[Buddha-l] a question

Richard P. Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Tue May 3 11:33:19 MDT 2005

On Tue, 2005-05-03 at 10:48 -0600, Jim Peavler wrote:

> You have apparently been reading an entirely different Whitman from the 
> one I know and love.

Well, I suspect that Walt became wiser as he got older. (His trajectory
was thus the opposite of mine.) During the ugly Mexican-American war, he
had some pretty unpleasant things to say about Mexicans and was pretty
convinced that the Americans were doing the world a favor by taking as
much land away from them as possible. But he still had black hair and a
black beard when he was saying such things, and U.S. Grant had no beard
at all when he was following Zachary Taylor around in Mexico.

By the time Whitman had a white beard, he was up to much better things.
Years ago I saw a dramatization of Whitman's wonderful intervention in
the life of an autistic child in Ontario. It brought tears to my eyes,
as do most pages of Leaves of Grass when I read them. Or smoke them. I
think Rip Torn played Whitman in that piece. I suppose if I were going
to make a movie about Gotama, I'd want Rip Torn to play the leading
role, with Billy Bob Thornton as Ananda.

Richard Hayes
Department of Philosophy
University of New Mexico

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