This week, I stumbled across this amazing video of William S. Burroughs doling out some highly questionable advice to young people. The advice cultural icons give isn't always totally sound (or maybe it is—what do I know?), and below, I've put together a collection of some of the more outlandish, colorful, and dubious advice from famous people. Whether you take heed or not is up to you.
William S. Burroughs's Advice for Young People
"Beware of whores who say they don't want money. In the long run, these are the most expensive whores that can be got."
Mark Twain's Advice to Little Girls
"You ought never to take your little brother's 'chewing-gum' away from him by main force; it is better to rope him in with the promise of the first two dollars and a half you find floadint down the river on a grindstone. In the artless simplicity natural to this time of life, he will regard it as a perfectly fair transaction. In all ages of the world this eminently plausible fiction has lured the obtuse infant to financial ruin and disaster."
"If someone is racist and really cute, could you still have sex with him? I have to admit the answer is yes. I have. You just change the subject or shout, 'La la la la la la la,' covering your ears when he speaks nonsense. If all else fails, stick something in his mouth to shut him up."
"[F]or all the neurotics who may have felt a little blue one day and were unfairly diagnosed and overly medicated before they could even try to talk out their problems, I have some advice. It's appropriate to be depressed sometimes. Who wants to be 'even' day after day? If you just killed three people in a DWI accident, you should feel bad. If your whole family molested you in a giant basket on Easter morning, you have a right to be grumpy every once in a while. But feeling down can make you feel up if you're the creative type. The emotional damage may have already been done to you, but stop whining. Use your insanity to get ahead."
COURTNEY: The thing you gotta do is—A! Stop counting calories! Okay? B! DO not get on a scale! 'Cause lean muscle weighs more than fat. All right? I cut out FAT! That's all you gotta do. FAT! No cheese. That's it, Lisa. Period. NO CHEESE. I told this to KROQ, I told this to my nanny. People I tell this to lose ten, 30 pounds. STOP CHEESE. You know why the Orientals are not fat? 'Cause they look on cheese as this gross, Western habit—it's like sour milk LARD. They don't want anything to fucking do with cheese. If you're gonna eat cheese, take it out on a picnic, cut it up carefully, and really taste it—with wine or something. Don't melt it on shit. And I lost 40 POUNDS by not eating cheese. And I even ate a little mayonnaise. All right. Skip the butter and skip the cheese and you will lose weight. I swear to God, Lisa. I was a fat girl my whole life. No one would fuck, and when they did they'd do things like fart in front of me. I told my friend that this guy farted in front of me, and you know what he said?
COURTNEY: He said, "Well, look at her; wouldn't you fart in front of her?"
Lisa: Oh! Here's my second question—
COURTNEY: Don't eat cheese. There are a million things to eat that are not cheese.
Read the rest of the interview, from Lisa Crystal Carver's '90s zine Rollerderby, here.
Frank Zappa on Parenting
"Whenever Ronald Reagan is speaking on television, turn it on and turn the sound down, and put your child in front of the set and point at him and say, 'If he asks you to get into a car, offers you candy or tells you to go fight in Nicaragua, tell him: No!'"
Benjamin Franklin on Choosing a Mistress
But if you will not take this Counsel, and persist in thinking a Commerce with the Sex inevitable, then I repeat my former Advice, that in all your Amours you should prefer old Women to young ones. You call this a Paradox, and demand my Reasons. They are these:
1. Because as they have more Knowledge of the World and their Minds are better stor'd with Observations, their Conversation is more improving and more lastingly agreable.
2. Because when Women cease to be handsome, they study to be good. To maintain their Influence over Men, they supply the Diminution of Beauty by an Augmentation of Utility. They learn to do a 1000 Services small and great, and are the most tender and useful of all Friends when you are sick. Thus they continue amiable. And hence there is hardly such a thing to be found as an old Woman who is not a good Woman.
3. Because there is no hazard of Children, which irregularly produc'd may be attended with much Inconvenience.
4. Because thro' more Experience, they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an Intrigue to prevent Suspicion. The Commerce with them is therefore safer with regard to your Reputation. And with regard to theirs, if the Affair should happen to be known, considerate People might be rather inclin'd to excuse an old Woman who would kindly take care of a young Man, form his Manners by her good Counsels, and prevent his ruining his Health and Fortune among mercenary Prostitutes.
5. Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts continuing to the last as plump as ever: So that covering all above with a Basket, and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.
6. Because the Sin is less. The debauching a Virgin may be her Ruin, and make her for Life unhappy.
7. Because the Compunction is less. The having made a young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections; none of which can attend the making an old Woman happy.