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7 Famous Author Feuds

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Charles Dickens and Hans Christian Andersen via Getty Images

No matter which popular author you disdain, you're bound to find yourself in good company: There's no love lost between these writers.

1. Gore Vidal vs. Norman Mailer

The infamous feud started when Vidal compared Mailer to Charles Manson. When Mailer later punched Vidal at a party, Vidal still had the wherewithal to zing his enemy, saying, “Once again, words fail Norman Mailer.” Here they are flinging barbs back and forth on The Dick Cavett Show in 1971. Mailer had headbutted Vidal backstage.

2. Bret Easton Ellis vs. David Foster Wallace

Using all three of your names apparently isn’t enough to provide an writerly bond, because Easton Ellis posted a whole slew of angry insults about the deceased Foster Wallace on his Twitter feed in 2012. A few of the gems:

Saint David Foster Wallace: a generation trying to read him feels smart about themselves which is part of the whole bullshit package. Fools.

David Foster Wallace carried around a literary pretentiousness that made me embarrassed to have any kind of ties to the publishing scene…

DFW is the best example of a contemporary male writer lusting for a kind of awful greatness that he simply wasn’t able to achieve. A fraud.

But Foster Wallace didn’t care much for Easton Ellis, either. In his 1988 essay “Fictional Futures and the Conspicuously Young,” Foster Wallace sort of rolled his eyes at the younger author:

The attitude betrayed is similar to that of lightweight neo-classicals who felt that to be non-vulgar was not just a requirement but an assurance of value, or of insecure scholars who confuse obscurity with profundity. And it’s just about as annoying.

3. Salman Rushdie vs. John Updike

Things got a little heated between Rushdie and Updike in 2006 when Updike reviewed Rushdie’s Shalimar the Clown, saying, “Why, oh why, did Salman Rushdie ... call one of his major characters Maximilian Ophuls?”

''A name is just a name,'' Rushdie later said. “‘Why oh why’ ...?' Well, why not? Somewhere in Las Vegas there's probably a male prostitute called 'John Updike.'”

He went on to say that Updike’s then-latest novel, Terrorist, was “beyond awful. He should stay in his parochial neighborhood and write about wife-swapping, because it's what he can do.''

4. Henry James vs. H.G. Wells

Once good friends, Wells understandably got a little upset when his pal listed him among authors he considered to be producing “affluents turbid and unrestrained.” Wells responded by referring to James as a “painful hippopotamus,” and after that, the duo sent nasty (but beautifully written) letters back and forth.

5. Joseph Conrad vs. D.H. Lawrence

"D.H. Lawrence had started well, but had gone wrong. Filth. Nothing but obscenities," Conrad once said of Lawrence. And this was before Lawrence wrote Lady Chatterley's Lover! Conrad didn't seem to like many of his contemporaries, actually—he said George Meredith's characters felt "ten feet high" and Herman Melville "knew nothing of the sea."

Lawrence disagreed. "[Melville's] vision is . . . far sounder than Joseph Conrad's, because Melville doesn't sentimentalize the ocean and the sea's unfortunates. Snivel in a wet handy like Lord Jim." He added that pessimism "pervades all Conrad and such folks—the Writers among the Ruins. I can't forgive Conrad for being so sad and giving in."

6. John Keats vs. Lord Byron

"You speak of Lord Byron and me," Keats wrote to his brother in 1819. "There is this great difference between us. He describes what he sees—I describe what I imagine—Mine is the hardest task."

Scholars agree that Keats felt the rivalry more than Byron—Byron mostly seemed to be annoyed that the two of them were even mentioned in the same breath. He even managed to convey a rolling of his eyes when he wrote to John Murray in 1821 to confirm Keats' death:

Is it true - what Shelley writes me that poor John Keats died at Rome of the Quarterly Review?  I am very sorry for it - though I think he took the wrong line as a poet - and was spoilt by Cockneyfying and Suburbing - and versifying Tooke's Pantheon and Lempriere's Dictionary. - I know by experience that a savage review is Hemlock to a sucking author - and the one on me - (which produced the English Bards &c.) knocked me down - but I got up again. - Instead of bursting a blood-vessel - I drank three bottles of claret - and began an answer - finding that there was nothing in the Article for which I could lawfully knock Jeffrey on the head in an honourable way.

7. Charles Dickens vs. Hans Christian Andersen

This celebrated literary pair met just once, but it was more than enough for Dickens. In 1857, Andersen, a longtime Dickens fan, managed to finagle an invitation to his hero’s estate in Gad’s Hill. While Andersen was positively enamored—“Dickens is one of the most amiable men that I know, and possesses as much heart as intellect,” he wrote—the feeling was anything but mutual. Before the Danish author had even set foot in the country, Dickens was already ridiculing his visitor. “He speaks no language but his own Danish, and is suspected of not even knowing that,” he told a friend.

The actual visit didn’t go much better. You know that old saying about houseguests and fish? Apparently Andersen didn’t. Instead of staying a week, as originally intended, Andersen stayed for five. When he finally left, Dickens pinned a note up in the guest room. It read, “Hans Christian Andersen slept in this room for five weeks—which seems to the family AGES!” They never met again, and Dickens eventually refused to correspond at all.

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8 of the Weirdest Gallup Polls
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Born in Jefferson, Iowa on November 18, 1901, George Gallup studied journalism and psychology, focusing on how to measure readers’ interest in newspaper and magazine content. In 1935, he founded the American Institute of Public Opinion to scientifically measure public opinions on topics such as government spending, criminal justice, and presidential candidates. Although he died in 1984, The Gallup Poll continues his legacy of trying to determine and report the will of the people in an unbiased, independent way. To celebrate his day of birth, we compiled a list of some of the weirdest, funniest Gallup polls over the years.

1. THREE IN FOUR AMERICANS BELIEVE IN THE PARANORMAL (2005)

According to this Gallup poll, 75 percent of Americans have at least one paranormal belief. Specifically, 41 percent believe in extrasensory perception (ESP), 37 percent believe in haunted houses, and 21 percent believe in witches. What about channeling spirits, you might ask? Only 9 percent of Americans believe that it’s possible to channel a spirit so that it takes temporary control of one's body. Interestingly, believing in paranormal phenomena was relatively similar across people of different genders, races, ages, and education levels.

2. ONE IN FIVE AMERICANS THINK THE SUN REVOLVES AROUND THE EARTH (1999)

In this poll, Gallup tried to determine the popularity of heliocentric versus geocentric views. While 79 percent of Americans correctly stated that the Earth revolves around the sun, 18 percent think the sun revolves around the Earth. Three percent chose to remain indifferent, saying they had no opinion either way.

3. 22 PERCENT OF AMERICANS ARE HESITANT TO SUPPORT A MORMON (2011)

Gallup first measured anti-Mormon sentiment back in 1967, and it was still an issue in 2011, a year before Mormon Mitt Romney ran for president. Approximately 22 percent of Americans said they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, even if that candidate belonged to their preferred political party. Strangely, Americans’ bias against Mormons has remained stable since the 1960s, despite decreasing bias against African Americans, Catholics, Jews, and women.

4. MISSISSIPPIANS GO TO CHURCH THE MOST; VERMONTERS THE LEAST (2010)

This 2010 poll amusingly confirms the stereotype that southerners are more religious than the rest of the country. Although 42 percent of all Americans attend church regularly (which Gallup defines as weekly or almost weekly), there are large variations based on geography. For example, 63 percent of people in Mississippi attend church regularly, followed by 58 percent in Alabama and 56 percent in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Utah. Rounding out the lowest levels of church attendance, on the other hand, were Vermont, where 23 percent of residents attend church regularly, New Hampshire, at 26 percent, and Maine at 27 percent.

5. ONE IN FOUR AMERICANS DON’T KNOW WHICH COUNTRY AMERICA GAINED INDEPENDENCE FROM (1999)

Although 76 percent of Americans knew that the United States gained independence from Great Britain as a result of the Revolutionary War, 24 percent weren’t so sure. Two percent thought the correct answer was France, 3 percent said a different country (such as Mexico, China, or Russia), and 19 percent had no opinion. Certain groups of people who consider themselves patriotic, including men, older people, and white people (according to Gallup polls), were more likely to know that America gained its independence from Great Britain.

6. ONE THIRD OF AMERICANS BELIEVE IN GHOSTS (2000)

This Halloween-themed Gallup poll asked Americans about their habits and behavior on the last day of October. Predictably, two-thirds of Americans reported that someone in their house planned to give candy to trick-or-treaters and more than three-quarters of parents with kids reported that their kids would wear a costume. More surprisingly, 31 percent of American adults claimed to believe in ghosts, an increase from 1978, when only 11 percent of American adults admitted to a belief in ghosts.

7. 5 PERCENT OF WORKING MILLENNIALS THRIVE IN ALL FIVE ELEMENTS OF WELL-BEING (2016)

This recent Gallup poll is funny in a sad way, as it sheds light on the tragicomic life of a millennial. In this poll, well-being is defined as having purpose, social support, manageable finances, a strong community, and good physical health. Sadly, only 5 percent of working millennials—defined as people born between 1980 and 1996—were thriving in these five indicators of well-being. To counter this lack of well-being, Gallup’s report recommends that managers promote work-life balance and improve their communication with millennial employees.

8. THE WORLD IS BECOMING SLIGHTLY MORE NEGATIVE (2014)

If you seem to feel more stress, sadness, anxiety, and pain than ever before, Gallup has the proof that it’s not all in your head. According to the company’s worldwide negative experience index, negative feelings such as stress, sadness, and anger have increased since 2007. Unsurprisingly, people living in war-torn, dangerous parts of the word—Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, and Sierra Leone—reported the highest levels of negative emotions.

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11 Times Mickey Mouse Was Banned
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Despite being one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved characters, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Mickey Mouse, who turns 89 years old today. A number of countries—and even U.S. states—have banned the cartoon rodent at one time or another for reasons both big and small.

1. In 1930, Ohio banned a cartoon called “The Shindig” because Clarabelle Cow was shown reading Three Weeks by Elinor Glyn, the premier romance novelist of the time. Check it out (1:05) and let us know if you’re scandalized:

2. With movies on 10-foot screen being a relatively new thing in Romania in 1935, the government decided to ban Mickey Mouse, concerned that children would be terrified of a monstrous rodent.

3. In 1929, a German censor banned a Mickey Mouse short called “The Barnyard Battle.” The reason? An army of cats wearing pickelhauben, the pointed helmets worn by German military in the 19th and 20th centuries: "The wearing of German military helmets by an army of cats which oppose a militia of mice is offensive to national dignity. Permission to exhibit this production in Germany is refused.”

4. The German dislike for Mickey Mouse continued into the mid-'30s, with one German newspaper wondering why such a small and dirty animal would be idolized by children across the world: "Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed ... Healthy emotions tell every independent young man and every honorable youth that the dirty and filth-covered vermin, the greatest bacteria carrier in the animal kingdom, cannot be the ideal type of animal.” Mickey was originally banned from Nazi Germany, but eventually the mouse's popularity won out.

5. In 2014, Iran's Organization for Supporting Manufacturers and Consumers announced a ban on school supplies and stationery products featuring “demoralizing images,” including that of Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, and characters from Toy Story.

6. In 1954, East Germany banned Mickey Mouse comics, claiming that Mickey was an “anti-Red rebel.”

7. In 1937, a Mickey Mouse adventure was so similar to real events in Yugoslavia that the comic strip was banned. State police say the comic strip depicted a “Puritan-like revolt” that was a danger to the “Boy King,” Peter II of Yugoslavia, who was just 14 at the time. A journalist who wrote about the ban was consequently escorted out of the country.

8. Though Mussolini banned many cartoons and American influences from Italy in 1938, Mickey Mouse flew under the radar. It’s been said that Mussolini’s children were such Mickey Mouse fans that they were able to convince him to keep the rodent around.

9. Mickey and his friends were banned from the 1988 Seoul Olympics in a roundabout way. As they do with many major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, Disney had contacted American favorites to win in each event to ask them to say the famous “I’m going to Disneyland!” line if they won. When American swimmer Matt Biondi won the 100-meter freestyle, he dutifully complied with the request. After a complaint from the East Germans, the tape was pulled and given to the International Olympic Committee.

10. In 1993, Mickey was banned from a place he shouldn't have been in the first place: Seattle liquor stores. As a wonderful opening sentence from the Associated Press explained, "Mickey Mouse, the Easter Bunny and teddy bears have no business selling booze, the Washington State Liquor Control Board has decided." A handful of stores had painted Mickey and other characters as part of a promotion. A Disney VP said Mickey was "a nondrinker."

11. Let's end with another strike against The Shindig (see #1) and Clarabelle’s bulging udder. Less than a year after the Shindig ban, the Motion Picture Producers and Directors of America announced that they had received a massive number of complaints about the engorged cow udders in various Mickey Mouse cartoons.

From then on, according to a 1931 article in Time magazine, “Cows in Mickey Mouse ... pictures in the future will have small or invisible udders quite unlike the gargantuan organ whose antics of late have shocked some and convulsed others. In a recent picture the udder, besides flying violently to left and right or stretching far out behind when the cow was in motion, heaved with its panting with the cow stood still.”

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