Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos,

Disorderly fleshy and sensual….eating drinking and


No sentimentalist….no stander above men and women or

apart from them….no more modest than immodest.

I chose to focus on Walt Whitman as a “rough”/ a “rowdy”. Reynolds defines them as, “a distinct class of gang members and street loungers who roved through Manhattan’s poorer districts and often instigated riots”.

I, like Whitman, am “intrigued yet disturbed” by the contemporary street gangs. I want desperately to understand their culture yet fear the social problems that cause gang membership to exist and flourish. Reynolds writes, “In a time of rapid urbanization and economic dislocation, gangs provided certain of the urban poor with a sense of identity and an outlet for violent impulses” (105).

In searching for gang related material, I found this Snoop Dogg video. What would Whitman think when considering his commentary on the African American language saying that it, “has the hints of a future theory of the modification of all words of the English language, for musical purposes, for a native grand opera in America” (Reynolds 320)?? Bet he would love it!

Snoop Dogg: Drop It Like It\’s Hot