Hello Scandalites! It’s back to school time, and in honor of all the wee baby scandal-lovers that are headed, freshfaced, off to another year of
equality-promoting peace-mongering liberal bullshit indoctrination higher education, For Shame! brings you a theme week close to our collective hearts: Siblings Week.
LH and MR are not the only historically minded gossip hounds in the respective B and G families, no, no! We’ve got raunchy tales of debauchery, told in the blog’s trademark (charmingly) foul tongue, and served hot and salacious by the native brilliance of REB and AMG. Their posts won’t necessarily be about scandalous bloodlines, but trust us when we say that the our fascination with ye-olde p-in-v is clearly genetic.
Unfortunately, KAB’s siblings are, in her words, “lame,” and will not be participating unless there’s some kind of 11th hour sports movie miracle. But, we love her anyway, so we’re not too put out. And I, JAF, have been tasked to introduce this exciting new foray into having other people write posts for us, because sadly I was destined to tread the paths of this earth in fraternal exile, carrying on the legacy of the great House of F solely upon mine well-developed shoulders. Either that, or I resorbed all my potential siblings in the womb, we may never know.
So, as a bit of an appeteaser for the week (and, in vain personal honor of my recently completed master’s dissertation on “The Medieval Ages”), I’ve got a mini post about the all kinds of fucked that Charlemagne’s 18 kids were.
Now, Charlemagne himself was a pretty scandalicious slab of man meat. He was shredded like lettuce, over six feet tall, with soul-piercing blue eyes, and a luscious ginger mane and a magical mustache that just begged to give rides. He was generous with his cashmoney, his kingdom essentially created the French and German empires, his patronage of the arts created a cultural renaissance, and he loved to partay, but disliked drunkenness (because he had class, bitchez). He had four and a half wives (one was annulled, but whatever, they totally boned), five known concubines, and probably like a bazillion other pieces on the side, because, come on, he’s the most powerful man in Christendom and he looks like a Ken doll. What wench in her right girlbrains isn’t gonna try and get into those hose, amirite?
Via these prime lays, Charlie, in his seventy odd years in this mortal coil, sired a slew of progeny: 11 ladybabies, and 7 normies (boys). He was exceedingly devoted to all of his children, legitimate and otherwise. They willingly traveled with him nearly everywhere he went, including military campaigns, and were uniformly highly educated in The Seven Liberal Arts. These, thankfully, have evolved from the totes blahh originals of “Grammar, Rhetoric, Dialectic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy, and Music,” to “BuzzFeed, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Intro Psych.”
His sons populated the governmental and clerical hierarchy of early medieval Europe (proving the old maxim that kids are “cheaper by the dozen and a half when made for dynastic purposes”), but his daughters were essentially left to their own devices….which was fucking.
There was a reason ol’ Charles was in charge, and he foresaw that if his daughters legally attached their ladybits to corresponding men, he’d have more sons-in-law than you could shake a crosier at, grabbing for a piece of his Holy Roman EmPIEre (DOYOUSEEWHATIDIDTHERE????). So, they were allowed to carry on as many relationships as they wanted, but they could never marry. No forced marriages, no political arrangements were ever made. His daughters’ common-law husbands were even rewarded with places in court (one was actually canonized), and Charles reportedly “loved the shit out of” the buttloads of illegitimate grandchildren which were produced, BECAUSE MAYBE HE TOTALLY WANTED HIS DAUGHTERS TO BE HAPPY LIKE MAYBE JUST A LITTLE I DON’T KNOW EMOTIONS AND STUFF.
Anyway, this fairy tale called eighth-century France ends when Charlemagne dies in 814 and his son, Louis the
Wetblanket Pious, takes over and locks up his sisters who haven’t entered the monastic life for being slorebags.
So that’s my fast n’ nasty introduction to Sibling Week—stay tuned for more scandal de la familia!*
PRE-POST NOTE: MRG here. This here is the third installment of MAN, I FEEL LIKE A WOMAN, coming to you a smidge late because of various WordPress/life issues. DON’T BE MAD. This is a gem, mined, cut, and polished by LHB’s dear college pal and my on-again, off-again Facebook-official accomplice in complicated love, JRE. It’s complicated. But crazy adulterous composer heartthrob sex isn’t, so read on! Plus JRE fucking used Photoshop and made ORIGINAL graphics for your viewing pleasure, making us look shitty, so go fucking enjoy those, or whatever. JK LOVE YOU BOO.
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WELCOME TO THE NEXT EPISODE OF DUDE WEEK!!! We started you off telling you how togas are GREAT for easy access, and then we told you about how DUDES RULE AT BEING GAY, and now I’m going to tell you all about how MOUTHWATERINGLY STRAIGHT WE CAN BE (warning: each word will take you to a different region of THE RAINBOW OF LUST… the foil to the BeyonceBow).
Despite the latter half of the title, F**K Bach–this post is about FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886)–a WELL off HUNGarian composer of the 19th century, and the very burning image of straightness. Well. It’s a toss-up between Liszt and Chick-Fil-A, but you get the point. As Dude Week should go, this is a feel-good tale, a man’s man‘s tale, the tale of a man who could chop(in) wood with his bare hand(els), soothe women with his piano fingerings, and cry strips of crispy bacon to feed the orphans.
In his prime, Liszt was on every honey’s bone-list. It went too far. Yes, in today’s world we all know about Bieber-Fever or Jonathan-Taylor-Thomas-Typhoid, but things take on a new flavor when women are willing to wear the sex-icon-in-question’s cigar stump as a locket (for a review of sex icons, see Figure 1). The man had so many demands for locks of hair that he had to shave a dog for proxy hair. I would do strange things for the attention of JTT, but that kind of sh*t will get you imprisoned these days. Suffice it to say, Liszt’s tunes could de-pants a lass or lad in under 5 measures. This is probably why snap pants became a necessary invention. People’s reactions went to the extreme of appearing sickly and feverish. A lady-physician of the day described its root as a combination of:
“…magnetism, galvanism, electricity, of the contagion of the close hall filled with countless wax lights and several hundred perfumed and prespiring human beings, of historical epilepsy, of the phenomenon of tickling, of musical cantherides, and other scabrous things, which, I believe have reference to the mysteries of the bona dea.”
Serious Hogwartz sh*t.
But he had humble beginnings. His early life was essentially the same as Eminem’s, but in Paris. And Liszt had some much weirder sh*t going on. For instance, he joined hipster Christian sects that rejected marriage as a crime against women, and never had a serious, long-term slampiece who wasn’t married. He was sort of the Robin Hood of monogamous sex. The weirdest thing was that the husbands dealt with this for YEARS. One woman he was with for 7 years, and the other–Princess von Sayn-Wittgenstein (we’ll get to her in a minute)–for 14!!! Husbands were way chiller back then. If people were that dispassionate today, quality programming like the Maury show would suddenly disappear. I’m no economist, but I’m sure that would only serve to tear a whole through the last safe haven of America’s economy. Enter the GOPocalypse. Anyways! So Liszt was having sex with EVERYBODY. He was rolling around Paris with his baguette, teaching allll the honeys how to tickle the ivories (amongst other things), and he eventually picked up the 7-year-romance-husband-lady (Marie d’Agout). This was from 1833 to 1841. Liszt wasn’t that popular yet, so Marie was like the Brittany Murphy for our Eminem analogy. But unlike BM, Marie couldn’t deal with the rigors of her man touring, getting all famous. So they decided not to do LDR. As soon as Liszt dropped the baggage, he blew up. This is when the Lisztomania described above came into play.
Refer to Figure 2. At 1847, where it says “Meets Princess von Sayn-Wittgenstein” on the Hisztogram, that’s when Liszt started boning the 14-year-romance-husband-lady. She was married to a Russian military officer, but even he couldn’t touch Liszt because of the whole cigar-necklace aura that surrounded him. Liszt really got into Wittgenstein, forgot his bachelor resolve, and tried to marry her. This did not work, however, for two reasons:
1) Her husband cock-blocked their annulment
2) the Princess found out that Liszt had been having an affair with a former mistress of PRINCE Wittgenstein, and, further, that he had been cheating on the Prince’s ex-mistress with the singer, Emilie Genast!!! THREE LAYERS OF AFFAIRS—-INCEPTION.
So, the Princess was a little skeezed out, and stopped putting out. Liszt understood. But they did stay in touch with Liszt, continually urging him to take up abstinence to get back into divine favor. They clearly weren’t right for each other. Liszt loved sex. By this point, however, Liszt was an old man, not getting any, and probably serving as a loving home for many sexually transmitted infections. So he just kind of taught music and watched SVU re-runs until he kicked the bucket.
So passes a great man. Let me conclude with some wise man-words from Zephram Cochrane: “Don’t try to be a great man, just be a man, and let history make it’s own judgements.” History judged Liszt as f**king awesome. He was really popular and boned a lot of people. It’s kind of like the Bachelor. Liszt was the original Bachelor. They should make a staged-prequel for next season. No! But anyways, JUST BE A MAN. And remember–THE POWER IS YOURS!
JRE, signing off from the inside of a J. Roget bottle.
PRE-POST NOTE FROM KAB: This post is brought to you by my dear friend EJD, who is not only a hilarious dude, but he is a FUCKING hilarious dude. When the sexy ladies of For Shame! dreamed big with our Dude Week, I immediately thought of EJD (and not just because he’s big, if you know what I mean). We had some technical difficulties with EJD posting on his own, so I am posting for him! But you should know this post is 169% EJD fresh. EAT IT UP!!!
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Alright, For Shame! readers, KAB has asked me to step in and give writing a try, even though it is something I have never really done nor am I trained to do. My true gift is science and mathematics, so if I can somehow work that in (such as a scale of doucheyness) then I have done more to invalidate my engineering degree than ever before.
In my research I wanted something kinky, something naughty, something FILLED with buttsex (to the brim!). Tragically, when I Googled “historical dudes who banged the shit out of other historical dudes”, nothing came up except for Top Gun quotes (“you’ll be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong!”). Also let’s take a moment to appreciate Tom Cruise’s cute little buttin that movie.
Needless to say, I want nothing more than for my article to come up on Google search when someone chooses to Google “historical dudes who banged the shit out of other historical dudes”.
At this point I began to think about you, For Shame! readers. Who are you? What kind of people are you? Oh you’re readers. You must read things. So I began to think of authors. Hemingway? Cliché. Thoreau? Thor-NO (Also: Thor-YES). “Who is a gay old dead historical author?” I Wikied.
I just want to preemptively mention that I:
- am a male
- am a gay male
- have never read/seen anything by Oscar Wilde
- Beyoncé (readers, please note, every letter in her name is clickable. #obsession)
Who better to write about than someone I know NOTHING about?! BRILLIANT! But I took it a step further and decided to write about someone YOU may know nothing about: his lover.
Lord Alfred Bruce Douglas, codename nickname Bosie, was born in the fall of 1870 to John Douglas, the 9th Marquess of Queensberry (What a girly title. More like, Marquess of QUEENSberry, RIGHT? Wait. Did Scottish peerage just make a gay joke?). He was nicknamed Bosie by his friends, who described him as “spoiled, reckless, insolent, and extravagant”. (Doucheyness Level: 5, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now.) In turn, Kelis wrote this song about him.
Alfred Bruce DOUGLAS met Oscar Wilde at the young and ripe age of 21 when he bumped into him as an undergraduate at Oxford. Wilde, a fully established author who was RICH (keep this in mind) befriended Alfie Dougie, the handsome, young, muscley POOR (connection established). Wilde became infatuated with Douglas who was flamboyant and reckless; basically everything Wilde wanted to be but just couldn’t (overbearing parents. We’ve all got them. Even old dead gay poets. Parental Doucheyness Level: 10.)
Douglas casually introduced Wilde to homosexuality. Okay not causally, he literally DRAGGED Wilde into the Victorian underground SEX DUNGEONS of gay prostitution. (Okay I Googled “Victorian Gay Sex Dungeons” and singer-songwriter Brandy came up. I’m really losing faith in Google at this point. Google Doucheyness: Yes.) This was a win-win for Douglas because he had a new rich consistent slampiece who could buy him alllllll the gay buttsex he could ever ask for. (Doucheyness Level: 7, ya little golddigger.) Meanwhile, Wilde “meet the boy, offer him gifts, dine him privately and then take him to a hotel room.” What a respectable way to bang the shit out of a prostitute. Snaps to you, Wilde, you hopeless romantic.
But here’s where it starts to get ugly. Bosie just wanted to spend his (well, Wilde’s) money on men and gambling and Wilde wanted to boss Bosie around but Bosie just wanted to be Wilde and young and free and refused to be bossed around by Wilde who was bossing Bosie for being Wilde CAN I GET AN AMEN? The two frequently broke up and got back together, like a normal college romance, except Wilde is WAYYY old at this point. So slutty student-eager teacher kinda porno.
For some reason, Douglas was the editor for The Spirit Lamp, the Oxford magazine, and Wilde asked Douglas to translate his play Salome into English. Douglas was fairly uneducated, a.k.a. he had shitty French. So basically Wilde was just fucking him for his looks. He was like a Segway – fun to ride, but you wouldn’t want to be caught with one by your rich and well educated peers (I’m looking at you, Raven Symone. That is so NOT raven). Anyway, Douglas went along and poorly translated “One should only look in mirrors” to “One must NEVER look in mirrors” (FRENCH CONJUGATION IS HARD, non?). When questioned, Douglas said Wilde’s play was at fault, not him (Doucheyness Level: 10). This pissed Wilde off SO much that he broke up with him, then proceeded to exchange angry messages VIA HIS PUBLISHER AND ILLUSTRATOR. Typical “Could you tell Douglas that he sucks like a Hoover?” “Well you tell Oscar that he smells like my codpiece!” (Can we bring codpieces back into fashion? Like seriously, they’re great. They scream LOOK AT MY PACKAGE LOOK AT MY PACKAGE LADIEEEESSSSSS or in Oscar’s case DUUUUDEEESSS.) This became so extreme that the illustrator went on the record saying:
“For one week the numbers of telegraph and messenger boys who came to the door was simply scandalous.”
SIMPLY SCANDALOUS! My word. I’ve picked the perfect topic.
Then once, Douglas got sick with the flu, and Wilde nursed him back to health. When Wilde got sick, Douglas didn’t show up. (Doucheyness Level: 16). He instead moved to a hotel and, on Wilde’s 40th birthday, sent him the bill. (Doucheyness Level: 100). He also gave his clothes to the prostitutes he was fucking but forgot to take the sexy letters (Victorian sexting) Wilde had written him out of his pockets! (Doucheyness Level: You are a douche.)
Meanwhile, in Scotland, Daddy Queensberry (remember him?) was getting fed up with his gay son’s doucheyness, so he embarked on a campaign to publicly persecute Oscar Wilde. He even tried (unsuccessfully) to throw rotten veggies at Wilde during the premiere of The Importance of Being Earnest. Desperate to show him how mad he was, he left a little calling card that read “For Oscar Wilde, Posing as Sodomite”.
STUPIDLY, Wilde decided it was a good idea to take Daddy Queensberry to trial for libel, which was stupid because Oscar Wilde was ludicrously guilty of sodomy (which at the time was criminally criminal, which makes me feel sad for gay Victorians. A moment of silence.). Queensberry submitted like a BILLION sexy letters as evidence and found a bunch of prostitutes that Wilde had put his Victorian dong into who were willing to testify. Wilde admitted defeat and dropped the trial.
Going ahead to the following morning, Wilde was arrested for sodomy. WAY TO GO, OSCAR.
Douglas had written a poem 3 years before in 1892 called Two Loves which has a famous line identifying homosexuality that reads “the love that dare not speak its name.” Wilde apparently gave a counterproductive explanation of the poem on the witness stand that was apparently SO confusing that the trial resulted in a hung jury (Lolololol HUNG LIKE A PENIS).
Tragically, the prosecutor reopened the case, and Wilde was found guilty and forced into 2 years hard labor in May of 1895. Douglas was exiled.
In 1897, the two reportedly reunited in Rouen, Normandy, but only remained together for a few months. Wilde died in 1900 and Douglas decided he was done fuckin’ dudes and wanted to fuck bitches, so he married some heiress named Olive Eleanor Custance and popped out a baby in 1902. This child apparently went crazy, was diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder, and died alone in a mental hospital. Karma’s a bitch, Bosie.
Douglas then proceeded to shit all over Wilde and condemned homosexuality. He was a witness for quite a few libel trials, one of which condemned Wilde’s old publisher as being part of “a homosexual conspiracy to undermine the war effort.” Of course? He also referred to this ugly ass lady as “bound with lesbian fillets.” …What does that even mean? Then he called Wilde “the greatest force for evil that has ever appeared in Europe during the last 350 years” and called Salome “a most pernicious and abominable piece of work.” (Doucheyness Level: ÜberDouche)
Somehow in 1923, Douglas got accused of libeling Winston Churchill, of all people, and was sentenced to 6 months in prison. At this time, he softened up and wrote a book called Oscar Wilde: A Summing Up. He said “sometimes a sin is also a crime (for example, a murder or theft) but this is not the case with homosexuality, any more than with adultery”. Douglas from this point on basically just got kinda old and died in 1945.
So I guess the moral of this story is that if you’re old, rich, and gay, DON’T fuck a crazy hot sexy college boy NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO. He will spend all of your money and publically call you a queer and get away with it.
And one last time for good measure, historical dudes who banged the shit out of other historical dudes. See you next time, Google.
[Ed. note: In case you missed our totally hilarious and charming introduction to MAN, I FEEL LIKE A WOMAN: Dude Week that was posted yesterday, this here is our first installment by JAF’s pal PF. Enjoy, buttons! And look forward to THREE MORE dudeposts this week!]
Premised on the notion that the pleasures of the flesh are corrosive and ultimately fatal, the concept of “decadence” imbues sex, drugs and even certain types of violence with an intoxicating gothic aura they would otherwise lack. Puritan scolds, whether Victorian or Leninist, have been unwise to use this most attractive of words as a slur. Indeed, there is no better way to make something irresistible than to insist that it is evil, sinful, or wrong; better yet, that it is in fact the first step on the path of a slow, majestic decline. For when we embrace decadence, we stare death in face and laugh, and who but the most timid does not wish to mock death, and confront that most cosmic of outrages with transcendental ambivalence?
At least Gaius Petronius Arbiter, the subject of this post, seems to have felt this way. He was the most fabulous member of the imperial court of Nero, and the story of how he lived while Rome literally burned makes the Rolling Stones look, in the words of Charlie Sheen, like “droopy eyed armless children.” If there is heroism in indulgence, and for the purposes of this blog post there is, then Petronius is like the Superman of dandies, a man who gleefully celebrated the vanity of an age that was bringing civilization to the brink of collapse. Or no, Superman wouldn’t do that, he is a clean living dork. Petronius is more like Iron Man, or…this is a more difficult metaphor than I expected. He is probably Aquaman because of his (presumable) enthusiasm for skin-tight, sequined outfits.
Not much is known of Petronius’s early life among the writers of his Wikipedia entry. From Tacitus, Plutarch, and Pliny the Elder we learn that Petronius was the elegantiae arbiter, or arbiter of elegance in the court of Nero, the infamous last emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Basically, this means that he was Nero’s foremost fashion adviser and party planner. As a lifelong member of the 1%, Petronius lived a life totally devoted to debauched fabulosity, and in this regard he was second to none. Like Dorian Gray, the name of Petronius was known throughout Rome as a synonym for the relentless pursuit of hedonistic excess. Tacitus describes him best:
He spent his days in sleep, his nights in attending to his official duties or in amusement, that by his dissolute life he had become as famous as other men by a life of energy, and that he was regarded as no ordinary profligate, but as an accomplished voluptuary. His reckless freedom of speech, being regarded as frankness, procured him popularity. Yet during his provincial government, and later when he held the office of consul, he had shown vigor and capacity for affairs. Afterwards returning to his life of vicious indulgence, he became one of the chosen circle of Nero’s intimates, and was looked upon as an absolute authority on questions of taste in connection with the science of luxurious living.
When I die, I can only hope that someone describes me as an “accomplished voluptuary” or a man of “vicious indulgence,” but I think my tombstone is more likely to read something much less glamorous, like “Guest Blogger.”
Today, Petronius is probably best known for writing the Satyricon, a work that captures the world in which he lived in all its decadent glory. While officially a satire, Satyricon is not a (lame, boring) condemnation of a ‘corrupt’ or ‘fallen’ world but rather a humorous, amoral presentation of a specific time and place that makes no claim to moral authority. In this it is like Seinfeld. If Petronius condemns anything in this sprawling work, it is the bad taste of the nouveau rich. For him, an ugly dress is much less forgivable than, say, his employer’s decision to burn down half of Rome to make way for an enormous palace. The most famous character in Satyricon is a guy named Trimalchio, a self-made millionaire (n.b. I didn’t know this was possible in Ancient Rome) who is famous for throwing dinner parties that feature elaborate, impractical dishes, most of which involve live birds. One chapter finds an impatient Trimalchio hosting the elaborate funeral he planned for himself prematurely — as in, before his death — with his party guests performing all the necessary rites for the purpose of his own entertainment. (Remember what I said earlier about decadence being the ability to laugh in the face of death? No? That’s fine, don’t worry about it. Sorry I brought it up again.)
Trimalchio’s dinner is not the only notable part of Satyricon. Much like college, this book involves SEX in addition to roasted pigs stuffed with live birds. In a memorable section, the protagonist Encolpios and some of his ‘homies’ — to borrow the terminology used in the most recent translation — are kidnapped and sexually ‘tortured’ by a foxy lady named Quartilla and her maidservants after they are caught prying into the secrets of an ancient cult, or something. (n.b. I have never actually read this book.) Anyway, the torture quickly evolves into something more consensual, and the chapter ends with Encolpios making out with Quartilla as both of them spy on Encolpios’s friend through a keyhole as he ‘plows’ a ‘virgin’ ‘field.’ (This is a metaphor)
As with most things, though, the truth about Petronius is even CRAZIER than the fiction he wrote, and the story of the last days of his life is more glamorous than that of any heroin addicted rock star. Like all wealthy, important, and fashionable men, Petronius eventually attracted his share of haters. This problem was magnified by Petronius’s refusal to flatter his superiors, as his penchant for candidness earned him many powerful enemies. One of these, a guy named Tigellinus who served as commander of the emperor’s guard and probably hated fun, was somehow able to successfully accuse Petronius of treason. Rather than sit around waiting to be executed, Petronius decided to take matters into his own hands and, at a lavish party surrounded by his friends, committed the most elegant, non-melodramatic suicide in history. Again I return to Tacitus for an authoritative description of this most fabulous of deaths:
Yet he did not fling away life with precipitate haste, but having made an incision in his veins and then, according to his humour, bound them up, he again opened them, while he conversed with his friends, not in a serious strain or on topics that might win for him the glory of courage. And he listened to them as they repeated, not thoughts on the immortality of the soul or on the theories of philosophers, but light poetry and playful verses. To some of his slaves he gave liberal presents, a flogging to others. He dined, indulged himself in sleep, that death, though forced on him, might have a natural appearance. Even in his will he did not, as did many in their last moments, flatter Nero or Tigellinus or any other of the men in power. On the contrary, he described fully the prince’s shameful excesses, with the names of his male and female companions and their novelties in debauchery, and sent the account under seal to Nero. Then he broke his signet-ring, that it might not be subsequently available for imperiling others.
I don’t quite understand how flogging servants fits into this scene, or why “many” would choose to flatter their bosses “in their last moments” as Tacitus suggests, but otherwise this is an extremely memorable and, dare I say, beautiful passage. Like Steve Irwin, Petronius died as he lived, in his case on a velvet divan engaged in idle and catty gossip about the leaders of Rome. In my personal image of the scene, a naked young man is feeding him grapes. Also, in my mind, Petronius looks exactly like Sir Elton John.
After the death of his arbiter of elegance, Nero was absolutely lost. Try as he did, he was never again able to pick out jewelry that was both seasonally appropriate and flattered his complexion and eye color. This caused him to go mad, and the last three years of his reign were marked by the irrational, self-destructive, and tyrannical behavior he is known for today. Satyricon, on the other hand, has grown in reputation since the author’s death. Now considered one of the most innovative and original works of Latin prose, it continues to be read and studied. In 1969, Federico Fellini made a film version of Satyricon that is supposed to be a classic or whatever.
You, our loyal readers, the lifeblood of this little blog, angels on earth, know quite a bit about us by now. You know, for instance, that LHB looks like a koala, JAF loves cinema and gingerhood, I, MRG, watch a lot of shitty British TV on Netflix, and KAB can turn a fucking phrase. You know so much about us, yet you do not know our names. And you never will, because we like the credibility and personal integrity we enjoy as RealHumans (or that I hope to one day enjoy as an AspiringHuman). You know us merely as three letters that may or may not but definitely could correspond with our initials. And that’s all. So here’s something that might shock you.
The “L” in LHB does not stand for Leonard.
The “K” in KAB does not stand for Kareem.
The “J” in JAF does not stand for Joffrey.
And the “M” in MRG certainly does not stand for Marcus (~YET~).
“WHAT?!” you say, incredulously. “But they’re SO GOOD at writing about history that according to my knowledge of all of history and literature and culture at large I simply CANNOT believe that they aren’t men! Surely if they were ladies, their uteri and compromised brain parts would prevent them from learning how to read or write. Surely you jest.”
We do not jest. We never jest. We’re here, we’re good at writing about historical sex, and we’re girls. It’s 2012. GET USED TO IT. (You’re probably already used to it because you’ve known all along that we’re ladies because we refer to ourselves as such, but fucking indulge me, it’s a bit).
But here’s the thing. We ladies have been thinking lately that although we’re really pretty and great at divulging history’s best scandals, our archives don’t offer a holistic view of What History Was Really Like because in History, women couldn’t do anything unrelated to childrearing, cookery, or common handicrafts. Right? Sounds right.
There was some definite gender inequality here at For Shame. And we thought it was only right that we do our best to reverse all three waves of feminism (you’re WELCOME) in our own little way by inviting select men to write for us.
THAT’S RIGHT. Fire up the grill, put on ESPN2, splash on some Aqua Velva, and brace yourself for MAN! I FEEL LIKE A WOMAN: DUDE WEEK AT FOR SHAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
We’ve each enlisted a talented and hirsute male friend to write about their favorite scandal over the next week.
FIRST, JAF’s dear friend PF will thrill you with a tale of sandals, the Satyricon, and suicide TOMORROW, proving once again that those ancients really couldn’t keep it in their tunicae (high school Latin DOING WORK).
NEXT, KAB’s pal ED (not like Ed, but the letters E and D) will follow with an account of everyone’s favorite bon mot machine and perhaps the Biggest Big Victorian Gay, Oscar Wilde. (ED also suggested the title of this theme week when I was panicking, so may Shania bless him in all her wisdom).
THEN, MRG’s beer buddy KP (who once suggested a scandal, if you recall) will weave us a tale of star-crossed lovers – he a German-Murican, she a WASP – and their crazy late nineteenth-century nympho jail sex.
FINALLY, LHB’s dear friend (and MRG’s sometime complicated boyfriend, don’t worry about it, it’s complicated) will regale you with the dulcet symphonic tones and undeniable sexual scandalosity of a one Mr. Franz Lizst.
We have entrusted this little patch of green blogspace and the hearts and minds of you, our sweet readers, to the very capable, manly, and undoubtedly calloused (from chopping wood and hammering things and stuff) hands of our manfriends. May you enjoy the authoritative and slightly deeper narrative voices of the be-testicled.
Ashes to ashes, MENSES TO MEN, dust to dust, amen. Or A-MEN, right?!
Nailed it. VAGINAS OUT.
Apparently that title is a little wordplay on the battle cry from the Chronicles of Narnia (thanks, MRG). I wouldn’t know because I haven’t read or seen it. But that’s not going to stop me from shamelessly exploiting the dark and sexy secrets of its author.
Clive Staples Lewis, whom you know as C.S. Lewis, and whose friends called him Jack (weird story about that, read his Wiki page), was the beloved Irish author of every British kid’s third favorite fantasy/sci-fi children’s literature series, the Chronicles of Narnia. Now, I’ve never read the Chronicles of Narnia, probably because no one ever forced me to, and I thought reading was stupid until my dad read HP1 aloud to my sister and me, BUT Narnia holds a special place in my heart because after the movie came out (which I also neglected to see) a bunch of people came up to me and told me I looked like the older girl in it. And who doesn’t love being mistaken for a milky-skinned celebrity archer?! Since then I decided I love me some Lions, Bitches, and Closets or whatever.
But now that I know C.S. Lewis was a kinky motherfucker (LITERALLY) (not his mother, that would be gross), I like him even more. But not enough to watch those books.
So, Jack has an idyllic Irish childhood for about a decade. Goes without saying that he’s not Catholic. But then when he’s ten his mom dies of cancer, and his father becomes awkward and distant. Parent-issues, you know. Let’s fast forward a few years: there are some shamrocks, rainbows, gold, leprochans, he probably decides he loves reading, writing, making up stories, normal Irish writer’s childhood (Yeats shit right here) whatever, blah blah, then BAM 1914, War in Europe.
He waits three years before enlisting because he’s at Oxford and, you know, fragile. While he was training in 1917, he bunked with this guy named Edward Courtnay Francis “Paddy” Moore. The two pals made a pact that if either of them were killed in the war that other would take care of the dead guy’s family. Paddy died in 1918 on the front like right before the war ended, and C.S. Lewis kept his promise. He took care of Paddy’s family all right. He took care of them real good. And hard. He took care of Paddy’s mom particularly well. He fucked his mom is what I’m saying.
First, though, Jane Moore (no relation to Demi), TWENTY SIX YEARS HIS SENIOR, (although you’d think they were related based on their taste in the Ashtons of their perspective generations), the widowed mother of Paddy Moore, took care of Jack. But literally, I mean she took care of him. He was injured in April of 1918 by an ill-fired British shell and since his Dad was, like, weird and distant, Mama Moore came to visit him in the hospital where she would probably bring him cookies/handies.
After the war, the 21 year old stud set up house with the forty seven year old fox. In 1930, they eventually moved into The Kilns (the name for Jack’s house, because British people love naming houses). Jack would introduce her as his Mother (gross) to friends and told a buddy of his via a letter (what people used before iPhones) that he considered her one of the most important people in his life. Which I guess is really sweet or whatever. They lived there, “taking care of each other,” until the late 40s when Jane started to get sick from, you know, being really fucking old. She moved into a nursing home and suffered from dementia until her death in 1951. Jack visited her every single day. I mean, whatever, that’s sort of perfect and wonderful I guess. It’s Nicholas Sparks shit, for sure. MRG loves that.
For a while there was some wishy washy inconclusiveness among C.S. Lewis’s biographers regarding whether or not Jack was really truly sleepin’ with Mama Moore. But eventually everyone was kind of like, “Yeah, they were doing it.” George Sayer, who knew Lewis for a really long time, at first said that the relationship was just a loving one that came out of Jack’s need for a mother figure. But then a few chapters later, he was like, “Nevermind.” Actually, what he said was…
I have had to alter my opinion of Lewis’s relationship with Mrs. Moore. In chapter eight of this book I wrote that I was uncertain about whether they were lovers. Now after conversations with Mrs. Moore’s daughter, Maureen, and a consideration of the way in which their bedrooms were arranged at The Kilns, I am quite certain that they were.
Doesn’t that make it seem like they had some secret passageway between their rooms or something??? I LIKE IT.
After Jack’s “mom” (lover) (ew, I’m sorry I said that) died, he married this hot and smart divorcee with a couple of kids. She died pretty young and he ended up raising his step sons on his own. So, you know, he was really mean and ugly.
Now we come to the point in the post where we ASSess WHAT WE’VE LEARNED. First of all: I think I can safely say that CS Lewis was a solid dude. He spent his life taking care of people who needed him, first his mom/girlfriend, then his non-children children. And that’s, like, a really nice thing. Especially when during your downtime you’re busy creating our generation (and other generations’) most cherished fantasy series. After Twilight.
Friends, Americans, Countrymen, welcome to For Shame! Ruins Your Childhood: PART DEUX!
A quick preface: This is my first official blog post as the newest addition to the For Shame! historic and scandalous enterprise. I only pray to God & country that I can measure up to my marvelous colleagues. It was an honor to receive an invitation to join the team. What the fuck am I saying. When I found out I basically red, white, and BLUE myself. On that note…
JM Barrie, playwright of the beloved Peter Pan, may have touched the lives of millions of children, but he also may have actually touched children. There is no HARD evidence (get it?) to prove this. I will say that the name of Barrie’s imaginative realm Neverland was used by a certain suspected pedophile for his magical fortress of fondling and nap times.
I’m sorry, was that coming on too strong for you? Maybe you should toss some bourbon in your tea and man the fuck up because
THIS POST HAS JUST BEEN BOSTON TEA PARTY-ED.
That’s all there is to say about Mr. Barrie (except this) and since it is July 4th I’m pretty sure talking extensively about a Brit is considered blasphemy and my forefathers would look down upon me and shout FOR SHAME.
HAPPY FUCKING BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!! So 236 years ago (and you are looking FOINE for your age) your mother dearest (aka MILF) was pushing you out of the womb with a Declaration of Independence. The labor was more or less painful than yours truly pushing this debut blog post out. The pressure!! Whatever. Like declaring independence was hard.
But you know what was hard? Childhood. You know what made childhood easier?
Wonder Balls Children’s books. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, ima let you finish, but you know what was the best children’s book of all time? GOODNIGHT MOON.
Margaret, or “Brownie” to her friends––who were generally cool and rich because she was a babe––grew up in a bit of an unhappy home. Mom and Pop were not happy bunny parents knitting on rocking chairs, but poor Brownie just wanted to be a little happy bunny baby eating porridge with bunny parents that read her bed time stories.
I just need to take a second and say that Brownie a) was considered a creative genius by her contemporaries and b) was so prolific that she had to write under various different pen names, including Golden MacDonald, Juniper Sage, Kaintuck Brown and Timothy Hay, to keep from flooding the market. Amurica’s got talent.
So like the smart Brownie she was, she headed off to college to earn a BA in English. In college she was briefly engaged. You know, shit happens in college. One-night stands, frat-house-basement blowies, marriage proposals.
After that brief engagement turned out to be brief, she dated some unknown “good quiet man from Virginia” for a while. Brownie kept it classy and didn’t want the whole world to know who SHE was saying goodnight to in the bedroom. But with that description I think I have a pretty good idea of who Brownie was boning.
Since that relationship was a little overdone (brownie? baking? whatever) she quickly moved on to William Gaston, a fucking nobody because he WAS NOT the Gaston that no one’s slick as, quick as, fucks like, etc. Ditched that wannabe-French-ass-shit.
Brownie even jumped en el sack-o with THE PRINCE OF SPAIN (the now King Juan Carlos), and I’m sure our little American pastry was having some buenas noches, ifyaknowhatimean.
But I think the real scandal sets in when Brownie sneaks under the covers with Michael Strange, aka Blanche Oelrichs. HOLD UP. You may be asking: Michael or Blanche? Man or woman? That is such a good question to ask of your blog. Now let the blog ask one of you: Does it even matter?
Okay, yes, it does, because it was 1940 and lesbianism was SCANDALOUS and STEAMY. Blanche was a woman who wrote under the pseudonym Michael Strange, and was a poet/playwright/actress/”the most beautiful woman in America”. Other than Lady Liberty. Or Eleanor Roosevelt. Obvs.
Get the low-down on this ho(-down?). Blanche (can I just call her Blondie? Like the white version of a Brownie? okay thanks) first married Leonard Moorhead Thomas, the son of a prominent Philadelphia banker. Then had an affair with the actor John Barrymore, divorced Leonard, and married John. Then she divorced John. Then she married prominent NY attorney Harrison Tweed. And THEN she had an affair with Margaret Wise Brown. (Divorcing Harrison, of course, after the fact).
PHEW I feel like I just shotgunned an ice-cold can of American adultery! FROTHY.
Brownie and Blondie were just friends at first. They read one another’s shit and gave thoughtful constructive criticism while flashing a bit of cleave on the side. Did I mention that Blondie was 20 years Brownie’s senior? It would be suspect if all of America’s greatest couples weren’t separated by a decade (or two and a half).
The delectable couple moved in together in an apartment in NYC. Just two forward-thinking writer babes fornicating in the Big Apple. NO BIGGIE. But Blondie died in 1950, leaving Brownie all alone in such a big world with so many things to say goodnight to––what’s a girl to do!?!?
BONE A ROCKEFELLER, THAT’S WHAT’S UP. Brownie meets James Stillman ‘Pebble’ Rockefeller Jr. at some swanky party, and shortly after the two become engaged. Now isn’t that sweet as apple pie.
But things take a tragic turn, children. After an emergency surgery to remove an ovarian cyst, things all seemed yankee-friggin-doodle dandy for Brownie. She goes to the doctor for a check-up, does a can-can kick to demonstrate just how dandy she feels, and then dislodges a blood clot in her leg, which then travels to her heart. She dies at age 42.
That’s a bit of a downer. So instead of lingering on death and other entirely un-American thoughts, let us CELEBRATE the life of a fire-cracker of a gal who treated men and women equally and liberally, and had no problem with pursuing happiness in whatever form (American, Spanish, fake-French) it took. AND LOOK AT THIS CUTE PICTURE OF HER WITH A DOG.