WILLIAM STYRON (1925-2006) on TERRY SOUTHERN
"I had met a lot of Texans in the marines, most of whom lived up to their advance reputation for being yahoos and blowhards, and I never thought I'd encounter a Texan who was a novelist. Or a Texan who was rather shy and boastful."
I added that quote for a not so obvious reason. You see... I'm not the only one down on Texans. While I'm at it, here's some more from William Styron (author of two great novels I've read—Sophie's Choice and Confessions of Nat Turner):
“I thought of Terry [Southern] recently when I read, in an interview, the words of a British punk-rock star, plainly a young jerk, nasty and callow but able to express a tart intuitive insight: ‘You Americans still believe in God and all that shit, don't you? The whole fucking lot of you fraught with the fear of death.’
“Terry would have given his little cackle of approval at the remark, for it went to the core of his perception of American culture. Like me, Terry was an apostate southern Protestant, and I think that one of the reasons we hit it off well together was that we both viewed the Christian religion—at least insofar as we had experienced its puritanical rigors as a conspiracy to deny its adherents their fulfillment as human beings. It magnified not the glories of life but the consciousness of death, exploiting humanity's innate terror of the timeless void. High among its prohibitions was sexual pleasure. In contemplating Americans stretched on the rack of their hypocrisy as they tried to reconcile their furtive adulteries with their churchgoing pieties, Terry laid the groundwork for some of his most biting and funniest satire. Christianity bugged him, even getting into his titles—think of The Magic Christian. Nor was it by chance that the surname of the endearing heroine of Candy was—what else?—Christian. His finest comic efforts often come from his juxtaposing a sweetly religious soul—or at least a bourgeois-conventional one—with a figure of depravity or corruption. Candy was surely the first novel in which the frenzied sexual congress between a well-bred, exquisitely proportioned young American girl and an elderly, insane hunchback could elicit nothing but helpless laughter. (‘Give me your hump!’ she squeals at the moment of climax, in a jeu de mots so obvious it compounds the hilarity.) One clear memory I have is of Terry in the lounge car, musing over his Old Grand-Dad as he considered the imminent demise of the Super Chief and, with it, a venerable tradition. His voice grew elegiac speaking of the number of ‘darling Baptist virgins aspiring to be starlets’ who, at the hands of ‘panting Jewish agents with their swollen members,’ had been ever so satisfactorily deflowered on these plush, softly undulating banquettes.”
From William Styron’s Havanas In Camelot, pp.116-118
WHERE FALWELL GOT HIS WELL-FALLEN IDEA FOR BLAME FROM
“. . . the Diet of Worms, the same assembly that condemned Martin Luther for heresy, issued a mandate declaring that the ‘evil pocks’ [syphilis] was a scourge visited upon mankind for the sin of blasphemy.” —Styron also, from the same book as above