William Faulkner: First-Class Writer, First-Class Drunk, First-Class Poon-Tackler.

I'd take your verdant countryside and high-waisted pants any day, boy.

In honor of this weekend’s Springfest at my small east-coast liberal-arts college, which is, in fact, much like all other small east-coast liberal-arts colleges, I bring you a story of one of the greatest debauchers of the 20th century. Bros got nothing on William Faulkner.

Side note: I suppose it’s unfair that I keep writing about people I admire/find sexually alluring, but my justification is that it makes my dedication to the story very deep, and thus makes my writing “better” (picture me as someone whose interest takes a lot to be held, which may appear counter-intuitive since I’m a Medieval Studies major, but hey, the world works in mysterious ways). Currently Faulkner has been topping my list of favorite writers, and who wouldn’t admire the guy? He’s influenced generations with his subject matter, style and aesthetic, contributed to classic film scripts like The Big Sleep and To Have and Have Not, as well as put out some of the greatest contributions to American literature. Blah blah, achievements, shit like that. The important thing is that he was a great fucking drunk and banged a lotta broads.

Dapper as shit.

From the beginning, Faulkner got down to it, setting his sights on a girl named Estelle Oldham, daughter of Major Lemuel and Lida Oldham (dig these southern-heritage motherfuckers). But Estelle was clearly not as taken with Faulkner as, say, a more grateful bitch who recognized his genius and wanted to hop on that gravy train before it left the station. So she sort of kind of ‘saw’ other people while they were dating, and somebody popped the question before Willie got his act together (IF YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYIN’). See, Estelle was kind of a gold digger, and like all good women, wanted a ring on that finger ASAP, so her new suitor had a law degree (whereas Faulkner had spent most his time sort of, you know, not going to college and reading and shit), and she had a new hubby. Faulkner, presumably heartbroken (Lord knows why), joined the British Royal Flying Corps since there was a war  on or something, and he was too short to enlist in the US Army. Hell, the Brits’ll take any warm body that can wear a uniform.

Before this he was writing poetry and other sensitive crap like that, and once said to a group of fairly uninspired college students:

“For fiction the best age is from 35-45. Your fire is not all used up and you know more. Fiction is slower. For poetry the best age is from 17 to 26. Poetry writing is more like a skyrocket with all your fire condensed in one rocket.” 

I mention this because during his time in the aircorps, he began to get a little fantastical with his own life (I always say that large-scale long-con lying about oneself is the best way to both a more interesting life and to losing all your friends. Thank you, Bob Dylan). Not only did he convince several army buds that he had illegitimate children scattered like raisins all across Mississippi, he also sort of decided to tell everyone that (even though he never actually saw combat), he’d been shot down over France. HEY-O! If that’s not gonna get you Good Ol’ Miss snatch , I don’t know what will. And thus we begin Faulkner’s lifelong journey into blending fiction and reality with fantastic success, as best evidenced by his imagined Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, where many of his novels were set.

I mean, it's hard out here for a pimp.

But back to his sexploits, cause that’s the important shit. He waited for Estelle to get a divorce, cause let’s face it, no one can resist that mustache for long, and married her in 1929, 11 years after he missed the boat the first time (in the intervening time, he kinda went to college, worked many odd jobs, got ‘life experience’ or something, and perpetuated the notion that he was a crazy and useless sonofabitch around his hometown by being a terrible postmaster and asking people on the street what synonyms for words were since he didn’t own a dictionary or thesaurus. A great, great man indeed). And if you think that just because he waited for Estelle meant that theirs was a marriage for the ages, you’d be Absalom-Absalom-lutely wrong. From the early 30s, he was supplementing his income with stints writing and touching up scripts in Hollywood. And by ‘writing and touching up’ I mean ‘slaying and feeling up,’ and by ‘scripts’ I mean ‘slorebags.’

His lays were many and varied in their publicity level, the first major one being with Meta Carpenter, the script-girl for his Hollywood boss, Howard Hawkes. I would make some sort of ‘that’s so meta’ joke about their relationship, but I can’t think of one right now.

Meta: He couldn't have done bettah. ba DUM chiiiiiiii....

(Fun Film Fact Time! The Coen Brothers multi-award-winning 1991 film, Barton Fink, contains a blatantly Faulknerian character, played by Frasier’s dad, and some lady who fills the Meta role. Their relationship is used to emphasize the bleeding line between high and low art/culture which the protagonist Barton is continually and unsuccessfully trying to recreate despite the fact it is around him, since Fake Faulkner is portrayed as a guy who dresses classy as shit but gets drunk, can’t write and beats his woman. Now that’s so meta!)(Sort of.)(Humor me.)

Faulkner also shacked up for a long fucking time with an aspiring writer (oops), Joan Williams, who (thanks to Somerset Maugham who was all like, “write about what you know, kids”) turned their affair into a novel (double oops). By the 40s, his wife was addicted to drugs to numb the pain of her husband’s constant infidelity, and Faulkner was crushing 12oz curls like it was his job (cause I mean, he was a Southern writer, it basically was his job). But the rampant alcoholism did not in fact effect his work, as he far preferred to binge after a project had been completed. Such work ethic! Let’s learn a little something from William Faulkner, my nameless small east-coast liberal-arts college, as finals draw ever nearer and nearer… oh hell, what am I saying? I just stole a bottle of wine from a Classics symposium. Best day ever!!!!

Anyway, aside from having the strange habit of writing on the walls of his house, his output flourished, and in 1950, he won the Nobel Prize for literature. I’m guessing Estelle, all strung out as she was, figured, “What could possibly go wrong if I send my husband off to Sweden to pick up this prestigious-ass award?? It’s not like Sweden is full of six foot tall Amazonian women with low self-esteem and a huge boner for my Willie’s work!” Yeah, that’s most likely what she thought.

Faulkner did indeed catch that Stockholm Syndrome (and by that I mean an STD), and started another affair with the recently-widowed (pity sex!) Else Jonsson. You could say he had nothing Else to do!!!!!1! (no, that doesn’t really make sense—sorry, I opened that wine a couple of paragraphs ago). TWIST: Else’s late husband had been the one who interviewed Faulkner in 1946 and introduced him to the Swedes, thus resulting in said national boner, and said Nobel fucking Prize.

Kidding, that's Colonel Sanders (!!), but I like to imagine this was how Faulkner walked around at all times.

Another conquest on the part of this busy, busy southern gentleman was that of Jean Stein, who interviewed him in Paris in the late 50’s, and was clearly powerless to resist not only the mustache, but by then what had to have been a distinct musk of stale alcohol and old-man decay. Yum.

But legit, Jean was pretty cool. She was tight with lots of artistic types cause her dad was mad famous/connected, including Elia Kazan (Should I do another Fun Film Fact? Yes, the answer is yes. Indulge me, it all makes sense in the end: A truly great director, it’s also truly depressing that Kazan will likely be remembered most for testifying against his colleagues and friends during the House Committee on Un-American Activities  at the height of the communist witch-hunt, because he felt he would be betraying his integrity to lie. Among others, Kazan sold his former BFFs Arthur Miller and Clifford Odets up the creek, then spent the rest of his career trying to rectify and atone for his actions through artistic output on stage, screen and novel. SUPER CRAZY BONUS FACT: Odets and Faulkner were in Hollywood working on scripts AT THE SAME TIME. AND, THE TITULAR CHARACTER, BARTON FINK–remember that movie I mentioned that one time?–IS BASED ON CLIFFORD ODETS. Boom, full circle).

It’s been said that Faulkner had a “tendency” to enter into “occasional” extramarital affairs. I personally feel like this is a bit of an understatement, since that makes it sound like he simply had no choice in the matter, like a cooter-clepto. The man clearly knew what he was doing (even though he was proably sloshed 75% of the time), and I say more power to him! What does it matter, the clear physical and emotional effect this infidelity had on his wife, who died prematurely? What does it matter that Faulkner had multiple issues with his children, both biological and step, and couldn’t sucessfully grapple with his role as consistent provider to dependents?

It doesn’t, cause he was William G.D. Faulkner, and he rode the shit out of as many women as would put up with him for an extended period. And someday I will turn As I Lay Dying into a fucking beautiful and transcendent-ass screenplay.

JAF


Bill Lancaster: Mile High Club Platinum Member.

Imagine that you’re an early twentieth century aviator trying to fly around the world because no one else has yet and really, what else would you be doing, you’re a professional pilot? Now imagine that only one person is accompanying you on your long-ass flight, and that person is a fetching young specimen of whatever gender you’re attracted to (subtle political correctness is our forte at For Shame). You’ve got a lot of long, quiet days and nights to look down at the sleeping world below. So you start to chat a little bit. Have to pass the time somehow. And then you start to notice things about your companion: the way their leather aviator cap seems to glow in the setting sun, the way their goggles frame their doe eyes just perfectly, and how effortlessly lovely that long white scarf looks draped around their neck. And then BOOM, you’re in love. As soon as you touch down, you have someone gas up the biplane, find the nearest hotel, get a room, and get boning.

Bill playing the classic Aussie aviator game "Hide Inside a Vaguely Phallic Structure."

Everything that I just described happened to Bill Lancaster, today’s scandalous piece of sexy pilot ass. ‘Everything’ meaning ‘roughly fifty percent.’

Before World War I, young English Bill emigrated to Australia. Where they sent the criminals. RED FLAG, people. Red fucking flag. In 1916, he first started flying planes for the Australian Army, and then remained in England following the war. He got married in 1919, then spent some time in India in the 20s doing important Royal Air Force shit.

Bill loved to fly, but he was tired of doing it for the man. He wanted to be free. He also wanted to make bank. And boop ba doo, a young Australian lady journalist named Jessie “Chubbie” Miller with stars in her eyes and gold falling from her pockets met Bill at a partay and offered to fund a flight from England to Australia. But only if she could come along, thus becoming the first woman to fly such a distance. So he thought, “Hey, I’m a hotass pilot, I can fly the shit out of any route you throw at me. You’re gonna pay me HOW MUCH?! Don’t mind if I fucking do. See you on the tarmac, bitch.”

Bill, Chubbie, and her horse mouth get ready to hit the skies.

You might be thinking that this seems like a bad fucking idea. And it probably was, but Chubbie (whose self-esteem must have been through the fucking roof with a nickname like that) was going through a bit of a time. She’d just separated from her husband and girlfriend needed some self-righteous-privileged-white-girl alone time. Alone time with a brawny-ass pilot. Alone time that would last for months. People bitch about the 22-hour US-Australia flight situation they have going on now, but imagine flying down there in a 1920s biplane that tops out at like 50 MPH. That’s probably inaccurate, but my point is that it was a long motherfucking flight.

Anyways, Bill’s wife agrees to this sketchy-ass adventure and he and Chubbs hit the skies. It took them five months to make the 14,000 mile flight. Five months of adverse weather conditions, weird plane repairs, constant flirting and intermittent boning. These two were probably the undisputed President and First Lady of the Mile High Club. And also they fell in love and blah blah blah.

After they touched down, Bill and Chubbie had to face reality – they were both still married, and although Chubbie’s hubby (HA) didn’t give a shit about their relationship, Bill’s wife was absolutely NOT having any of that divorce malarkey and moved to London with him to make shit work. But it didn’t, and Bill moved back to the USA with Chubbie.

You might think that this is the scandal portion of the post. BUT YOU’RE FUCKING WRONG. It gets so so so much scandalous-er. So sit the fuck down and be patient.

Did I mention that they became celebrities in the good ol’ United States? Well they did. I mean, Chubbie had the distinction of being the first woman to undertake such a long air journey, so she was basically the Oprah of her time. And like O, Chubbs felt that she was famous enough to massacre the American book charts. Instead of starting the world’s biggest (and dare I say most shit-tastic) book club, though, Chubbie just decided to hire a pretty young thang named Hayden Clarke to ghost-write her memoirs. Young Hayden headed on down to Miami where Bill and Chubbie were shacking up. But oops, the Depression happened and Bill had to don his favorite sombrero and head south of the

This is NOT Hayden Clarke. It IS a stock illustration of a 1930s gentleman and you can assume that HC looked exactly like him.

border to find a job. After he left, Chubbie was left alone with sexy Hayden. You can imagine what went down. Or WHO went down, KNOW WHAT I’M SAYIN?! (I’m saying that Hayden likely performed cunnilingus on Chubbie, just for the sake of clarity).

Their love was fucking real, and Hayden decided to ask Chubbie to marry him, she accepted, they were fucking thrilled with their attractiveness, you get it. Still in Mexico, Bill heard the news on Telemundo and hopped the first flight out of the country (which was his own flight because he was a pilot). He got to the Miami house and begged Chubbie to reconsider. And oh yeah, Hayden was still living there. So things got a little heated, and the three of them stayed in that house all night long.

And then Hayden was rushed to the hosp with some mayjah cranial damage as a result of close-range gunfire. Believe it or not, he didn’t make it. WHOOPSIES!

Police found two suicide notes, one to Chubbie and one to Bill, at the house. And hey, turns out Bill wrote those. He was the most likely suspect and was arrested. There was talk of the electric chair and everything. The evidence was overwhelming. But you heard it here first: Bill Lancaster was a charming motherfucker. AND HE WAS FUCKING ACQUITTED! He convinced the jury that Hayden was a crazy drug addict bigamist menace II society. He BROUGHT IN THE GUY’S DECAYING HEAD to demonstrate that the wounds were self inflicted. He even got Chubbie to testify AGAINST Hayden. What the fucking fuck?! That’s some crazy Harry Potter/True Blood mind control shit right there.

THEN CHUBBIE TOOK HIM BACK! And they went to England in 1933, where he decided he needed to attempt one more virtually impossible flight, this time from London to Cape

This is what Bill didn't have when he was stuck in Sub-Saharan Africa. Too soon?

Town. He wanted to beat the four-day, six-hour record. He told his family that it would be his last attempt at a cray-cray flight and that he didn’t want to come home a failure. And don’t worry guys, he didn’t. Because he was lost in Sub-Saharan Africa, a place called the ‘Land of Thirst.’ He managed to survive for eight days after he crash-landed, which is pretty good considering ‘scientists’ say that the body needs at least two gallons of water a day to survive that shit. And to give you an idea as to how isolated he was, his inexplicably-mummified body (creepy), the wreckage of his plane, and his logbook weren’t found until 19fucking62 by a group of bored French dudes.

The last entry in his logbook: “So the beginning of the eighth day has dawned. It is still cool. I have no water….I am waiting patiently. Come soon please. Fever wracked me last night. Hope you get my full log. Bill.”

Which is sad. I know. I get it. But I can’t help but think that had he not MURDERED SOMEONE because he was jealous of his still-technically-married lover’s lover despite the fact that he was also still married, this shit might not have happened. Although I guess since he was found not guilty of the murder everything’s still up in the air. GET IT?! Because a plane is also up in the air.

Anyway, it’s as simple as this: Bill and Chubbie met and fell in love, and their relationship  really took off. Bill just couldn’t keep his joystick under control. They hit a little scandalous, possibly murderous turbulence.

I’m finished with the aviation puns now.

MRG


Orson Welles – Brilliant Visionary; World Class Pimp.

Many people may call me crazy for thinking that Orson Welles is one of the most bangable people to ever grace God’s green earth. But it wasn’t only this youthful undergrad who found herself trapped by the seductive powers of his radio-ready dulcet tones, his truly revolutionary brilliance that he brought to stage, screen, and Spartan, or his sensuous lips.

The lips, THE LIPS.

No, I was not the first. In fact, even after ballooning to nearly 400 pounds in his late years of manic-depressive self-exile, Welles had a lotta lays, 3 wives, multiple “possible” children, and died in 1985, many years before I could have had the chance to entice him with my feminine wiles and nab the title “wife numba 4.” Shit ain’t fair.

But for the sake of brevity, I will generally focus on his better known bangs rather than all the rumors and (sadly) skip over the man’s insane ego/intelligence.

Orson Welles was born beautiful, I’m convinced.

Smouldering, even at 14.

By his mid-teens he was a 6-foot slab of man steak that the ladies clearly wanted to sink their teeth into. He started early at age 17, when he first met the Latina bombshell Dolores del Rio,  even though she was mad older. They didn’t actually start a recorded affair until 1938, but I bet there was some hanky-panky, or at least a good deal of eye-fucking.

With a name like Dolores, it has to be good.

Note her glassy-eyed look of love. So in awe of his genius/receding hairline.

He got married first at 19 to Virginia Nicholson, who he had met working in radio, then promptly put a baby in her belly. This child, though a lady-baby, was named Christopher. Go figure. I haven’t gotten to the part in This is Orson Welles where he explains that one. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) while he was married to Virginia, Orson was slaying just about every “up and coming” (HA!) young actress in New York. He was making a name for himself by, you know, revolutionizing theater and radio and scaring the living poop out of America by saying aliens invaded New Jersey (Fortunately? Naw, just kidding NJ, God love ya. New York’s waste has gotta go somewhere.).

After years of marriage and about a bazillion affairs, Virginia and Orson divorced, leaving Orson legally free to immediately shack up with a bunch of slam pieces amongst the jetset of 1940’s Hollywood (Including going public with Dolores, and making her get her own divorce in 1941. Guess she thought that stallion could be tamed…). But the most sizzling by far was Rita Hayworth. Yeah, that one. Long considered the sexiest woman of her age (or any age), Orson was attracted to her for obvious reasons. But also she was a real sweetheart, and from reading the letters sent between them it was clear they loved each other. Orson once wrote to Rita, like a love-sick teenager:

You are my life — my very life. Never imagine your hope approximates what you are to me. Beautiful, precious little baby — hurry up the sun! — make the days shorter till we meet. I love you, that’s all there is to it. -Your boy, Orson”

Fun Fact: Beautiful people don't smell bad when they smoke.

Balls. I mean, I’d be happy if anybody wrote that to me, let alone Orson Welles.

Even while they were going through the process of divorce, he still cast her in The Lady from Shanghai, and their chemistry is off the fucking charts. Rita once said she “couldn’t take his brilliance any more,” and Orson similarly said of their marriage that he could never make her as happy as she made him. That, and I mean, he kept doin’ it with a lot of girls, so I’m betting that was a factor.

The ol' Ball and Chain.

 

 

But some of Orson’s best work came out of that holy union, including Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, both considered two of the greatest films of all time for their innovative storytelling and visual design, massive scope yet intimate character study, and the fact that they were pure American poetry (Yeah, I did just say that.). Unfortunately from here on, because Orson’s foray into Hollywood was neither economically successful nor critically well-received, his career began to take the downward turn that from which he would never recover (which is why the last thing Orson ever did was the 1985 animated Transformers movie, and it best known even to our parent’s generation as “that guy from the wine commercial”- quote, my mom.). This did not mean the man didn’t continue a brilliant output of work, such as his proto-surrealist adaptation of Kafka’s The Trial, excellent adaptations of The Merchant of Venice and Othello, and the just plain sick-nasty espionage classic, Mr. Arkadin, not to mention his acting turns in classics like The Third Man, Touch of Evil, and The Stranger. But who remembers that shit? We remember the fact that he ballooned to the size of a baby elephant and hid away in the Italian mountains for like, ever.

I mean, I'm still on board.

WHICH brings me to Orson’s third wife, Countess Paola Di Girifalco, or better known as the actress Paola Mori. They were married in 1955, but estranged by the 1960s and never actually divorced. After that, Orson had basically slowed down doin’ the nasty, but he still managed to make it in 1966 with the greatest piece of Eastern-European ass since Russia decided its newest export besides vodka, literature and sadness was gonna be models, Oja Kodar. She stuck with him for the last 24 years of his life, and I’m betting they were a pretty good match for each other, and bitch even built him a monument . What?? Anyway, he cast her topless in a lot of shit, so that’s what matters. Thanks bro, I’ll drink to those.

It's not "F for Fake" with her...

Orson died never having won true recognition for his work (and also having never met me, but we’ve established that already), but is finally now experiencing a great popularity—mostly among baby-boomer film snobs and hipsters, but hey, we’ll take what we can get. Hopefully now he can also be recognized as the Master of Bone that he was—far better than any Oscar. You know why? ‘Cause an Oscar’s not gonna seduce you like those lips would.