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Was Lyndon Johnson gay?
October 8, 2006 3:50 PM   Subscribe

What's with the Lyndon Johnson scene in "Forrest Gump" where Lyndon Johnson asks Forrest to see his injury?

I'm referring to the scene where Forrest gets the medal of honor from Johnson after being shot in the rear. Lyndon Johnson says something to the effect of "I'd sure like to see that..." referring to Forrest's wound. Forrest pauses, then turns around and pulls down his pants to show the President.

I'm completely stumped, to be honest. I've searched for any sign of rumors about Lyndon Johnson being gay, but besides the Walter Jenkins thing, I'm not finding any connection. Can someone tell me what the inside joke was that I'm missing?
posted by PandemicSoul to Society & Culture (17 answers total)
 
How on earth do you go from ass-wound to gay? I imagine it was only put in the movie to show how adorably naive Forest was when it came to social norms.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:55 PM on October 8, 2006


It's just a set up line. LBJ is just joking around, and the point is that Forrest is too dense to understand the context of the crack.
posted by chrisamiller at 3:56 PM on October 8, 2006


Johnson legendarily showed "Jumbo" (his nickname for his own johnson) to reporters as an answer to why the US was still in Vietnam. He was also astonishingly profane in other circumstances, but I think this is the most direct reference.
posted by RogerB at 3:57 PM on October 8, 2006


I don't think there is an inside joke. For all we know, it was the best footage of Johnson at a medal ceremony they could find that would work with the digital insertion of Tom Hanks into the scene and still seem like it might be real.

Johnson was president in 1968, the timeframe of the movie and in keeping with the subsequent scenes with Abbie Hoffman, the filmmakers had to use Johnson (and not, say, Nixon) for their scene. How many well-filmed medal ceremonies of Johnson are there? I bet it was a small handful, and the filmmakers just went with the obvious joke based on the footage they had.
posted by frogan at 4:00 PM on October 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


There is a famous photo of him showing a scar from his gallbladder removal operation.

See here.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 4:02 PM on October 8, 2006 [2 favorites]


Yes, it's the gall bladder scar which is being referenced
posted by A189Nut at 4:03 PM on October 8, 2006


I always took it to be a reference to LBJ's showing of his scar, ie, that LBJ had a weird interest in scars.

My brother thought it referred to LBJ being gay. My brother is an idiot who probably got LBJ confused with J. Edgar Hoover.
posted by Brian James at 4:20 PM on October 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


Maxwell_Smart is all over it. Scandalous at the time. Now we're used to our presidents being rough-edged.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:21 PM on October 8, 2006


There is a famous photo of him showing a scar from his gallbladder removal operation.

See here.


I always took it to be a reference to LBJ's showing of his scar, ie, that LBJ had a weird interest in scars.

That explains it. Thanks :)
posted by PandemicSoul at 4:44 PM on October 8, 2006


It's a reference to Johnson lifting his shirt to show the scar from his gall bladder surgery. Alice Roosevelt Longworth, on seeing the photo, famously remarked, "Thank heavens it wasn't his prostate!"
posted by LeisureGuy at 4:58 PM on October 8, 2006


Lyndon Johnson used to enjoy fishing and as protocol a Secret Service agent or two would accompany him. As is a pretty accepted norm among fisherman, when he had to relieve himself he would stand and piss into the lake. It was reported that he would always remark to the agents, "It isn't very cold but it sure is deep", in regards to the water.
posted by geekyguy at 5:14 PM on October 8, 2006


He also enjoyed having meetings while doing his dirty sinful business:
Richard Goodwin, a speechwriter who had just begun working for Johnson, was summoned to the President's bathroom in the White House. Watching Johnson, "apparently in the midst of defecation," staring at him "intently, looking for any sign of embarrassment," and "lowering his tone, forcing me to approach more closely," while "calculating my reaction," Goodwin realized that he was being given a kind of "test." Goodwin passed - and so had many of the staff members to whom Johnson had given the same test during his years in the House of Representatives."
And ordering pants: "...the crotch, down where your nuts hang - is always a little too tight..."
posted by kirkaracha at 5:52 PM on October 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


I imagine it was only put in the movie to show how adorably naive Forest was when it came to social norms.

LBJ was rather naive about about social norms as well.... actually, he just didn't give a damn about social norms.
posted by Doohickie at 6:02 PM on October 8, 2006


It's a reference to Johnson lifting his shirt to show the scar from his gall bladder surgery. Alice Roosevelt Longworth, on seeing the photo, famously remarked, "Thank heavens it wasn't his prostate!"

The way I heard that line was, "Thank heavens it wasn't hemorrhoids." Which would make more sense, since a standard prostate operation is abdominal like LBJ's gallbladder job.
posted by beagle at 7:29 PM on October 8, 2006


LBJ also appears in The Right Stuff, played by an actor. He was the epitome of Texas Crude.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:47 AM on October 9, 2006


actually, i just read the book. in there, it seemed that it was more related to the folly of the general that was tasked with watching Gump to keep him out of trouble. The fact that LBJ had a photo taken of him while he examined Gump's buttocks spelled ruin for that officer's career.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 9:03 AM on October 9, 2006


There's also a Lenny Bruce routine (can't remember the specific one) where he imitates Johnson asking , "wanna see my scar?".
posted by brujita at 9:25 AM on October 9, 2006


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