Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bad For All Involved

Some relationships just aren't meant to be. Others are really not meant to be, in a way that can be so explosive that it's just bad for everyone involved... and the occasional innocent bystander. CB is loving countdowns at the moment, so, for your time-wasting pleasure, here are some of the most damaging relationships of all time. It's sure to make you feel better about your current partner, or your single status.

10. William S. Burroughs and Joan Vollmer
The Background: Vollmer met Burroughs, an up-and-coming writer and drug dealer, in 1944, left her husband for him, and became addicted to benzedrine.
Collateral Damage: In 1951, Burroughs famously shot Vollmer in the head whilst drunkenly re-enacting William Tell. He fled to Morocco to write tortured novels including Naked Lunch.

9. Romeo and Juliet
The Background: This story apparently dates back to antiquity, so I thought I'd include it for mythological value. It might be the quintessential example of when it's better to just not go there.
Collateral Damage: Romeo, Juliet, Tybalt, Mercutio, and Paris die painful deaths.

8. Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath and Assia Wevill
The Background: The famous poet Sylvia battled depression for much of her life, and it seems that Ted didn't help... anybody.
Collateral Damage: Ted's affair with Assia destroyed his relationship with Sylvia, who put her head in the oven in 1963. In the following years, as Assia's mental health broke down under the stress of her social ostracism following Sylvia's death, Ted began dalliances with much younger women. In 1969, Assia murdered her daughter and committed suicide by the same method as Sylvia had used.

7. O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown Simpson
The Background: O.J. was a famous football player and comedic actor, who beat the crap out of his wife Nicole for a number of years. When she left him, she ended up dead, but he managed to dodge a conviction thanks to some very convenient jury filtering.
Collateral Damage: Nicole's life, Johnny Cochrane's reputation, the Naked Gun trilogy, and everybody's faith in the US justice system.

6. Heloise and Abelard
The Background: When Abelard was appointed as a tutor to the young scholar Heloise in the 12th century, they soon began a passionate sexual affair, were secretly married, and had a child. Fear of retaliation from her family caused Abelard to place Heloise in a convent for protection.
Collateral Damage: The family did retaliate, castrating Abelard, who retreated to a monastery to spend the rest of his life as a scholar and hermit. Heloise unfortunately suffered the same fate, but an increasingly tortuous series of letters between the two former lovers more than hints at her loneliness, sexual frustration, and grief. For his part, he writes that he was only in it for the sex.

5. Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo
The Background: These two charming individuals met in 1987 and married in 1989, just as he began a spree which lead him to be known as the Scarborough Rapist. Karla always encouraged his sadistic sexual fantasies, but later on, she starting assisting him in fulfilling them.
Collateral Damage: The pair raped, mutilated and murdered at least four girls between 1991 and 1993, including Karla's 15 year old sister Tammy, whose virginity was a "Christmas present" to Paul from Karla. Paul Bernardo remains in prison and is unlikely to be released, however, a clever plea-bargain resulted in Karla's being released in 2005.

4. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow
The Background: Both from poor backgrounds in the midst of the Depression, these two progressed up the crime food-chain from petty thugs to full-blown bank-robbing, cop-killing fugitives.
Collateral Damage: Nine police, four civilians, and Bonnie and Clyde themselves ate lead.

3. Oedipus and Jocasta
The Background: In a spectacularly self-fulfilling prophecy, Oedipus is foretold to kill his father and marry his mother.
Collateral Damage: The city of Thebes is ravaged by a plague of infertility as nature backlashes against the royal match. Oedipus eventually discovers the truth about his ancestry after having four children with his mother. She hangs herself in shame, he gouges his eyes out and wanders in blindness until death. Complications of this incestuous legacy result in the deaths of three of Oedipus' children.

2. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
The Background: Henry needed an heir, and of six children born to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, only one daughter had survived - Princess Mary. In order to get around the Catholic Church's disapproval of divorce, Henry created his own Church of England.
Collateral Damage: Anne was charged with incest, witchcraft, adultery and treason after bearing a female child instead of the promised heir. She was convicted and beheaded in 1536. Henry's defection to the Church of England resulted in the Marian Persecutions, enacted by Henry's eventual heir Mary I. She attempted to revert the population to Catholicism by force, burning over 300 Protestants at the stake between 1555 and 1558.

1. Helen and Paris of Troy
The Background: Helen's father was Zeus, who raped her mother Leda in the form of a giant swan. "The face that launched a thousand ships", Helen was married off to the brutish King Menelaus of Sparta, but ran off on a whim with Prince Paris of Troy.
Collateral Damage: The seige and sack of Troy, thousands of Greek and Trojan deaths, several dreadful TV miniseries, and the complete loss of Brad Pitt's credibility.

<-- Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo on their wedding day.
Who else should never have gotten together?


  1. um, Ted Turner?
    dont you mean ted hughes?
    sadly, one of their children committed suicide too

  2. Fixed - thanks! No idea how I blonded out on that one...