Sunday, March 13, 2011

Joan Waugh on Grant the Drunk

Greetings Cosmic Americans!

And Happy Sunday morning to you all. And since it is Sunday morning, I presume that many of you joined friends and/or family last night to partake in an adult beverage or two. Yours truly is indeed a fan of revelry - that which includes an occasional cocktail con mis amigos. If you should ever find yourself at a place called Mercantile on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, try "El Diablo." This is one mighty fine drink.

As usual, pretty much everything I do gets me thinking about some sort of Civil War subject. And this morning I am thinking about the rumors of Ulysses S. Grant's excessive drinking. Accusations of drunkenness dogged Grant throughout his military and political career. Popular culture has not let him off the hook either - today, alongside his even less flattering sobriquet "the Butcher," he is still referred to by some disdainfully as Grant the Drunk.

Well is true that Grant took a taste from time to time? It is true that he may have fallen on his ass more than once? Without question. But a drunk? Dare we judge him in such callously simplistic terms? I mean "drunk" just plain lacks complexity - and Grant was a complex fellow...with flaws (just like you and me quit judging and get used to it).

Thanks to the conveniences of modern technology and Youtube, I am going to turn to the expert on the subject. UCLA professor Joan Waugh knows the story on Grant so I will let her do the talking.




  1. [...] at Cosmic America, Keith Harris draws attention to an excerpt of a lecture by Joan Waugh where she discusses the [...]

  2. Hey all - when you have watched Joan Waugh's video please be sure and check out Brooks Simpson's comments on the same subject at Crossroads -

    Excellent commentary indeed...


  3. [...] Harris, who blogs at Cosmic America, got the ball rolling this time by posting a video clip of Grant author Joan Waugh, discussing the persistent rumors of drunkenness that swirled around Grant throughout the war and [...]