Move over, Shakira, there’s a new BAB (badass bitch)™ in town. And by “new” I mean she was born roughly 700 years ago, and by “town” I mean medieval England, but still, potato/potabo. Enter Isabella of France, wife of King Edward II of England. Gurl had some mad haters in her time, and the shade they were throwing in the 14th century casts a longass shadow. Even though she was noted for her beauty, intelligence, and diplomacy, just because, like *one* time, she usurped her husband’s throne, probably had him murdered, and co-ruled with her lover, she has forever been labeled as The She-Wolf of France, and drawn as a manipulative, sadistic, vain, femme fatale. Whatever. Fuckem. Bitches Get Stuff Done.
So our weebaby scandalite is born probably in 1295, daughter of King Philip Eye-Vee of France, ruler of the most powerful state in Western Europe at the time. All of her brothers became kings, and, as was customary, Isabella was promised as an infanta to Edward II (New Moon) of England. Edward’s father (Edward Twilight, whom you know from the 1995 pre-meltdown Mel Gibson classic, Braveheart as “that old guy in the crown”), for some reason which Wikipedia did not make clear to me, tried to dissolve the union several times before his death. But, once he kicked it in 1307, the 23-year-old Edward and the 12-year-old Isabella were free to pursue wedded bliss.
Why? Because Edward was gayer than Christmas, that’s why.
Well, no—Edward was most likely bisexual, as he and Isabella did eventually have four children, and he had at least one illegimate son by an unknown woman (which I like to imagine means she was a ghost, kind of like Patrick Swayze was that one time), and there is considerable scholarly debate over whether Edward actually had romantic relationships with men (fueled not least by issues of interpreting concepts of medieval sexuality, homosexuality, and male friendship [and for an awesome introduction to these queries, plus a bit of academic titillation, check this nifty volume]). But still, the warning signs were there right from the start that Edward’s spankbank wasn’t filled exclusively with sweet, sweet ladybits.
Just quick, let’s have a tidge of context about Edward: though he was a strapping young buck, the heir apparent apparently shied from traditional kingly pursuits such as jousting, hunting, warfare, bloodshed, mayhem, and dick-measuring contests, in favor music, poetry, and “rural crafts.” Edward had a special little hole (in his heart) that was plugged by a nobleman named Piers Gaveston. Apparently, “as soon as the king’s son (Edward II) saw him, he fell so much in love that he entered upon an enduring compact with him”—which is sweet and all, but hanging on the arm of another dude like you’re the hottest wife in Stepford is 200% not cool in 1300. Edward I banished Gaveston a bunch of times to try to unhook his whore talons from Edward II, but I guess as soon as the king kicked it, Jr. saw this as an opportunity to not only marry his supahrich child-bride, but also debut his boytoy in one big ol’ “fuck you, dad, you’re dead” fell-swoop.
At her marriage banquet, Izzie watched all her presents given to Gaveston (I mean really, one man can only use so many chip n’ dips), and at her coronation, the halls were hung with custom tapestries bearing the coats of arms of Edward and Gaveston. …If TLC had gone all Four Weddings on that biznass, I’m pretty sure even Isabella’s sister wives would have given her pity points. That shit’s rough.
Isabella apparently resigned herself to a life of neglect and humiliation in the wake of her husband’s brazen hussiness. She befriended Gaveston’s wife and I assume they spent lots of hours bitching about their sham marriages in their finely illuminated Burn Book of Hours.
BUT, after merely four winters of discontent, in 1312, tensions between Edward and his barons over Gaveston’s power in court had reached a boiling point. After being banished once again by the peerage, and recalled once again by Edward, Piers was finally kidnapped by a couple of earls, who handed him over to a couple of Welshmen, who promptly rid the world of that turbulent puff.
Sidenote: This is in direct opposition to what I remember of the
stunning, delicate, cinema vérité death of a character based on Gaveston in the aforementioned Braveheart, in which Edward I pushes his son’s lover out a window, squealing like a piglet. No, now I find there’s a dignity in truth afforded to the poor soul, knowing he was in fact taken out to the ass end of Wales and beheaded by a couple of sheepfuckers.
Anyway, Edward was so distraught by Gaveston’s murder that he went all Norman Bates and kept his corpse around for a while before the Church finally forced him to bury it (Ew. Ew. Ew. EwewewEW.). But, with his lover gone in an arguably tragic turn of events, Edward had to pull it together. He put on his big-boy jerkin and favorite Bobbi Brown lipstick, and knocked up the wife he suddenly remembered he had. For England; for the Plantagenets; for something to do on a Thursday night.
So Isabella and Edward had a son in 1312, the future Edward Eclipse, but despite producing a healthy male successor, the political situation in England was increasingly unstable: ties between France and England were weakening, Edward had his ass decidedly handed to him with a side of tatties and neeps by the Scots at Bannockburn, a royal pretender showed up claiming to have been switched at birth with Edward (though he brought very little charming, lesson-learning, folksy-wisdom, and good-old-fashioned-adventure to this Twainesque episode, and thus totally deserved his eventual execution), and the barons were still having a hissy fit about how Edward threw around his power—particularly in light of his new advisor/bum-chum, Hugh Despenser the Younger.
(Also, there was a famine—which I would say was like the cherry on top of a shit sundae, but it’s probably more apt to say it’s like the restaurant never bringing you the sundae to begin with, charging you twice, then giving you a plague blanket rather than a mint on your way out.)
Isabella hated Hugh the Younger, because, in all honesty, he sounds like a total, utter, certified, signed-sealed-delivered, midnight-train-to-Georgia douche. Hugh had campaigned against Gaveston and actively displaced Edward’s rebound after Gaveston, a man named Roger d’Amory (Dare I say they engaged in amorous rogering? No? Too much? Ok.), so he could get into the king’s affections. He held huge political sway over who was in favor at court, and he and Edward instituted massive programs of land confiscation, large scale imprisonment, execution, and the persecution of the widows of their enemies. Hugh in particular wrongfully seized a bunch of land from female nobility (including his wife and his sister-in-law)(!!!!??!!1!), and apparently had one woman’s arms and legs broken until she went insane. *teethsuckholyshitfuckthatdude* It has been hypothesized that because Hugh so clearly hated women, and that because Isabella hated Hugh with such a passion, he had sexually assaulted her at some point, but either way, he was horrible, even by medieval standards.
He and Edward made like a shitload of enemies between 1320 and 1326 who plotted a myriad ways to kill them, including—I’m not kidding—voodoo. In response to a brewing war between Edward and the English nobility spurred on by Hugh, Isabella forcibly took a greater role in politics, and attempted to get the Despensers exiled several times, but Edward always manged to bring them back, like a bad penny, or herpes. Edward finally gave her one of his trademark kissoffs by confiscating all her lands, imprisoning all her staff, and taking all her kids. He wanted her to sign an oath of loyalty to Hugh, but she was rightfully like, “fuck that noise,” and in 1325 she returned to France, gathered an army with the help of her brother, Charles IV, and the really pissed off English nobles, and a hot little slice named Roger Mortimer.
Disclaimer: Mortimer and Isabella might have been having an affair back in England, but either way, once in France, the queen finally got the crowning she deserved (that doesn’t make sense, sorry, whatever, they boned a lot, let’s move on).
In 1326, this mediaeval Bonne y Clyd invaded with a very small force, but such was the state of Edward’s unpopularity that the country essential descended into mob rule at the news of her arrival. She laid siege to Bristol and retrieved her daughters, and soon captured Edward and Hugh as they tried to flee the country. Isabella or her followers essentially killed every higher-up still allied with Edward, with Hugh given a particularly humiliating public castration and disembowelment (Ew. Ew. Ew. EwewewewEW). Edward was placed under house arrest rather than executed, since he was legally still Isabella’s husband, and her legal basis for deposing him was minimal (even though bitch showed mad restraint for sitting it out as long as she did, if you ask me). Her son was confirmed as Edward III, with Isabella acting as regent. Somewhere along the way, Edward II dies—it’s unclear whether he was assassinated or simply died in prison, but the most sensational story is that he had a heated fire poker shoved up his butthole (EWWWW).
Now Edward really was a first class tit, but I don’t know if anyone really deserves to have the last of the red hot pokers nonconsensually inserted into their ass. But, you know, Middle Ages, anything goes.
Isabella and Mortimer co-ruled for about four years until her son came of age and promptly deposed his mom’s main squeeze. She had a nervous breakdown, and was briefly arrested, but eventually was give a massive pension and remained in close contact with the court and her grandchildren. And, like many retirees and shut-ins, she developed an interest in astrology. So, all’s well that ends well in the land of Medieval Times: where women who engage in the same shitty, philandering, power-obsessed activity as their shitty, philandering, power-obsessed husbands are forever remembered as despicable SeeYouNextTuesdays.
Happy Christmas in July, you guys! I have something nice for you. Because you’ve been so good.
MRG got you a bisexual, cross-dressing, opera-singing, nun-banging, murderous-ten-times-over BADASS BITCH. I know, I know. It’s what you’ve always wanted.
If that sounds like I just made this person up at some type of bespoke historical figure shoppe (million dollar idea, you’re welcome), I get it. It seemed too good to be true when my little sister, AMG, who is way smarter and funnier than I am (but it’s okay because I am just as special in other ways) and who might grace us all with a guest post in the near future, casually told me about her. But it wasn’t too good to be true. Instead, IT’S JUST TOO GODDAMN GOOD.
Julie d’Aubigny was and continues to be a next-level goddess of womanhood the likes of which have never appeared on this blog. I know I throw that g-word around a lot when a strong historical lady gets hers, but this time it’s serious. She was a pistol for the ages. She is to not-giving-a-sweet-fuck what Isis, Frejya, and Bhuvaneshvari are to their respective mythologies. She is the human manifestation of that #YOLO thing the kids do. She is everything.
And luckily, she was born (in 1670 in France) to one of those dads who maybe wanted a son real bad but instead of ignoring his girlchild he, like, still loved her. And he bestowed upon her the required education for both genders. Daddy, Gaston d’Aubigny, was the secretary to the Grand Squire of France under Louis XIV and therefore was partly responsible for the all the king’s stables, pages, and most importantly, the royal partay fund. And this is the goddamn Sun King — it’s not like he’s throwing a low-key potluck just for the girls once every couple years. Thusly, Julie’s dad was pretty well connected and had a measure of power. As a hobby, he was also a master swordsman. Whereas my dad likes to do crossword puzzles and some light woodworking.
So by the time she blossoms into young womanhood, Julie can dance, she can sew, she can read multiple languages, and oh yeah, she can kill you real good with a rapier. And it’s not that she was good at swordplay for a lady — she was just fucking good. She also liked to dress up like a boy, accost and embarrass the shit out of another boy, and then reveal her ladyness. At a young age, Julie knew her way around a dagger. And around a dick.
In her teens, she seduced her dad’s boss, the Comte d’Armagnac (and because his name is hard and he was in charge of the king’s horses, he shall heretofore be known as The Mane Man). The Mane Man, though he was an adult fucking his employee’s 16-year-old daughter (think of the HR paperwork!), was also kind of a good dude in the beginning. He undoubtedly expanded her knowledge of military weapons and strategy and also her knowledge of how to do sex. Most importantly, he introduced her to the court of the Sun King.
If ever there was a diva in need of a venue, it was Julie d’Aubigny. Mane Man, soon sensing the potential error in bringing a gender-bending, sword-confident, underage hottie with a thing for embarrassing dudes at their own game to the most public and socially narrow place in the country, decided to marry Julie off and deflect attention. This was A Thing Men Could Do. Not long after her marriage to Monsieur Maupin (of whom little is known and few fucks are given), Julie and Mane Man called it quits. It’s probably likely that Mane Man was terrified of a) what Julie could to to his entrails and b) word getting out that he’d dated a woman with “talents” and “opinions,” so he invented a position in the French countryside for Maupin, assuming Julie would dutifully follow her new and uncharismatic husband. You know what they say about assuming. It’s a dumb fucking thing to do.
See, Mane Man’s plan really backfired on him. As a married woman, Julie really didn’t have to worry about the moral and social expectations that the court had for marriageable girls. And her husband, being a Toby Flenderson-type, was essentially powerless when it came to sexual politics. In the Maupin marriage, not only did Julie wear the pants, she had one of those giant MTV Cribs-style, apartment-sized closets full of pants. Pants on pants on pants. So naturally, when Mr. Maupin packed up the U-Haul and headed for the hills, Julie didn’t go with.
Instead, Julie. Went. WILD. Slapping shopkeepers? Check. Publicly taking the piss out of aristocrats? Check. Boning a fencing master wanted for murdering someone in an alley? CHECK.
Julie and her new slice, Serannes, Bonnie-and-Clyded their way through Paris, and when trouble found them, headed to Marseilles, where Serranes claimed he had the means to support them. He fucking lied. Rather than immediately impaling her lover, though, Julie, ever resourceful, essentially enslaved him as one half of a song-and-sword duo to pay the bills. Did I mention that our Jules was a fucking gifted contralto? She was. It was also around this time that Julie picked up that cross-dressing thing again, because the swordplay part of their act required ease of movement, and seven layers of petticoats are not so conducive to that sometimes/all the time. A cross dresser with the voice of an angel — maybe it’s a Julie thing.
Anyway, the pair were the talk of the town before long. The plebians ate that shit right up. And of course, because Julie was an Inigo Montoya-level swordist and wore pants, those same plebians thought she was a dude. Rumor has it that one night a crowd was so raucously convinced that she had a dick, Julie ripped open her shirt, showed them her tits, and said “Who’s the dick now?!” Or something like that.
Of course, a bold and beautiful ingenue of the stage and sword was going to be bored by her murderous, less-talented boyfriend. In fact, Julie was pretty bored by men altogether. She was just better than them at pretty much everything. But she still wanted to get hers — an Earth-goddess still needs to get her rocks off. And as we’ve established, our sweet JuJuBee gave zero fucks about social strictures or propriety. Julie looked around, noticed that women were a large group of people she hadn’t tried to seduce, and went for it. Bless her.
And here’s one of my favorite stories I’ve come across during this 2.5-year blogsperiment. Julie, somewhere in the middle of her lady-fucking rampage, fell in love with a cute blonde. Blondie’s parents, of course, were terrified of the Amazon who kept sending their daughter home flushed and extremely satisfied, so they decided the best course of action was to ship her off to a convent. That’s how Jules came to bone a nun. A self-proclaimed wife of Jesus. Yes. Of course, it became hard for them to meet, let alone plan liasons, so Julie took these Six Easy Steps to get her lover back:
1. She took Holy Orders herself.
2. She made sure she was assigned to the same convent as Blondie.
3. She waited for an elderly nun to die, then disinterred her.
4. She placed the body of said nun in Blondie’s bed.
5. She set the convent ON FIRE.
6. She and Blondie stole away into the night and never fucking looked back.
Turns out even that John McClane-like endeavor bored our Julie, and she broke up with her nunpiece a couple months later but stayed on the lam. Since body snatching and arson and kidnapping are crimes, Jules was tried in a Marseilles court in absentia and condemned to death by fire (eye for an eye, I guess). So Marseilles was no longer a great place for her to be, and she hopped from Paris to Orleans to Poitiers and back to Paris again, renewing her vaudeville-vagabond-crossdressing-disco-spectacular. Life’s a fucking hustle, man.
Along the way, Jules was doing her best Victor/Victoria in Villeperdue when a young roustabout in the audience realized she was a woman despite her pantaloons. Supposedly he accosted her by shouting, “Pretty bird, I’ve heard your chirping. Now let me see your plumage!” which is nothing if not a tightly constructed metaphor. Julie responded in the only way she knew how: by challenging him and his two best friends to a goddamned duel in the middle of the show. In the scuffle, Jules ended up putting her sword straight through the dude’s shoulder and out the other side, at which point he was like “Okay, ouch, sorry, geez.” Julie then dropped the mic and took a nap.
She still had a conscience, though. Hurting that defenseless manchild weighed on her, so the next day she asked the hotelier who she’d stabbed. Louis-Joseph d’Albert de Luynes, the son of a duke and therefore some kind of viscount. This made Julie feel bad but also made her see the glistening mountain of francs that could be hers if she played her cards right. When one of Lou’s squires visited Julie later that night to convey his master’s apologies for saying all that nasty shit to her, Julie was like, “I’ll deliver my response in person. With my vagina.” She boned him that night and many more nights. Extortion turned to love. They continued to bang for decades in like a friends-who-fuck-and-also-sort-of-love-each-other-but-keep-it-casual kind of way. Think about how much game you need to have to get a guy you RAN THROUGH WITH A MOTHERFUCKING SABER and HUMILIATED PUBLICLY to fuck you forever. This is real history.
And did I mention all of the above shit happened within four years? Yeah, on our timeline, Julie is 20. Really makes college feel like a waste.
Naturally, Julie’s career as a vaudevillian segued into the chance to sing in the Paris Opera. La Maupin, as she was called (going by her noodle of a husband’s name is probably the most heteronormative thing about her) was soon a bonafide opera star, and brought real-life badassness to notably badass roles like Athena, Dido, and Medea. It was like the opposite of method acting.
By now you’ve deduced that our Jules was also a bit of a wild card when it came to her temper, so it should be no surprise that she once whacked the shit out of a fellow actor in a dark alley with a wooden cane because he was creeping on one of her actress friends. When he showed up at work with two black eyes and a limp, he said he was beaten and robbed by four street youths. Julie, hearing this, said “HAHAHAHAA,” and handed the guy his pocket watch and empty wallet in front of everyone.
And of course, given that she and Lou had a loving and VERY open relationship, Julie fucked a lot of her co-workers. Both tenors and sopranos, if you catch my drift. Just once, Jules fancied a lady who gave her the ol’ I-just-wanna-be-friends, which led Julie to attempt suicide. She really only had one speed, our girl.
I know you’re all getting tired here, but I have just one more Julie story, I promise! Also, what the fuck guys, she’s amazing, I want to talk about her forever, you should want to know everything there is to know about her, etc. etc.
Okay, so Julie’s operatic fame led to her reintroduction to court life, which of course led to her being invited to a ball. And Julie just wanted to dance. Really get down. And she couldn’t twerk in a heavy dress, so she of course wore a full-on cavalier’s uniform. Much pearl-clutching ensued, because not only did she not hide the fact that she was a woman in manpants, she also openly danced and MADE OUT WITH the belle of the ball. In the middle of the Sun King’s dance floor. Je SCANDAL!
Belle-of-ball’s suitors were shocked and immediately directed a collective “Not cool, bro” Julie’s way in the form of a duel invite. Apparently talking things out was not a viable resolution method in seventeenth-century France. Julie had been outnumbered by a bunch of dudes before and was probably bored, so she agreed. They got a-fighting right there in the middle of a waltz and Julie defeated all of them handily. Mr. Sun King himself, pissed that Julie diverted the groveling masses away from him, reminded her that he’d recently instituted a law against dueling. Julie was sent away thinking that this might be the end of the road for her. You don’t piss off the Sun King. He could actually have you killed for sitting without his express permission. True fact. One would imagine that killing three dudes in the middle of his nice party might not fly.
UNLESS YOU’RE FUCKING JULIE D’AUBIGNY MAUPIN, WARRIOR PRINCESS.
The next day, after preparing to hear that she was going to die, Julie got a message from the King that essentially said, “You’re pretty that thing you did was funny I like seeing people die I guess my no-dueling law can just apply to men.”
And Julie celebrated by moving to Brussels and becoming mistress to a goddamn Prince of the Holy Roman Empire and opera-ing on the side until she died in 1707.
Except I’m pretty sure she’s not dead because goddesses are immortal.
Contrary to my usual writing style, this post is going to be short. Short, sweet, and French, like this guy. I’m not THAT interested in challenging myself, though. I got the idea for this one from some label information at a greatass museum. So much like a typical MRG post, it’s about an artist.
An artist who might have caught a social disease from his dad, HEYOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!1
Edouard Manet was a very well-known painter during the Belle Epoque, which is how you say “late-nineteenth century France” in Douchebagese (Pedantic dialect). He’s not Claude Monet, who worked in the same profession and lived in roughly the same place at roughly the same time using roughly the same letters. I know it’s confusing. Just think of it this way: Monet painted a lot of water and landscapes. Manet painted a lot of hookers and naked hookers.
But like, A LOT of naked hookers. His most famous painting is this one, Le dejeneur sur l’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass):
If you ever spent time in an art history survey class, you’ve seen this before. If you haven’t, congratulations, you’ve already made better life choices than I have. Also I think I mentioned it in a prior post before, too. In any case, this little guy CHANGED THE MOTHERFUCKING GAME when it came to 2D representational art. Why? Because NAKED LADIES, CLOTHED DUDES. The entire subtext of this painting is “firecracker orgytime jamboree.” And Manet presented it in the salon, which was otherwise full of traditional portraits and landscapes, as though to say, “You’re welcome for the innovation, peasants,” thereby causing much pearl-clutching.
Now I’m sure you’ve ignored the little history lesson above (it was little, wasn’t it? I’m doing a really good job with this whole concision bag) (maybe the parenthetical bragging isn’t helping though) (WHATEVER, IMMA DO ME) and instead are thinking, “NAKED LADY. BOOBS. WHO IS THE NAKED LADY?”
Well I’m so glad you asked.
As per Manet’s general business plan, a cheap, naked hooker sat for this painting. But you know who else did? MRS. SUZANNE MANET.
Specifically, she sat for the face part. So Manet purposely put the head of his seemingly well-respected and virtuous wife on the body of a sexworker. And I think it’s safe to presume that Suzie was way into it, because it wouldn’t have been unusual for Ed to just use a whole hooker rather than a Franken-hooker. And also Suzie Manet was actually a slorebag.
It all started in 1851, when Suzanne Leenhoff, a musical prodigy, left her hometown of Delft with dreams of making it in the big city (and also hopefully with a knapsack full of urns from home, because that shit is PRECIOU$$$). Before she got very far with that whole “independent hopes and dreams” thing, though, the affluent Manet family hired her to teach their teenage sons (Ed and some other kid who is inconsequential for us right now) how to play piano.
Mommy Manet let this happen despite these sundry facts:
– Suzie was 22 and in the bloom of womanhood
– Suzie was Eastern European
– Suzie was hired help (and we all know how that goes)
– Ed was 19
– 19 year-old boys are horny
– 19 year-old FRENCH boys are the horniest
– Daddy (Auguste) Manet was a gross older French dude
– Gross older French dudes are assuredly, decidedly, definitely down to fuck
Remember how Suzie was hired in 1851? She gave birth to an illegitimate son in 1852. Attagirl.
Leon Leenhoff was definitely 1/2 Manet, but as Suzie routinely fucked both Auguste and Edward from the get go, she had no idea who little LL’s daddy was. Ed painted his maybe-son holding a giant weapon of war in this painting here, as one does.
And here’s the best part: Auguste Manet was hella syphlitic around this time. Ed Manet became moderately syphlitic soon after. Don’t have to be a mathematician to see that x + y = EW EW EW MANET GOT SYPHILIS FROM HIS DAD VIA THEIR MUTUAL SLAMPIECE EW.
Wait, here’s another good part: Suzie moved in with Ed and they lived in sin together not long after Lil LL Cool Manet™ was born, but she maybe probably continued to go to Funkytown with Auguste for like 10 more years.
Also, this is great: Ed finally married Suzie (which was kind of nice of him considering the typical fate of unwed mothers in this time) in 1863, only a year after Auguste’s death.
Suzie really ingratiated herself into the Belle Epoque art world, modeling for her husband and some of his painter friends (including Monet, which is CONFUSING. And did I mention Monet also painted a piece he called Le dejeneur sur l’herbe? Sort of makes you feel like they met at a cafe one afternoon, shared a mille-feuille, and drew up a plan to fuck with us, right?)
Anyways, Manet ended up being the most important figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism, probably because he was extremely sexually satisfied and therefore artistically motivated at all times. Here’s my favorite painting of his, because you asked:
So I guess the moral of the story is that sometimes a father and son have mutual interests like football, or the American Civil War, or building soapbox racers, or fucking 22 year-old ladies, and sometimes sharing those interests is okay? Sometimes its okay for a father and son to share things like a vagina or a kid’s DNA or a dick disease? Sometimes it’s okay to be your own grandpa? Sure, any one of those.
Artists: they’re just like us.
You know what, you guys were really good today. I know you’re tired of French painters and you barely complained about this one. I’ll treat you to another Franken-hooker. You deserve it:
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.