDAY: The 10 Most Intimidating American Men Since LBJ

Extraordinary Moments in SOUL TRAIN History


Four years ago today, Don Cornelius, the beloved host and creator of Soul Train, chose the Gunter Sachs method of treating Alzheimer’s disease: he shot himself in the head.

While terribly sad, it’s not at all surprising that men like Cornelius and Sachs — both unceasingly proud and dignified individuals who lived fairy-tale lives — opted to stare down the barrel of a shotgun rather than the dim, tapering tunnel of dementia.

Many under the age of 30 have likely never heard of Mr. Cornelius, since his 25-year tenure as tour guide on “The Hippest Trip in America” ended in 1993. But any fans of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, Run-DMC or countless other artists whose careers began on Soul Train Line should throw some respect to Don Cornelius.

Here are three of the most extraordinary moments in Soul Train history, via UrbanDaddy


A Salute to the Stunt Doubles of Style Icons


When the city of Fort Lauderdale recognized Big John McLaughlin, Shogun of the Sea, with a star on the Walk of Fame earlier this year, he responded, “Does one have to be alive to collect it?”

It likely wasn’t the first time McLaughlin asked some form of this question, having pioneered diving, stunt rigging and motion picture safety techniques in the late 1950s that are still in use to this day.

Jaws simply wouldn’t have been a scary movie if it weren’t for Big John.


“I guess the craziest thing they ever asked me to do was bite a live tiger shark,” he reminisces.

But McLaughlin’s favorite was doubling 007 in eight Bond films, including Thunderball, in which he doubled 34 different people.


Thunderball (1965)

Let’s join Fort Lauderdale in raising a glass to Big John, the Shogun, and all the brave men who have kept our precious style icons safe over the years.

A salute to the stunt doubles of style icons  — via UrbanDaddy



John Cenatiempo and Buddy Joe Hooker, stunt doubles for Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, Righteous Kill, 2007

The 12 Original Playboys of the Jetset Sixties



“Haven’t you ever worked?”, Prince Dado Ruspoli was once asked.

“No,” he responded, “I’ve never had time.”

The 12 Original Playboys gallivanted within the eye of a perfect pleasure storm. They wanted for nothing because they could have seemingly anything – or anyone – thanks to a never-ending stream of old, old money.

But a lot of guys have a lot of dough. It seemed these twelve had something more.  Like an ability to speak a dozen languages fluently. The bravado to race Ferraris with every intention of one day wrapping one around an apple tree. And the possession of manhood that led to twelve-inch pepper grinders being named for them in Parisian restaurants.

Here are the only two Americans who made the list...



WIKIPEDIA ‘His playboy lifestyle was matched by stories of his sexual prowess. His reputedly larger than average penis size inspired Parisian waiters to name gigantic pepper mills “Rubirosas”’.




Here’s a Patently Bizarre Tank Suit Ad from 1970

Man Modeling Tank Suit
November 1, 1970 — © Condé Nast Archive/Corbis


• The Title: “Man Modeling Tank Suit” • The Photographer: Mark Patiky, of “Miles Davis Lounging on Bed of Skins with Unidentified Female” fame. • The Corbis Description: “A male model lounges on a beach in front of a jeep and a police officer wears a pair of aviator sunglasses, striped tank-suit with a high scoop neck made of ribbed acrylic fiber, by Drummond.”


• What a tank suit is. • Why there is no mention in the Corbis description of a woman soft-shoeing down the beach in an evening gown. • Whether this is a real police officer, since the only town he looks to be serving and protecting is Sodomyville.

—C.B.S. via UrbanDaddy


The furrowed presidential brow is also a well-groomed one.

So says Michael Gilman, founder of the Grooming Lounge in Washington, DC, who contends that “seven of the past eight US presidential elections have been won by the candidate with the best-groomed eyebrows.” Maddeningly, Mr. Gilman leaves us hanging on the exception. So I took a look:

We can comfortably put ’92 and ’96 in the affirmative for Clinton — along with anything else having to do with vanity. Safe to say Dukakis lost badly in the grooming department, as well, in 1988.


The most stylish senator on the hill, John Kerry, surprisingly sported a bit of a unibrow in ’04.


Ronald Reagan could have used a pluck in ’80 but wins by default since his opponent doesn’t appear to have had eyebrows at all.


Most everything about Walter Mondale was unimpressive compared to Reagan in ’84, including eyebrows.

John McCain and his eyebrows were a combined 213 years-old when they lost to Barack Obama in 2008, though his running mate did make up some ground in the grooming department.

And Mitt’s brows might have just been too damn pretty.


Head over to Kempt for  a closer look at the last eight presidential elections, brow to brow...


‘A Farewell Mission’ | ADVOCATE | FEB 2016

ASoon-to-be former Mormons gather in the shadows of the LDS temple for a mass-resignation on November 14, 2015.

Behind the Mormon Church’s Ironic Defense of Discrimination

“Tears were pouring down my face. I was so hurt and angry but also so conflicted. But then, clear as a bell, a thought came into my head. Maybe it was my Mormon upbringing and the tendency to seek approval by authority, but the thought of giving myself permission to leave — to do what I knew I had to do — was so liberating. I kept repeating it over and over in my mind, then aloud. Before long, I was shouting it into the night air: It’s OK. You are loved. You can go.”

UPDATE — January 6, 2016

  • The LDS Church issued a letter clarifying that the new policy applies only to those children whose primary residence is with a same-sex couple. The letter clarified that children who already have been baptized and are active in the church but are living with same-gender couples can continue to receive priesthood ordinances. Local leaders are authorized to make decisions based on the preparation and “best interests of each child.”
  • From DONALD BRAEGGER: “There continue to be difficulties/drama within my family following the mass resignation event. My children, who are still in the church, understandably struggle with my activism against something they still hold as true and of God.”
  • From lawyer MARK NAUGLE: “I am currently working through thousands of confirmations [of receipt of resignation letters].  It is taking quite a bit of time to get them back to their owners. The updated total of resignations I processed is 3290”
  • From SAGE TURK: “The feedback [to the interviews on the Infants on Thrones Podcast] has been off-the-charts amazing both from the interview and the subsequent social message post we made about leaving the church over these equality issues (we also put together a website called ‘’ which has garnered a fair amount of attention on post-mormon boards).  Almost universally the response has been positive and encouraging.  Some of the most surprising responses have been from active LDS individuals expressing sincere support for those stepping away from the religion (something that would normally be an extremely rare sentiment) and for LGBTQ individuals.   They are in a really tough position right now – supporting the religion that is very literally their whole lives or showing support for what they know in their hearts is right.  It’s fascinating, heartbreaking and encouraging all at the same time. Here is a teaser cut of the footage we got.