Last time around, editors Jennifer Wright and Ashley Cardiff played a pretty scrappy game of Fuck, Marry, Kill over Hollywood babes Marlon Brando, Clint Eastwood and Paul Newman. Now, their prompt is more literary, but their methods are as infantile as ever. If you are unfamiliar with the game Fuck, Marry, Kill (and yet inexplicably reading a website currently), it’s simple: you must choose among the three names given who to fuck, who to marry, and who to kill. If you do not care for Jennifer and Ashley’s rhetoric, skip their discussion and go to the bottom of the post, where you may cast your vote.
Jennifer: I will begin by making this incredibly easy, because this is an incredibly easy decision. Marry Fitzgerald. Fuck Hemingway. Kill Faulkner.
Ashley: Okay, I’ll begin by saying that it’s not as easy as it looks and you’ve still managed to make an overwhelmingly foolish decision. I think the only obvious decision to make is one must begin by killing Hemingway
Jennifer: ARE YOU MAD? Wait, we need to talk a little bit about some of the things Hemingway did. When Hemingway was working for the Kansas City Star in 1918, he dragged one of his subjects, a smallpox stricken homeless man, to the hospital. Then he charged the expenses to the Star. He got wounded in the war as he was distributing chocolates to Italian soldiers.
He beat up Orson Welles because Welles wanted to change the lines to some of his script but they reconciled over an entire bottle of whiskey.
Ashley: Beating up Orson Welles would be like kicking over a Jell-O mold.
Jennifer: Okay. Wait. This is the finest reason of all “Hemingway is driving with a few buddies on a road near Luxembourg in 1944 when he hears the ripping sound of aircraft fire. He yells, “Jump!” and his friends fly out of the car just as it’s strafed down the middle by a machine gun. While they huddle in a ditch, Hemingway uncorks his canteen to distribute premixed martinis.”
FUCK HEMINGWAY. What did Faulkner do? Drink moonshine and write about people who couldn’t formulate thoughts coherently?
Ashley: I think you forgot the time that Faulkner called Hemingway a coward and Hemingway was so vain and petty, he got a general to respond on his behalf. Also, every single one of your anecdotes makes him out to be an unstable Narcissus with a drinking problem. …Which, also, applies to all three of these men.
Jennifer: Equally! But I think there’s a difference between a moonshine on a porch kind of a guy and a “premixed canteens of martinis in case of machine gun fire” kind of a guy. Also, have you ever read Sanctuary? By your little buddy, Faulkner?
Ashley: Look, you don’t marry Hemingway because he’s the most unstable and most vain of all three. And you don’t fuck Hemingway because you don’t want to be on the receiving end of one and a half minutes of vigorous sportfucking, followed by being crushed beneath an overextended walrus that whiskey burps in its sleep.
Jennifer: I reiterate: Have you read Sanctuary, by your little buddy, Faulkner?
Ashley: Where are you going with this?
Jennifer: CORNCOB RAPE. The highlight of the novel is a girl getting violated by a corncob. Bloody concobs get waved around in that book, but it’s okay? Because she has… sex in an outhouse?
Ashley: Well, Fitzgerald didn’t get a lot of erections, then, I can deduce that.
Jennifer: The way I see it is this: Fitzgerald, lots of dinner clothes, jumping in fountains, adoration regardless of how crazy you are. Because of the dinner clothes or the jumping in fountains of the martinis? I mean, the concob was because of the character being impotent so… I guess it seems like you’re pointing to Faulkner? But anyhow. Fitzgerald “glamorous life, lots of tolerance for crazy.” Hemingway “lots of excitement and danger and probably having sex in ditches after drinking martinis with machine gun fire just ringing all around you.” Faulker…. mentally retarded people raping each other. DECISION CLEAR.
Ashley: Since I have no idea where to go from there, I’m going back a bit. …”He has no courage, has never climbed out on a limb … has never used a word where the reader might check his usage by a dictionary.” That’s what Faulkner said about Hemingway, prompting Hemingway to be a complete bitch. Hemingway basically responded, “Waaaaahhhh, medals. Waaaaah.”
Jennifer: Did he mention being a scrappy newspaper reporter who carried homeless smallpox victims to hospitals? Because that would have been another way to go with that. Instead of just saying “waaahhh.”
Ashley: People make decisions.
Jennifer: And Faulkner’s decision was to lie?
Ashley: I refuse to walk into this one.
Jennifer: I guess we’re agreed that, in addition to loving weird bloodied corncob rape, Faulkner was a bag full of lies. Yeah. He seems great for the fucking.
Ashley: Better than Hemingway. Unless you want a neanderthal to ream you out for a minute before he goes to sleep each night. I DIDN’T KNOW THAT WAS A THING YOU HAD, JENNIFER. THAT YOU ARE A CAVEMAN FUCKER.
Jennifer: WHERE ARE YOU GETTING THAT FROM? I mean, he seems like a pretty energetic guy, with all the “being a hero” and stuff. Hemingway said “Sex is a sport, fun but dangerous.” Sounds like he doesn’t view it as all “sleepy time whiskey hour.”
Ashley: All right, look, as much as I can say conclusively that having sex with Hemingway would be horrible, at a certain point we have to step back and say it would be equally horrible to marry any of these men, as they’re all dour, self-obsessed alcoholics. Within two months of the wedding, they’d look at you and see a dried up old harpy who represents nothing more than the novels they aren’t writing. Why are you such a selfish bitch?
Jennifer: Umm, I think Fitzgerald loved Zelda… forever?
Ashley: Okay, you’re right. Scott loved Zelda. But you do! not! want! to be Zelda. I mean, unless the way you keep a man interested is carving his name in your chest and threatening to kill yourself if he cancels dinner at the last minute.
Jennifer: She did do that! However, I have full faith that you only have to be a tiny bit less literally insane than Zelda to really make a go of that one. ALSO THAT MADE HIM REALLY RELIABLE WHEN IT CAME TO DINNER APPOINTMENTS SO MAYBE NOT A BAD IDEA FOR LADIES TO TRY, EH?
Ashley: We have got to start a ladymag. Okay. All right. Kill Hemingway. Fuck Scott and maybe that’ll go well? I don’t know. Marry Faulkner and be prepared for increasing tension and emotional alienation, but at least he’ll guilt you into being a better person…? I feel like I wouldn’t want to be trapped in a loveless marriage to any of them, but I know I’d develop the most virtues from having to be anguished and proud all the time around Faulkner.
Jennifer: BUT FAULKNER NEVER DID ANYTHING GOOD EVER.
Ashley: You’ll excuse me a moment, I’ve got to wipe the spittake off my everything.
Jennifer: His only thing was sitting on his porch saying “look at me, I’m Faulkner, writing about mentally disabled people, whittling on this here corncob.” And bears. He also wrote about bears.
Ashley: Okay, first of all, shut your whore mouth. Second of all, The Bear is a perfect story. As for Hemingway… I am a Hemingway sentence.
Jennifer: The sentence is good because it is clean. A sentence should be clean, and it will be good, because it will be right. The way sex with Hemingway is good, and clean, and right.
Ashley : Hats off to you.
Jennifer: Shucks. Shall I do that in Faulkner style? My mother is a fish gonna impregnater you in your fish bits.
Ashley: No. I am a Faulkner sentence; there’s no clear order or direction here but instead there’s meaning imbued faintly as the the thin light comes through the sill on the dust and the smell is thick in here like it is in August; I’ll need to say repudiate four or five more times before we come to the period but when we arrive there you’ll feel like a different person or at least you’ll question what that means and what honor is and if you should repudiate it.
Jennifer: My mother was a fish! (She had an unfortunate experience with a corncob)
Ashley: Look. This isn’t about literary merit. This is about how having sex with Hemingway would be like getting fucked by an angry drunk bear. And I’m not marrying a man who orders rum cocktails.
Jennifer: But Faulkner loved all drinks. Including mouthwash.
Ashley: They all loved all the drinks. Fitzgerald would probably be the most willing to go down on you, though.
Jennifer: Yeah, because he would be the only one who would attempt it.
Ashley: Okay. Kill Hemingway. Fuck Fitzgerald and hope for the best. Marry Faulkner and at least, in your remorse, become excellent.
Jennifer: Okay, you went the opposite of the correct decision there, but you… make choices. Go be a fish. I will reiterate: Fuck Hemingway to the ringing sound of machine gun fire as you sip martinis and sing songs of heroism. Marry Fitzgerald assured he’ll never be late for dinner, ever. Kill Faulker because he’s just a weird little dude.
Ashley: That’s a really great reason to marry Fitzgerald. Next time, I want to play a game where I end up marrying Melville though, okay?
Jennifer: Okay. I want to bring Zelda into the mix.
Ashley: For like threesomes?
Jennifer: Next round fuck marry kill, Melville, Zelda Fitzgerald and…
Ashley: Jack London! Sex with Jack London!!