Friday, April 24, 2015

Richard Burton: The Subject was Sex

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor
Richard Burton had no particular complaints about literary pornography or sex, and was suspicious of those who did.
“The unctuous rubbishy shit written about pornography is nonsense,” wrote the Welshman in his journal for Nov. 17, 1966. “Practically all good pornography is best-selling, so I understand, and yet I have never found anyone who when asked if they enjoyed it will ever admit it.”
“(Author Malcolm) Muggeridge quotes Hugh Kingsmill as saying that the act of love is ludicrous and disgusting. Speak for yourself, Kingsmill. I love its disgustingness and comicality. Put some jaundice in your eyes and the act of walking is ludicrous and obscene, and swimming and, above all, eating. All those muscles, in most people, 50 percent atrophied, sluggishly propelling people over land or through water or gulping oysters. Come off it.
“It is an important thing to kill cant and humbug even if one is a humbug oneself."
With his fine voice, the well-read actor could hold forth on many topics. And one of them, apparently, was homosexuality.
That nettled Gore Vidal, who recalled that whenever he met Burton, Burton would launch into “…an extravagant aria about why he was not homosexual. I’d listen as long as I could and then say, ‘Who cares, Richard? Let’s talk about dermatology. Now there’s a subject!’”
Burton was always touchy about his bad skin, so touché.

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