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#QueerQuote: “No Matter Which Sex I Went to Bed With, I Never Smoked on the Street”- Florence King

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Florence King (1936-2016) was a writer and professional misanthrope who had a distaste for anything that she felt was slightly touchy-feely. She freely enjoyed male and female lovers.

Her writing was read for her arsenical wit, most notable Misanthrope’s Corner, the column she wrote for the conservative rag, National Review, during the aughts. She also wrote book criticism for The NY Times.

Reviewing The Florence King Reader (1995), The NY Times Book Review wrote: ”This book contains enough cattiness per square inch to supply an entire city for at least three years. It is also snide, cruel, intolerant, insensitive and very, very funny.”

King took on Political Correctness, Feminism, Environmentalism, Antismoking, Sentiment, Intimacy, Weakness, Lack of Breeding, Far Rightism, Far Leftism, Children (”In order to molest a child you must first be in the same room with a child, and I don’t know how perverts stand it.”), and the Human Race.

”I believe in a Republic of Merit in which water is allowed to find its own level, where voters, like drivers, are tested before being turned loose.”

King described herself as a Monarchist, a discreet tweedy lesbian, and a pornographer.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in History from American University, whose campus, she wrote: ”resembled a swamp wafting deadly vapors of marriage fever.”

King left graduate school after she discovered she could earn $250 an article writing dirty first-person stories for pulp magazines. She wrote more than 100; later, with the waning of the pulps, she turned out erotic fiction under a series of pseudonyms.

She wrote magazine pieces about Southern American culture:

”The cult of Southern womanhood endows the Southern belle with at least five totally different images and asked her to be good enough to adopt all of them. She is required to be frigid, passionate, sweet, bitchy and scatterbrained, all at the same time. Her problems spring from the fact that she succeeds.”

King made headlines in 1995, when she accused columnist Molly Ivins of having plagiarized passages of her work in a 1988 article for Mother Jones Magazine. King, a gun collector:

”If we had the right kind of laws in this country, I’d challenge her to a duel.”

Ivins apologized publicly, before blood was shed.

King left this world in 2016, and she left no heirs. Perfect for a woman who once wrote:

”I cannot understand why solitary confinement is considered punishment.”


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