As you all may have noticed, I like to hear the sound of my own written voice. That is why I write such long posts (that and I have a hard time focusing and don’t actually read them over to see if I can cut anything out BECAUSE I KNOW IT’S ALL GOLD). So this week is an exercise in brevity for me. Also, I’m not saying I’m phoning this in, but I’m not not saying that I don’t have a shitton of other stuff to do.
(That link was shameless. Again, I know, I’m sorry, get over it. )
Thus ends my preamble, and so begins the part that is not the preamble. Question: What do you get from a country when Protestant morals are so deeply ingrained in the values and society that the collective consciousness resembles something akin to a four hour reflective prayer session in a Puritan meeting hall? You get England, and the culturally inherited (but not totally untrue) stereotypes of the stiff-upper-lip, willingness to submit to an unflinchingly ridged hierarchical structure, and a healthy sense of rebellious deviance.
You also get the religious entrepreneur, Aleister Crowley. Born in 1875 as Edward Crowley, he was perfectly poised (because the stars aligned, WHAT WHHUT) to ensnare the already willing imaginations of the Edwardians and post-Great War Bright Young Things. His parents were fairly wealthy, and extremely devout members of the Protestant religious sect known as the Exclusive Brethren, who I can most easily described as the Amish of Britain. This led Edward to do as every good teenagers does and hate the thing they valued most: Christianity.
After attending multiple private schools and universities, he increasingly challenged the Protestant values and teachings prevalent in education at the time. He also started to nail a lot of girls. ‘Cause, you know, The Bible says you shouldn’t.
He didn’t discriminate though, seeking out both prostitutes as well as girls he met off the street. Sort of like a Starz series, all full of passion, illicitly casual sex and mediocre production values. Annnnnnd he got gonorrhea before he was 20.
Along with dipping his wick in a lot of wax, young Edward engaged in many other pastimes including mountaineering, playing chess, writing and publishing erotica, and having lots of hetero and homosexual encounters (which were illegal, as you may recall until the Michael Pitt-Rivers trial of 1954, great-grandson of Lt.Gen. A.H. Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers, whose ethnographic collection formed the basis of the Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford. NOW you know why that name sounded so familiar!). Oh, and he changed his name to Aleister. Rad.
He had a real nice boy-fran for a while, named Herbert Charles Pollitt, but they broke up because of Aleister’s increasing interest in the esoteric. For those of you who pretend to know the meanings of lots of words you actually don’t to sound smart, and may be wanting to quick search the interwebs for what esoteric actually means, I’ll oblige you (because let’s face it, I’m the queen of pretending I know more than I actually do). In the case of Aleister Crowley, when we talk about esoteric beliefs, we’re talking about mysticism, magic, and a fake religion Crowley made up about himself.
He attributed his first mystical experiences to sexual activity, which brought him closer to an “immanent diety.” Clearly a formative experiance, so, hey, why not make that the basis of a faith? He studied alchemy and became a member of various cults religious societies in his mid twenties, as well as learning about the ritualistic use of drugs in magical ceremonies. He took a flat in London in which he had two rooms, one devoted to ‘White Magic,’ and the other to ‘Black Magic.’ As in, the type of magic from THE BLACK CAULDRON THE CLASSIC 1985 ANIMATED FILM BASED ON THE BOOK SERIES BY LLOYD ALEXANDER AND THE WELSH MYTHOLOGICAL TRADITION YES I LOVE ALL THE THINGS I JUST LISTED.
He then set sail to Mexico, India, China, America, Hawaii (NOT PART OF AMERICA), Hong Kong, Eygpt and Ceylon (SRI LANKA BITCES), tasted the local flavors (IF YOU KNOW WHAT IM SAYIN’ YEAH YA DO), did some mountain climbing (YEAH HE DID), tried yoga (SO MANY POSITIONS) and got married to Rose Edith Kelly (CAPITAL LETTERS).
He decided to call it Thelema, derived from the Greek for ‘True Will,’ and the religious text was called The Book of the Law (it’s number 4 on Oprah’s summer reading list). It was associated with ideas of Sun worship, reverence to a goddess of ‘all pleasure’ called Babalon, or “The Virgin Whore,” wild animals, and magick (the k makes it kool). Practices included masturbation, hetero and homosexual encounters, blood sacrifice, hallucinogenic drug use, and sunbathing (???). Oh yeah, and shortly after he created Thelema, Aleister was climbing and fell from 40 feet only to survive unscathed, making him think he was Mark Walhberg. So that happened.
He traveled around Britian and the US drumming up interest, mostly amongst a string of religious nutjob slorebags, and eventually founded (with one of his main sausage-wallets) his culminating achievement, the Abbey of Thelema in rural Palermo. It was this wholesomely named establishment that earned him the title, “The Most Evil Man in Britain,” since Tony Blair hadn’t been born yet. I have to stress how effing out there it was to be Aleister Crowley in the teens and twenties. I mean, you may be thinking he’s pretty strange right now, but there is no way to underrepresent the effect of his behavior in England, the most morally conservative country in Western Europe. He was news. He was crazy. He was corrupting the youth and challenging the morals and ideas his country had held for over 300 years FOR NO SEEMINGLY GREATER REASON OTHER THAN HE WANTED TO TAKE DRUG BONE SOME BITCHES AND BE WORSHIPPED.
One of his critics called his religious views and practices “a steaming pile of shite, replete with corpulent flies, buzzing hither and thither.” BUT, his supporters said of him that “Crowley clothed many of his teachings in the thin veil of sensational titillation. By doing so he assured himself that his works would only be appreciated by the few individuals capable of doing so.” Yup, only a few people can appreciate promiscuous sex.
His ‘anti-monastery’/magickkkkkk school at Thelema, where e’rybody did whatever and whoever they wanted, was populated by a bunch of wealthy, gullible, younger children of the English uppercrust who wanted to escape the reality of a war-ravaged Europe, have free sex and drugs disguised as spiritual enlightenment, and be on the forefront of the supposed ‘post-Bloomsbury’ cultural movement (since they were encouraged to write about their feelings after coitus. Like Poetry Orgy Summer Camp!).
But, as with all good things, it was merely a fleeting moment in time, like a season of Mad Men, or Daniel Craig’s beard. While at the Abbey, Aleister fathered at least 2, possibly 3 children by multiple women (none of them his wife who he drove to alcoholism, and that pissed some people off back home). There were rumors that a man had died because of a sacrificial ceremony involving drinking the blood of a cat (what?????), and, of course, petty jealousies and gossip served to fracture the community of believers Crowley had gathered around him. The press had a fieldday with this crap, and called it a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah…. which is pretty apt.
The Italian Prime Minister, you might have heard of him, Benito Mussolini, didn’t like that shit, ’cause he was a fascist and they hate everything, so he kicked the Abbey out in 1923. And to cut what was, in fact, not an exactly a short story short, Aleister got remarried, but kept boning like all these chicks, fathered at least 2 more children on top of the 4 or more attributed to him, became bankrupt after he lost like all these lawsuits (and after he tried to fake his own death), and then became a spy for Ian Fleming (yup) during the WWII. Go figure.
So from devout Chrisitian upbringing, to religious sex zealot; from “Most Evil Man in Britain” to working espionage for the government, I give you Aleister Crowley. Boy, it sure would be hard to top him.
You may have noticed that a fair percentage of our posts of late have been about people or things that give us emotional or intellectual boners, like Anne Boleyn or the Middle Ages. Or things that pertain to what’s going on in the “real world,” like the Founding Fathers/Father’s Day week. We think that you like those posts more. Or at least Site Stats tells us so.
Well get ready to be tickled pink, because this post is both TOPICAL and a SHAMELESS PROMOTION OF SOMETHING WE ALREADY LOVE!
Throw your O-negative in the microwave and practice your best Sookie Stackouse gap-toothed shriek, because TRUE BLOOD IS BACK on Sunday night!!!!!!1
LHB, JAF, and I love the ‘Blood. We bonded over many Thursday night True Blood viewings while we were in England, as it was being broadcast on ITV4. They were only on Season 2 (amateurs) but we’d eat our 33p Sainsbury baguettes (discounted after 10 PM) and our Starmix and sip
cheap wine tea and giggle and swoon at Eric Northman’s truly disconcerting grin. I’m a Sam Merlotte kinda lady myself (leave it to me to crush on the nice small business owner with a heart of gold in a show full of sexy and dangerous man candy), but that’s not the point.
The point is that True Blood is one sexy-ass program (with a truly inspired ad campaign, but I digress), because if Victorian literature has taught us anything, it’s that dead men, specifically vampires, want to fuck you and dammit, they’ll find a way to do it despite your best efforts. And we love True Blood. So in our minds sexy television + long, fabled historical and cultural discourse made up largely of allegories for rape or deflowering = BOOM, posted.
Now buttons, I expect you’re thinking that I’m going to write about Vlad the Impaler or Elizabeth Bathory. And to that I say FOR SHAME. Who do you think we are? If you want to know anything about those two, wait until the second week of October (Halloween topicality) and turn on the History Channel. I guarantee you there will be a program on within two hours that mentions one or both of them. And you can take that to the bank.
So instead I’m going to write about an absolutely terrifying, true, and obscure story about a mid-nineteenth century French soldier/necrophiliac.
And listen, I get it. You’re a little puzzled as to how this has anything to do with True Blood. But THINK ABOUT IT, Y’ALL. Sookie and Tara and Hoyt and any other human character that’s fang-bangin’ is essentially a necrophiliac. Also True Blood takes place in Cajun Louisiana which means that the French were there at some point. Bon Temps means “good times” in the French. So it fits. Shut up, it does.
Okay, it’s 1847 Paris. Height of the Gothic era (although no one knows that yet because that’s not how history works, but you get it). It’s a gloomy, dirty city full of prostitutes and can-can girls and poor street painters. Industrialism is booming, there’s a growing bourgeoise blah blah blah basically I imagine that it’s constantly nighttime and the whole city is a redlight district and there are a lot of poor young Frenchies getting their kicks the only way they know how: by boning. And being Frenchies, they’re exponentially better at the boning. It’s genetic or something, I don’t know. It’s the one thing they’ve got.
Anyway, one member of this rising class of disillusioned deviants is 25-year-old soldier Francois Bertrand. Kind of a sexy name right? Yeah, you’re going to feel weird about saying that pretty soon, MRG.
Because….young Fran was a necrophiliac. You probably saw that coming. Since I told you. But this guy was FUCKED UP. I don’t claim to be well versed in the history of necrophilia (and who would want to be) (I feel like I went to high school with some people who probably were) (what if they read this and try to kill me?!) (and then have sex with me?!?!) but I feel like other necrophiliacs were sort of like, “Hey, be cool dude!” That’s how terrifyingly terrible and horrifyingly horrible his behaviors were.
According to an interview he gave upon being court martial-ed, Fran started masturbating when he was three. Three. Years. Old. Then he said that one of his earliest memories was having this overwhelming desire to torture, kill, and rape a room full of naked women. When he realized this wasn’t exactly feasible, or you know, socially acceptable in any way, he started killing farm animals instead. Just to relive the tension. Sort of like how I like to take long showers when I’m stressed about a paper or something. SAME THING. NOT REALLY I’M ALREADY SCARED.
Fast forward a dozen years or so from that idyllic portrait of Franny’s childhood. One day, he and a pal are walking through Pere-Lachaise, which is the largest cemetery in Paris. Which is just where he should fucking be. And Fran notices a grave that’s only half filled (I’m an optimist). And he’s like “Uhh hey dude I gotta go uh wash my cat uh yeah uh I’ll see you later” and leaves, only to return later that day (as in during the day, when there is light and people can see you) with a motherfucking spade so he can dig up the body. Which, thank heavens!, is a lady. A dead lady. Who he went ahead and beat with said spade, and probably jerked off on. In daylight. And he didn’t get caught.
And he kept coming back. He wised up and started returning at night though. I know that it’s a lot of words, but I’m going to let Fran give his own version of events from said court martial here. He did such a great job!
“I enjoyed the dark alleys of this graveyard quite a bit, and I decided to come back for a walk during the night. I entered into the cemetery at 9 PM by climbing the wall. I strolled around for half an hour, my mind filled with black thoughts, then I started to dig a grave with my bare hands; I tore the body into pieces, then I left. It happened in June.
Then came the February 1848 cases. At this period, the regiment started to go on the road, and we only came back in Paris in June. We were camping near a village in the suburbs of Amiens…I climbed out of the camp every night, to go to the Montparnasse Cemetery, where I satisfied my lust.
The first victim of my fury was a young girl whose limbs I scattered after having mutilated her. This desecration took place on July 25, 1848 Ever since then, I only came back twice to that cemetery. The first time, at midnight, under a bright moon, I saw a guard walking down an alley, a pistol in his hand. I was
perched on a tree, near the surrounding wall, ready to climb down into the graveyard; he walked by me, but did not see me. When he was far enough from me, I left without even trying to do a thing. The second time, I dug up the remains of an old woman and a child; I treated them the same way as my other victims. I cannot remember when this happened. The other cases happened in a cemetery where only suicide victims and people who died in hospitals are buried. The first individual that I dug up in this place was a drowned corpse that I disemboweled. It was on July 30. You must notice that I seldom mutilated men. I did not take pleasure from it, whereas I had a great time mutilating the corpses of women. I do not know why.
By November 6, 1848, I dug up and mutilated four bodies, two men and two women. The women were at least 60 years old. I cannot remember the exact dates of these exhumations, but they happened every two weeks.
On November 6, at 10 p.m., someone shot at me while I was climbing the graveyard’s wall. I was not hit. This fact did not discourage me. I laid on the wet ground and slept for at least 2 hours in the winter cold. I then entered the graveyard, where I dug up the body of a drowned woman. I disemboweled her…
At first, I committed these excesses only after drinking a pint of wine, but I never did this again under the influence of alcohol. Simple annoyance was enough to drive me to such extremes.
You could believe that I was also prone to assault living persons, but on the contrary, I was extremely kind to everybody. I wouldn’t hurt a child. So I am sure that I have no enemies. All the non-commissioned officers appreciated my frankness and my cheerfulness.”
Hope you enjoyed that, lovelies. Some notes in conclusion:
– Holy crow, am I going to have a hard time falling asleep tonight.
– Ultimately he’s estimated to have in some way violated fifteen different corpses, usually followed by masturbation and in at least two cases, coitus.
– He was put in an asylum for the rest of his life. I mean, I get that he was crazy. But really, French people? You’ll guillotine Marie Antoinette and her best girlfriends for being rich, and you’ll let this guy go?
– “Simple annoyance?” Like, Jacques didn’t empty the trash, better go fuck a corpse tonight? Pierre left his dishes in the sink? It rained and my beret was ruined?
– And those last two sentences – “Sure, I have sex with dead women. It ain’t nothin’. My boys love me!”
Listen, dears, this post went long and it was sort of way more terrifying than I thought it would be and I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
But it sure as shit makes choosing between that supernatural, oft-shirtless trifecta of hotties in Bon Temps look like a goddamn picnic.
HISTORY/GEOGRAPHY LESSON: The British are an uncreative people when it comes to naming places. (I know. Big statement. Sweeping generalization. Get used to it.) For example, King James II of England bestowed the land between the Delaware and Hudson rivers (how nice of him) to his two besties from the English Civil War. When they sat down to afternoon tea to try to think of a good name for the little shore-lined piece of land that would one day be home to our country’s most prized crime syndicates, television shows, airports, and oil refineries. They named the land “New Jersey” after the English Channel Island of Jersey. Have you heard of the Channel Islands? Probably not. Unless you read books regularly or are good at geography. Because while the islands are politically and culturally a part of Britain, they are comically closer to France. And they were occupied by the Schmatzis during WWII. Also, more characteristic of France. Too soon? Anyway, it is on this small island of Jersey, Old Jersey that is, that this story of scandal begins.
Here’s what you should have gleaned from the previous paragraph and its linkage: This post has nothing to do with New Jersey. However, roughly 90% of the images and 100% of the links will have EVERYTHING to do with America’s favorite state.
Lillie Langtry, nee Emilie Charlotte le Breton, was born on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands. Yadayada she grew up yadayada. In 1874, she was looking FINE and the 20 year old was married off to Edward Langtry, a landowner who was 6 years her senior and hailed from another of England’s commonly ignored and aquatically surrounded territories, Ireland. Tired of being stuck on the little spit of land at the smelly end of the channel and sounding exactly like every 20 something year old from Newark, the young woman from Jersey was like, “Ed, get me the fuck out of this shit hole.” And he was all, “Bitch, lay out my Sperries, boil me up a potato and I’m ready to go.” Cuz the guy had a yacht. And he was Irish.
After docking on the main land, they rented a place in London and were quickly swept up into Victorian high society. A friend of her father, Lord Ralenegh, invited the couple to a snooty tooty reception sort of thing where her hot bod and LILY-white face attracted the attention of artists Frank Miles and Sir John Everett Millais. Frank started sketching her right then and there (awk? yeah probably. Miles also later died in an insane asylum so I’m betting he was a little unhinged even then), but Millais was a little more smooth and painted her portrait a few days later. It was on display at the royal academy soon after and before you can say “royal blow job,” our little harlot was a full-on member of London’s high society.
WOOPS! Did I speak too soon? Well, now that the scandal is out of the bag, I might as well get to the point. Our little minx was introduced to the Prince of Fucking Wales (PoFW) at a dinner party because the heir to the goddam throne had fucking arranged to be seated next to her! He went even further to have Lillie’s husband seated at the opposite end of the table. SNAP! The man had moovz. Their affair lasted about 3 years (from 1877-1880) and even after it ended, he was always really nice to her and spoke well of her to the media when she became a schmactress. As the official royal mistress, she enjoyed a lot of perks; hanging around the palace, going to dinner with the family, being allowed to design a manor in the country that would serve as a private get-away for the couple, you know, that sort of thing, no big deal really. It’s a hotel now. So it was pretty modest, I’m sure. She even was introduced to the prince’s mom. Who was Queen fucking Victoria by the way. The affair was filled with great conversation and a lot, a lot, A LOT of sex-having. Straight from my most trusted resource, WIKI:
Edward [PoFW] once complained to her, “I’ve spent enough on you to build a battleship,” whereupon she tartly replied, “And you’ve spent enough in me to float one.”
WHAT?! EW! Bitch was as foul-mouthed as MRG! I LIKE IT! Anyway, Lillie apparently sort of misbehaved at a dinner and fell out of favor with the prince. Woopsies!
But then! In 1879 she started an affair with the Earl of Shrewsbery which was all over page 6, ifyouknowwhatimsaying. Now, I’m not the best at math. (Although I did get a 5 on my AP Calc. Wut wut!!) But it looks like her affair with this Earl fellow would have overlapped with her affair with the prince. That seems unwise of her. But who am I to judge?
After the Earl, she decided it was time to be moving on up and started a bone-fest with Prince Louis of Battenberg. Like a boss, she was also having an affair with a guy named Arthur Clarence Jones. He wasn’t royal per se, so much as a friend of the family that she maybe sort of was actually in love with. Surprise surprise, she gets pregnant in 1880 and tells the German prince that the baby is his. (Because Arthur wasn’t exactly SITUATED financially. Plus his name started with “Arthur” not “Prince.”) Joke was on her because it turned out that the prince was a little bitch and told his parents. Mommy and daddy were not pleased, so to get him away from the lily-devil, they enlisted him in the navy and had him assigned to the HMS Inconstant. (Which reminds me of the word “incontinent” which has to do with not having babies. I don’t think that his parents planned this, but I’d like to think they did because it would be very clever and hilarious of them.) So the PoFW (nice guy) gave Lillie a little bit of money and she and Arthur retired to Paris for about 9 months. Her letters to Arthur in later years apparently make it seem like he was actually the father of her daughter and that the two were genuinely in love. ADORBS!
At the suggestion of her sassiest gay friend, Oscar Wilde, she took to the stage. She made her London debut at the Haymarket theatre in 1881 and then performed a number of roles on both sides of the pond. The critics hated her. Probably because she wasn’t very good. The public adored her. Probably because she was pretty. You know who was her biggest fan? Judge Roy Bean of Langtry, Texas. BUT WE’RE GETTING AHEAD OF OURSELVES. Standby.
In 1882 she got involved with a prominent New York millionaire named Frederic Gebhard who was really into thoroughbred horse racing. She got into the hobby too and that was a good thing since it led her to her next conquest, American millionaire, George Alexander Baird. He was a boxer and an amateur jockey. I imagine that he was very small, but I have no idea.
Bitch finally got herself divorced and Americanized in 1897 and then two years later, girlfriend married Hugo de Bath. The couple lived in Monaco, but not together. They saw each other for social events and the occasional conjugal visit. Tragically for us, Lillie’s libido seems to have waned in her last few decades. She lived in Monaco until her death in 1929.
AND OH YEAH SHE IS INTIMATELY CONNECTED WITH MY FAVORITE PLACE IN MY HOME STATE OF TEXAS. It’s been a long time since I saw The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, starring a very attractive and young Paul Newman, but what I DO remember is my family trip to Langtry, Texas! Everybody thinks that the town is named after our heroine because the famous Judge Roy Bean of Langtry, TX was OBSESSED with her and told everybody the town was named in her honor. Lies. The less exciting truth is that it was named after some railway mogul connected to the area. Bean named the bar where he held court “The Jersey Lilly” because he was SO in love with her. There was a big picture of her in the bar/court room, and if memory serves, I think at some point before she died, Lillie made it out there to west Texas and met the judge. I bet it made his fucking day, even his month, maybe the year. I really wanted to find some photos from the family trip, but I couldn’t get it together to look for them when I was home. Try to contain your disappointment.
For the conclusion, I think we should do a count off of the known affairs of Miss Lillie Langtry because I feel that quantifying this woman’s sexploits will be very impressive to us. (Plus I like lists.)
- The Prince of Fucking Wales (PoFW)
- The Earl of Shrewsbury
- Prince Louis of Battenberg
- Arthur Clarence Jones
- Frederic Gebhard (horse racer guy)
- George Alexander Baird (jockey/boxer)
- NOT COUNTING HER TWO HUSBANDS: Edward Langtry and Hugo de Bath.
- Probably a couple more who we don’t know about
Point is, girlfriend got around and I couldn’t be prouder. I think it’s apparent that I’m a big fan of Lillie. Probably because of her connection to Texas. But also because like so many of our lady scandal-makers, she was unafraid of using her feminine wiles to get ahead in the world. She could not have done better in English society than bedding the Prince of Fucking Wales. Bitch had skillz, aight?
While she isn’t quite as much of a beauty as the REAL Jersey Lillie (pictured left) and had far less appreciation for tanning, Langtry still easily makes my list of badass, historical, and always scandalous bombshells.
Ben Franklin. Ben “Ol’ Dirty Bastard” Franklin. The guiding light of the American Revolution, the pondscum of Philly’s redlight district. He has been called “the first American,” and I feel like that is not not accurate. Here was a man who’s greatness we have all read about in school—he invented about a bazillion things like ‘electricity’ or some shit, as well as created America’s first biblioteque, first fire department (thanks Ben) and the postal service, founded one of our very own bloggers’ small east-coast liberal arts college, and then was all about political theory and philosophy and being really smart and stuff—but today we are skipping over achievement for the umpteenth time in favor of salaciousness. Thank God! I mean, if you’ve got to spend today with at least one dad, make it a for shame! dad.
Born in 1706, Ben had his final year of formal schooling when he was 9. Wtf. If he helped create a new indivisible nation with liberty and justice for all with like 4 effing years of school, then I should have colonized Saturn by now. God damn. Oh yeah, and when he was 11, he invents a pair of ‘swim fins’ for his hands. Like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. There’s no point to that one, I just wanted to throw it out there.
Ok ok, so he starts apprenticing to be a printer with his older brother James in 1718, at age 12 which was a little old, but whatever. His brother probably saw his swim fins and thought, “This kid’s legit.” When he’s there, Ben starts writing all these wittyass letters to the editor in the guise of Mrs. Silence Dogood. It’s weird, because they really do sound like a middle aged woman, and Ben was like 15, but being able to successfully convince people you’re someone else has long been considered a mark of genius.
Now printing would seem to have been the gateway drug to the biddies for Ben, And though my sources differ on why he left Boston (Whether it was because his brother was arrested for publishing some nasty nasty shit about the Brits, or he ran away from the apprenticeship first), but what matters is that he’s technically a fugitive and goes to Philadelphia to start his own press. He takes lodgings with John Read, who’s daughter Deborah was pretty fly, so Ben, at the tender age of 17 starts to try and put a ring on it. But Debby ain’t havin’ that shit, and Ben’s dad denies him the cash money he needs to start up his own print shop, so with these heavy blows, our horny teenage hero sails across the sea to Britannia seeking employment and a respite from all his teen angst.
Oops, so it turns out that the Governor of PA, William Keith, who sounds like a real great fucking guy, and who was all like “Yeah Ben, I’ll totes give you a lot of money on good faith to use in England to buy printing equipment,” never actually gave Franklin any green, so he was stuck in London.
Yeah, and then, hey, Debs gets hitched while he’s gone. Whadayaknow! While across the pond however, you gotta figure Ben took out his anger and sexual frustration, as all good men do, on prostitutes. And thanks to My Strange Addiction, we all know once you develop a taste for something, you can never get enough. In 1726 he goes back to Philly and soon checks two things off his bucket list: starts America’s library system and has an illegitimate child.
It actually took Ben a while to acknowledge that William, the gentlemanbaby, was actually his. But by the time William was an adult, besically everybody knew he was Ben’s bastard child. But whatevs, to stick by the kid is fine if he’s in fact a really great guy right? False, he sucked. William Franklin was a Loyalist and a real stick-in-the-mud about all things chill, like getting the British hands out of our proverbial pockets and out of our methaphorical shit.
During this time he was employed by a printer named Keimer, and theirs was a stormy relationship considering he kept firing Ben. But the kid was just so darn good at his job that he would always rehire the sonovagun, and Ben was eventually elected ‘Official Printer for Pennsylvania.’ Whatever that means. Also, during this time, he’s hangin’ with the first wave of Philly hipsters in a society called the Junto. They talked about art and politics and literature and poor people and other things most people talk about. So kicks are going pretty ok: he’s go a job, he’s got his bros, he’s got some hos; he’s a 20something with the world as his oyster. BUT HOLD UP BITCHES. Guess who comes back into his life? That’s right. Deborah Rogers, nee Read. Turns out her husband got in a lotta debt, stole a slave (what??) and her dowry and hightailed it to Barbados. Without Deb.
I can hear Franklin open the door, sigh and unbutton his britches even now.
They get a ‘common-law-marriage,’ which basically means a ‘fake marriage.’ It’s like how I could say I was Bob Dylan’s common-law-wife, but he’s just away touring. Doesn’t mean anyone’s going to believe me. They started living together in 1730, along with William, who Ben finally recognized, and soon had a son. He died four years later, and they didn’t have another child until 1743. Either because the devastation of losing a child, even in a time when death before age 10 was incredibly common, caused multiple issues of physical and emotional intimacy in their marriage, or because he kept boning hookers.
Think about it. He may have love Deborah, but she seems like kind of a drag in her later years, considering she was afraid of the ocean and didn’t want to come with him on his multiple and extended ambassadorial trips to Europe. It’s easy enough to take off a wedding ring before you walk into that room filled with comely French woman. It’s even easier to take off a fake one. Now we have no way for sure of knowing with how many women Franklin carried on with, and while one of his ’13 Virtues’ was Chastity: “Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace of reputation,” he wrote that mantra before he had an illegitimate child, set up with a bangmaid, and may or may not have contracted syphilis.
FACT: Ben didn’t die from a venereal disease, and there is no scholarly evidence to support that he didn’t have it, but, if he did, he most likely contracted one in France during the later half of his life spent in the French court, and so the overt symptoms such as insanity wouldn’t have presented themselves en force by the time he died. He did however, have at least two documented French amours, Madames Brillon and Helvetius, the latter to whom he proposed marriage in 1780 after Deborah died.
Also, Madame Helvetius had 18 cats. Just thought you should know.
To tell the truth, I know you’re confused. We all want to think of him as great you know? A founder of our country, a brilliant and socially aware model citizen, and he does a lot to convince us that his younger, wilder days were just a blip on the radar of an otherwise moral life (Plus, in my mind he sounds like Walter Cronkite, the greatuncle with the velvet voice and soothing colloquial wisdom I wish I had.). It’s hard to judge Ben’s mindset on the matter of sexual promiscuity, because like I said, he did not conveniently leave behind a laundry list of slampieces. It was clearly something that he thought about extensively though, and for my final argument that Benjamin Franklin was the greatest horndog of the Colonial Period, I present, ‘Advice Concerning Sexual Affairs.’ Ben does his best to help a brother out with all those unChristian urges he seems to be experiencing, and solidifies a reputation for layin’ honeydips more solid than Springsteen’s Jersey fanbase. I thus provide a lengthy excerpt:
“June 25, 1745. My dear Friend, I know of no Medicine fit to diminish the violent natural Inclinations you mention; and if I did, I think I should not communicate it to you. Marriage is the proper Remedy… But if you will not take this Counsel, and persist in thinking a Commerce with the Sex inevitable, then I repeat my former Advice, that in all your Amours you should prefer old Women to young ones. You call this a Paradox, and demand my Reasons. They are these: …
(Number 1 is some shit about them being wiser and better conversation. Whatever.)
2. Because when Women cease to be handsome, the study to be good. To maintain their Influence over Men, they supply the Dimunition of Beauty by the Augmentation of Utility. They learn to do 1000 Services small and great, and are the most tender and useful of all Friends…
3. Because there is no hazard of Children, which irregularly produc’d may be attended with much Inconvenience.
4. Because thro’ more Experience, they are more prudent and discreet in conducting and Intrigue to prevent Suspicion. The Commerce with them is therefore safer with regard to your Reputation. And with regard to theirs, if the Affair should happen to be known, considerate People might be rather inclin’d to excuse an old Woman who would kindly take care of a young Man, form his Manners by her good Counsels, and prevent his ruining his Health and Fortune among mercenary Prostitutes.
5. Because in every animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: the Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts continuing to the last as plump as ever: So that covering all above with a Basket, and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an Old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement. (what??? motherfucker’s gonna put a BASKET on her head????)
6. Because the Sin is less. The debauching of a Virgin may be her Ruin, and make her for Life unhappy.
7. Because the Compunction is less. The having made a young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections; none of which can attend the making an old Woman happy.
8. They are so grateful!! (I swear to Christ I did not add that second exclamation point.)
Yup. There’s not much else to say.
So let’s hear it all for Benjamin Franklin: Founding Father. Life-Long Lover. All-Around Tite Bitch.
You know what’s funny? Three of the seven official founding fathers never fathered anything. Well, anything literal, I mean. They fathered plenty of figurative things. Modern representative democracy, for example. But there were no baby John Jays, no Washington juniors, and most relevant to this story, no Johnny Madisons. Did these men have a HARD time getting it up? Were they secretly gay and not boning their wives/slaves/prostitutes like their contemporaries? Or were they too busy LAYING the foundations of America to do any boning? Frankly, I would love to make up answers for these questions and pass them off as fact. But instead I’ll tell you something true. So hold on to your powdered wig, pull up your colonial trousers, and read the fuck on, bitches cuz imma get all early American scandalous on yo asses.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. James Madison. Wrote the Federalist Papers. Wrote the Bill of Rights. Was President numero quattro (BOOM, that’s Italian). This is important. These things are good enough. He’s a fan-fucking-tastic American and he had a wife named Dolly which is adorable. We’re into it. Case closed. Well guess what, fuckers. James Madison was ALSO a world-class stepdad to a first-class douche-nozzle of a stepson. Put that in your corn cob pipe and smoke it! So even though he didn’t procreate because he was too busy building the impeccable foundation upon which our country was built, he managed to be a stepdad to the most scandalous stepson of early America. Let’s contextualize, shall we?
First, let’s start with the scandal that was the marriage of James Madison and Dolly Todd. Dolly had been married before and widowed. She had two sons, but her youngest son and her husband went all Oregon Trail on everyone’s asses and died of yellow fever. Then Dolly met James in 1794. AND GUESS THE FUCK WHO INTRODUCED THEM. AARON FUCKING BURR IS WHO. That’s right. The asshole of the week. Aaron goddam-killed-Alexander-Hamilton-in-a-duel Burr introduced Dolly and James. I guess he wasn’t good for nothing. (Kind of.) Dolly, a follower of William Penn, was kicked out of the Society of Friends for marrying a non-Quaker, which was kind of BFD then. Because Quakers are fucking nice. It takes a lot to ruffle their feathers, you know? But she did it by promising her cooch to a non-believer. But it turned out to be okay for her, because she made a name for herself in Philadelphia society for being such a fashionista. But she couldn’t have been so fabulous unless she was a non-Quaker, so good for her.
James, like the founding father he was, adopted Dolly’s good-for-nothing son. According to Wikipedia, John Payne Todd was a “habitual shooter.” I find this hilarious because I imagine a teenager with an earring and a stupid Hot Topic T-shirt running around a newly-American Philadelphia with a little pistol who just can’t stop firing his gun at pigeons. (Kind of Madison’s fault due to the whole Right to Bear Arms thing that he sort of wrote down. Just saying.) Anyway, he got arrested a lot and then his stepdad, the fourth goddam president of the United fucking States, had to head down to the ol’ jailhouse and bail him out! Stepdad #1 tried to teach his douche head of a stepson a lesson by sending him on official business to Europe. (Really, Mr. President? Europe is where prostitution and drinking happens. Read any ex-pat book from the 1920s. Jeez.) But SHOCKER, John Payne gets himself into a shit ton of trouble, shooting people and pickling his liver and sleeping with “low women.” After Madison died, he continued to cause his poor, twice-widowed mother financial trouble by getting arrested, boning lots of bitches, gambling, shooting more people, and burying himself under a mountain of debt.
So…maybe my main man, Madison, didn’t make too much of a positive impact on his asshole of a stepson, but there’s really only so much you can do when your stepson is a younger, more colonial version of Charlie Sheen, you know? I think he did a great job considering. And he made a really big impact on America, which is also important, I guess.
On that note, Happy (Step)Father’s Day, James Madison. I’m sorry that your stepson sucked. But if he had been better behaved, you probably wouldn’t have made it into our awesome blog. You win some, you lose some, you know? I’d take what I can get if I were you, all right?
As with Henry VIII week, I humbly accept the honor of bringing you the first installment of our latest theme week. And by that I mean I just sort of forcefully insisted that I write the first post. Because listen, we’re here to honor our dads in the most roundabout way possible: by honoring America’s dads. And eleven score and fifteen years ago, our Founding Fathers, much like me in my quest to write this post, “forcefully insisted” that Britain suck it. Someone should make a movie musical about it, no?
I don’t want to have too much of a PREAMBLE here in this INAUGURAL post (HAHAHAH presidential humor’s the BEST), but I know you’ve got some questions.
Auntie MRG, who will your post be about? Which glorious founder of our dear nation have you chosen to honor by recounting their debauchery? Wait, wait, don’t tell me….it’s Jefferson, isn’t it! That guy and his poor ethical choices! No? Really? Okay, uhhhhhhh……I guess Ben Franklin had syphilis?
NO, you guys! I mean, yes, TJ and dear sweet Ben are the most high profile colonial deviants, but today I’m writing about everyone’s favorite Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton!!!!!!!!!!1
I get it. I know. You’re having trouble remembering (or pretending you remember) who that is. Here’s a hint: Pull out your wallet. Take out the smallest bill you can use to get two beers at a bar where you don’t stick to the floor and/or drink out of plastic cups. If you’re clutching a ten spot in your little paw, you’re holding a mini portrait of young Alex. Familiar yet? Aside from the money, I think I only knew he existed because:
1) I’ve seen (and will refer to) this roughly 3294 times.
2) My dad used to be a high school history teacher and dinner talk often landed on important historical figures, always American, always male. He bought me a Presidents of the United States placemat that I used for years. I’m more convinced every day that Ron Swanson and my dad share DNA.
3) I’m just going to say it. Alex was a TOTAL DREAMBOAT. Like, truly hot. Pull out your ten again and look at those wise, kind eyes. He could lay duties on my imports, if you know what I’m saying. (I don’t know what I’m saying, please tell me?)
You may also be familiar with Al because he was killed by Aaron Burr, one of history’s greatest asshats (second only to Andrew Jackson, but that’s another story) in a duel. This story of scandal happened before that, but if you’d like some light shed on that little (actually really, truly consequential in terms of the political structure of the early constitutional government, but who gives a shit) historical event, look here and here.
Okay darlings, that’s plenty of context. Here’s what (or WHO) went down.
So dear Alex, total stud that he was, was married to a li’l hottie named Elizabeth who was a member of the richest family in New York. This was a sweet deal for Al, who was a bastard child who grew up in the Carribbean and somehow went from orphan zero to money-controlling hero. And with great power comes great fuckability, so Al did what any male politician, ever would do: he starting banging someone who wasn’t Mrs. Hamilton.
It’s 1791, and Alex is in Philly doing some important shit, who really cares, when this 23-year-old slampiece approaches him (which is a BIG BIG BFD in the eighteenth century, lovelies) and says, “OMIGOD good sir, like my husband just abandoned me and my daughter and I really need to get to New York and I don’t have any doubloons left and I’m like really scared because this city smells and people keep throwing batteries at me and I just wanna go home!” And Al was like “Hey bitch, shh, you’re hot. I got this.” And he was so concerned (turned on) about her safety (by her big boobs) that he decided that he just HAD to hand-deliver the carriage fare to her that night. I think we all know that Big A got his D a little W that night.
Later, Al said, “I took the bill out of my pocket and gave it to her — Some conversation ensued from which it was quickly apparent that something other than pecuniary consolation would be acceptable.”
“Something other than pecuniary consolation?” I’ve never heard a euphemism so delicious.
Anyway, the lady’s name was Maria Reynolds (first name pronounced like this, not like this), and she and Al boned for the next three years. Maria’s husband James knew about it, too. And he wasn’t an asshole. He knew that letting his lady get some from a very powerful government official could have some nice effects for his own career. So he just sort of let it happen. Also, Al was paying Mr. Reynolds for the privlege of sleeping with Maria. Isn’t familial prostitution HILARIOUS??!?!
Then the shit hit the fan. James Reynolds was the post-revolutionary version of a conman, and during the late 1790s, he got himself involved in a couple jobs that went wrong and would make a prominent politician look pretty fucking bad if they were involved. And in order to save his ass, he implicated ol’ Hammie, knowing that he could blackmail his wife’s lovah if he refused by turning their love letters over to James Monroe, who was the Congressional investigator of the case (and one of the most underrated Presidents, which I only know because I made a PowerPoint about him in AP US History).
But Al, smarty pants that he was, was like, “Yeah, James Monroe, I’ve been bangin this bitch for three years. She’s hot. Here are our letters. They’re hot too. Come at me.” The letters cleared Hammie’s name of the con, but James Monroe was BFFz with a tall-glass-of-water redhead named Thomas Jefferson who fucking HATED Alexander Hamilton. Like HATED. Monroe blabbed about the affair to TJ, who promptly spread all kinds of nasty nasty rumors about Al’s private life. This all CLIMAXED (lolz sex haha) in 1797, when some bitchass printer decided he was bored and that he should print a pamphlet containing all of Al and Maria’s love letters. Interestingly, this same printer also spread news of TJ’s affair with Sally Hemmings. You might have heard of it, I don’t know maybe not it’s not like boning one of your slaves was a big deal and certainly not having six illegitimate children with her I mean REALLY. Anyway, someone needed to slap that printer in the face, hard. Or get him a copy of any episode of any season of any series in the Real Housewives franchise, because this guy was STARVED for drama.
ALMOST FORGOT TO TELL YOU!!! A year prior to this shitstorm, Maria had divorced her husband (good for you, sister, he was a motherfucker), AND GUESS FUCKING WHO HER LAWYER WAS. GUESS. GUESS. DID YOU GUESS?
Happy father’s day, dads. Iloveyouimmamissyou.
Good afternoon dedicated readers. It’s that time again: theme week! I know, you’re saying to yourself, “But they just did once of those!” Well, if we’re being honest, it’s because theme weeks are the most popular statistically speaking, since they concern scandals and characters that people have actually heard of. I mean, who’s ever heard of Seretse Khama, Bill Lancaster or some dude named Walt Whitman?? Come on, no one’s gonna google search that shit.
But anyway, get ready for some pater familius fun, because in honor of that great, fake holiday, ‘Father’s Day,’ we’re delving deep into the highly scandalous lives of the original Wolf Pack—The Founding Fathers.
Well now you’re saying “Why didn’t they do this for Mother’s Day too? The Founding Mothers were just as important to the creation of this great country!” And to reply, we answer that, we here at for shame! deal in the sort of mild bigotry one might find at a middle-school band concert, in which the predominantly white, suburban kids play some sort of “ethnic” piece, such as dummed-down versions of traditional ‘Persian’ or ‘Oriental’ folk songs. Is it racist? Yes. But are they trying their darndest to be multicultural? Yup, they sure are.
To borrow a phrase from my freshman race and gender theory class, our “recreation and perpetuation of structures of domination” is not meant to harm, merely amuse in a way that assuages your own cultural guilt. We’re here to give you the sexy, sexy dirt on all the greatest hits of your intro to American Gov. class. Jefferson! Franklin! Hancock (too easy)!
Yes, they’re all dead white guys, but it was 18th century America. Use that liberal-arts degree and the inherently inflated sense of self-righteous indignation that came with it and view this snippet of Americana the way we’re meant to watch Mad Men: with the less than whole-hearted sentiment of “Oh yeah, we’ve come a long way since then!” So whip out the following week’s worth of facts dear readers, at parties populated with your ‘less aware’ friends, or preferably at the dinner table over some summer salad, with your beloved and conservative parents. After all, it is to them that we dedicate our following endevours.