#10: David Foster Wallace – We forgive you.
Nobody wants to hate on him because he expressed the ennui of a generation and he’s dead. But hey. How about treatin’ the ladies a little better. No, not the ones in his books. His wife. The one who returned from an appointment and found him hanging in the garage with his dogs staring up at him. Now she’s making art from his MRI brain scans, was legally required to read all of his unfinished work to assess its estate value, and still feels guilty for leaving him alone in the house that day.
#9: T.S. Eliot – Mostly just a pussy.
Remember when his wife went insane and was institutionalized and then he never spoke to her again? Sure sure, Virginia Woolf called his wife Viv a “bag of ferrets,” and when Virginia Woolf calls somebody crazy… But to me she sounds like a Lucille Ball: “Tom, can I be in your poem?” Her portrait as a goodhearted lunatic extends right down to the 5am police call reporting her wandering around the city asking if T.S. Eliot has been beheaded yet. In any case, Eliot was kind of a misogynist and tended to describe women as oversexed and smelly.
#8: Jane Austen – Dude, no thanks.
Oh, Jane Austen is female? Really? My bad. It’s hard to assign a gender to those bulbous baggy eyes and sloping shoulders. Here’s how “she” was crappy to women: She glorifies uptight chicks. Have you ever noticed her fangirls tend to be on the highstrung “virtuous” side? Do you like Fanny from Mansfield Park? No? She was Austen’s favorite character. Yeah. And who really wants to be like Elizabeth Bennett? I would rather be drinking with the officers with Lydia or plotting who’s going to get married off, with Mrs. Bennett.
#7: William Shakespeare – Whatever.
Not mean to Anne Hathaway (not the vapid actress from Love & Other Drugs, everyone’s mean to her) and I’m still willing to forgive The Taming of the Shrew as his attempt at “feminism in sympathy.” But Christ, why do his women always have to be so crazy as to warrant intervention from Sassy Gay Friend?
#6: Ernest Hemingway – Probably just bitter.
There was a woman. Not in many stories, but some. She was somehow always inadequate.
#5: Leo Tolstoy – I’m glad you’re dead.
His wife Sofia copied War & Peace by hand eight times, had 13 of his kids, and helped him publish books about women that he screwed while married to her (Resurrection). And yes, she was pissed when he wanted to leave the entirety of his estate to his weird cult instead of support her and their children (and sure she may have killed him but we don’t really know that for sure.)
#4: Jack Kerouac – Should’ve been a model and then I wouldn’t care.
In addition to being kind of a no-talent hack, he disregards women for everything except the satisfaction of physical needs (food and sex). Although he really was handsome, damn it.
#3: Somerset Maugham – A negative nancy (did I say that?)
It would have sucked to be a gay guy in the early 20th century in England, since it was illegal and stuff. Sorry about that, Maughy. But here’s the thing, it’s totes OK to say: “women do have sexual appetites and I’m not attracted to them, in fact I consider them my rivals in gettin’ with attractive men.” But you didn’t. You called all your ladies ugly and set them below men in terms of controlling their sexual appetites. And let’s be honest, that doesn’t happen often enough to realistically happen in every short story, novel and play you wrote.
#2: John Updike – A talented cad.
God damn it. I like him. I like him a lot. How many wives has he had? Only two? Then why does it seem like more? Because he’s always talking about cheating on his wife and getting divorced. That’s why.
He also makes me feel all insecure and judged as a woman when I read him. Probably because he compared women to empty museums filled with men’s art.
#1: Norman Mailer – Scum.
There’s nothing wrong with writing about rough sex. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with rough sex in general. But there is something wrong with this guy’s subpar work when the attitudes of his characters parallel the crap that’s gone down in his real life. Like stabbing his wife with a penknife at a party and almost killing her (who the hell does that?) and punching his 6 months pregnant wife. How many wives have there been? There have been six. And when his last one had cancer he wouldn’t even sleep in the same wing of the house with her because the disease disgusted him that much. My professor’s crazy friend grabbed him by the cajones in the 1980s for good reason. She should have pulled harder and done us all a favor.