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One hell of an obituary
July 5, 2007 11:40 AM   Subscribe

"Count Gottfried von Bismarck, who was found dead on Monday aged 44, was a louche German aristocrat with a multi-faceted history as a pleasure-seeking heroin addict, hell-raising alcoholic, flamboyant waster and a reckless and extravagant host of homosexual orgies."
posted by Gamblor (78 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Man, the dude was mad louche.
posted by Mister_A at 11:46 AM on July 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


The Bismarck that sinks itself.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:47 AM on July 5, 2007 [4 favorites]


"When not clad in the lederhosen of his homeland, he cultivated an air of sophisticated complexity by appearing in women's clothes, set off by lipstick and fishnet stockings"

Ha! I saw this on Present Tense yesterday and it had me cracking me up all day. Sadly, google image search gave me nothing :(
posted by jamesonandwater at 11:48 AM on July 5, 2007


.
posted by dammitjim at 11:48 AM on July 5, 2007


I recall this from last August -- "Tragedy hits another party hosted by flamboyant count. Gay party at aristocrat's penthouse ends in 60ft death plunge."
posted by ericb at 11:49 AM on July 5, 2007


"He never married."

You don't say. Hmmm.
posted by Zephyrial at 11:49 AM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Paris Hilton is Debbie Boone next to this guy.
posted by psmealey at 11:53 AM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I never thought I'd be so intensely jealous of an obituary.
posted by lekvar at 11:54 AM on July 5, 2007


Huh. Rocky Horror lives!
posted by five fresh fish at 11:57 AM on July 5, 2007


I can only hope my own obituary reads so energetically.
posted by gomichild at 11:57 AM on July 5, 2007


Ach. What a painful life to live without consequences.
posted by litfit at 12:06 PM on July 5, 2007


I'm getting the impression from this obit that Count Von was a little light in the lederhosen. Or am I reading too much into it?
posted by DU at 12:07 PM on July 5, 2007


was a louche German aristocrat

Damn, I was expecting absinthe...
posted by pupdog at 12:10 PM on July 5, 2007


Goddamn. We really need to get serious about partying if we're to stand even the tiniest chance of defeating this dead man.

OK, who's with me?
posted by aramaic at 12:11 PM on July 5, 2007


"...and became an enthusiastic, rubber-clad member of the Piers Gaveston Society and the drink-fuelled Bullingdon and Loders clubs."

Clubs dedicated to sexual excess and destructive binges? I'm more than a little upset that I'm only just now learning about these people.
posted by Gamblor at 12:13 PM on July 5, 2007


The only obituary I can think of that could legitimately end with "...The Aristocrats!"
posted by Prospero at 12:14 PM on July 5, 2007 [14 favorites]


He's freebasing in heaven now.

.
posted by boo_radley at 12:19 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I used to write obits for the Chicago Tribune years ago....damn would I have loved to write that one. That is just freakin gold

Actually Prospero....I think the last line speaks for itself.

Like we wouldnt have fiured that out after the page and a half on his gay orgies.

I just hope the world remembers me with similar fondness.
posted by timsteil at 12:22 PM on July 5, 2007


I don't need to read anything else today after that lederhosen line.
posted by 2sheets at 12:22 PM on July 5, 2007


Hey, Hugh Grant was a member of Piers Gaveston. something something something, oral sex from a prostitute in a parked car!
posted by DU at 12:24 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Goddamn. We really need to get serious about partying if we're to stand even the tiniest chance of defeating this dead man.
OK, who's with me?


Well, aramaic, the MeFi 10-Year Anniversay is coming up. We have two years to plan this thing. You start rounding up the whores, I'll secure the opium...
posted by lekvar at 12:26 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


since he was apparently childless, could we have a moment of measured applause for the end of the von bismarck line?
posted by bruce at 12:28 PM on July 5, 2007


Say what you will about the tenets of hedonism, Gamblor, at least it's an ethos.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:31 PM on July 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


*declares self the inheritor of the von Bismarck line* ; >
posted by amberglow at 12:32 PM on July 5, 2007


since he was apparently childless, could we have a moment of measured applause for the end of the von bismarck line?

No, we can't because he had an older brother, Carl-Eduard von Bismarck.
posted by peeedro at 12:32 PM on July 5, 2007


since he was apparently childless

Childless, save for one miniature clone.
posted by litfit at 12:36 PM on July 5, 2007


"Coroner Dr Paul Knapman said a room in the flat contained what most people would consider 'unusual' and 'bizarre'.

He listed items found, including a large rubber tarpaulin on the floor, towels, lubricants, buckets of sex toys, propped-up mirrors, a butane gas canister, a box containing dozens of syringes, bottles of vodka and a television and video player, set up to show 'scenes of a pornographic nature'.

...

Giving evidence at Westminster Coroner's Court today, Count von Bismarck said he had not seen any homosexual activity."

posted by flashboy at 12:42 PM on July 5, 2007


I guess they still do make them like they used to.

Olivia Channon, incidentally, was the grand-daughter of Henry "Chips" Channon, with whom Bismarck seems to have had a few similarities. Noted gadabout of late 1930s to early 1950s politics and society in England. Married one of the Guinness family, later had an affair with Terence Rattigan. His diaries were published some years back, albeit highly expurgated. Story is that they will be available in 2018 after all the innocent and guilty are too old or dead to care.

I, for one, can hardly wait.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:51 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


von Bismark was a great man, even if the world is no longer capable of appreciating such elegance and sophistication. That said, the Germans, really, they overdo everything.
posted by nixerman at 12:58 PM on July 5, 2007


So is this the official end of the Golden Age?
posted by Meatbomb at 1:00 PM on July 5, 2007


Hey, Hugh Grant was a member of Piers Gaveston. something something something, oral sex from a prostitute in a parked car!

Now-Millionaire Divine Brown: "I Love Hugh Grant, Hugh Grant Put My Kids Through School".
posted by ericb at 1:00 PM on July 5, 2007


Forget "."

Try "!"
posted by chinston at 1:04 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm getting the impression from this obit that Count Von was a little light in the lederhosen. Or am I reading too much into it?

This sentence was a dead-giveaway for me that he was more than a little light in the lederhosen:
"Never concealing his homosexuality, von Bismarck continued to appear in public in various eccentric items of attire..."
posted by ericb at 1:05 PM on July 5, 2007


bruce: he has a brother.
posted by mendel at 1:09 PM on July 5, 2007


So is this the official end of the Golden Shower Age?
posted by TedW at 1:14 PM on July 5, 2007


Somehow, even an exclamation point doesn't do the departed justice...

\m/
posted by uri at 1:14 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


The only obituary I can think of that could legitimately end with "...The Aristocrats!"

Incidentally, this is why, although I enjoyed the movie, I felt like a fundamental element of the aristocrats joke was lost on me. This guy's life is precisely what first snaps into my mind when I hear the word. Yet many of the comedians seemed to think that the contrast between the debauchery and the supposed refinement of an aristocrat was funny. I mean, the debauchery was funny in itself, but at the same time when I heard the punch line, I was like, "Uh, exactly."
posted by chinston at 1:17 PM on July 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


My only regret is that the obit writer called him a "flamboyant waster" thus missing the chance to call him a "flamboyant wastrel". Wastrel is one of those loaded words that says much in a few letters.
posted by Cranberry at 1:18 PM on July 5, 2007


Louche German = awesome obituary.
posted by hypocritical ross at 1:26 PM on July 5, 2007


Get a room, funboys.
posted by electroboy at 1:39 PM on July 5, 2007


Huh. Rocky Horror lives! - five fresh fish

That was my first reaction too. RIP sweet transvestite.
posted by Mister_A at 1:41 PM on July 5, 2007


thanks hypocritical ross

In what became known as the Orgy of the Year, Immendorff was discovered naked having his nipples licked by a retinue of seven young filles de joie, while 11 grams of cocaine lay ready for consumption on a Versace ashtray nearby.

Notwithstanding his exotic private life - he had also been a luminary of Dusseldorf's sadomasochistic scene - Immendorff was regarded by many critics as an original and vigorous artist of great complexity.


vigorous indeed.
posted by geos at 1:41 PM on July 5, 2007


Dammit, I want to lead an "exotic life of gilded aimlessness!"

Life is so unfair.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:44 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Did they have a cause of death in there? Also I didn't get the part about he "only earned a third" and then later he is running around with a PhD. Do they give booby-prize PhD's in England?

These are quibbles. That is a great post.
posted by bukvich at 2:00 PM on July 5, 2007


His removal from Oxford was so abrupt that he was not given time to settle his bills; Prince Ferdinand sent a servant who did the rounds of von Bismarck's favoured watering-holes, restaurants and his tailor bearing a chequebook.

That's how you know you're someone. Some polite Englishman running about with a chequebook, paying off your tabs.
posted by ninjew at 2:00 PM on July 5, 2007


You know who else liked lederhosen?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:07 PM on July 5, 2007


Hint: it was Hitler.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:10 PM on July 5, 2007


Did they have a cause of death in there?

If I had to guess, I'd say everything.
posted by Gamblor at 2:12 PM on July 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


Be it known, though, that most cats don't like wearing lederhosen.
posted by ericb at 2:14 PM on July 5, 2007


"British newspapers reported that he had suffered a heroin overdose. A postmortem examination was to be held."*
posted by ericb at 2:16 PM on July 5, 2007


The only obituary I can think of that could legitimately end with "...The Aristocrats!"

Incidentally, this is why, although I enjoyed the movie, I felt like a fundamental element of the aristocrats joke was lost on me. This guy's life is precisely what first snaps into my mind when I hear the word. Yet many of the comedians seemed to think that the contrast between the debauchery and the supposed refinement of an aristocrat was funny. I mean, the debauchery was funny in itself, but at the same time when I heard the punch line, I was like, "Uh, exactly.""


I believe that one of the British comedians interviewed makes this point exactly in the film The Aristocrats.
posted by kosem at 2:26 PM on July 5, 2007


"He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes, he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament... "
posted by kcds at 2:29 PM on July 5, 2007


I keep rereading the obit, and I find new things to envy each time. I hope SCIENCE can preserve his brain and transplant it into Hedonism-bot.
posted by boo_radley at 2:33 PM on July 5, 2007


Metafliter: "an exotic life of gilded aimlessness"
posted by salishsea at 2:39 PM on July 5, 2007


I remember this cat! He was in The Simpsons:

Ja ja ja, mach schnell mit der art things, huh? I must get back to Dancecentrum in Stuttgart in time to see Kraftwerk. Hey, und dummkopf! Watch out for the CD-changer in my trunk, eh? Idiot.
posted by John of Michigan at 2:54 PM on July 5, 2007


Otto:"my dear I could buy a battleship with what I've spent on you. Olivia: "you could float one with what you've spent in me!"
posted by hortense at 3:02 PM on July 5, 2007


shouldn't that be "you could float man one with what you've spent in me!"...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:14 PM on July 5, 2007


(kcds, is that Mr. Show?)
posted by LooseFilter at 3:16 PM on July 5, 2007


This is a far better headline.
posted by rhymer at 3:25 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wowee, the Bismarcks have come a long way since "sondern durch Eisen und Blut."

But I'd probably still have to agree with Tom Lehrer that "the juiciest, spiciest, raciest obituary it has ever been my pleasure to read" was that of Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel.
posted by Zonker at 3:38 PM on July 5, 2007


I hope SCIENCE can preserve his brain and transplant it into Hedonism-bot.

It sounds like he devoted most of his life to getting out of his head. Science is presumably welcome to his brain - he was clearly devoted to escaping it, or rather the thoughts within.

I found this story rather sad.
posted by WPW at 3:46 PM on July 5, 2007


(kcds, is that Mr. Show?)
posted by LooseFilter


That's a Dr. Evil quote from one of the Austin Powers flicks, IIRC.
posted by retronic at 4:08 PM on July 5, 2007


Otto Bismark had a famous quote, which I can't find right now, that goes something like - the first generation makes the money, the second generation becomes a financial manager to try and keep it, the third generation goes into the arts and the fourth generation blows it.
posted by stbalbach at 4:16 PM on July 5, 2007


He was a hero, this will be my first and only ".", for a lion of the faith, a man who, for once, has truly earned a moment of silence.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:16 PM on July 5, 2007


It sounds like he devoted most of his life to getting out of his head.

Yes, it seems that at every possible opportunity, the Count got fried off his nut.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:33 PM on July 5, 2007


Ja ja ja, mach schnell mit der art things, huh? I must get back to Dancecentrum in Stuttgart in time to see Kraftwerk. Hey, und dummkopf! Watch out for the CD-changer in my trunk, eh? Idiot.
posted by John of Michigan at 4:54 PM on July 5


How coincidental that this episode rerun aired this evening on my local Fox affiliate.
posted by ninjew at 4:41 PM on July 5, 2007


This made my day. Vielen Dank!
posted by everichon at 4:44 PM on July 5, 2007


It's pleasing to know there's still dissolute aristocrats from dwindling families living a truly decadent lifestyle. Much better than Bush's coke and DUIs.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:46 PM on July 5, 2007


Simpsons clip, sound is off.
posted by geoff. at 6:46 PM on July 5, 2007


He was a hero? As an ex-Cambridge undergraduate Oxford post-graduate I've seen at first hand people of this ilk. Wasters who happen to very rich. They're horrible, selfish, destructive people.
posted by snoktruix at 7:18 PM on July 5, 2007


Reading this obit, I found that I had to keep checking the date to make sure it wasn't 1 April. I mean, this guy sounded like some caricature dreamt up by a reporter to mock the Germanic nations.

I mean, I was thinking of Sidd Finch, for fuck's sake.

But this Bismarck guy is (was) real? I am so happy to finally have it demonstrated to me that truth is stranger than fiction.
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:34 PM on July 5, 2007


"We really need to get serious about partying if we're to stand even the tiniest chance of defeating this dead man."

I'll drink to that!
posted by davy at 9:02 PM on July 5, 2007


It looks like I might well outlive him and I'm just a lowlife lumpenprole.
posted by davy at 9:07 PM on July 5, 2007


Count Gottfried's great-uncle and namesake was a Nazi official who allegedly became part of the famous plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

More here.
posted by lukemeister at 10:04 PM on July 5, 2007


Zephyrial writes '"He never married."

'You don't say. Hmmm.'


That's a standard last line for obituaries of gay men, from the days when being gay could only be implied. Using it in this context is bloody genius.

chinston writes 'I mean, the debauchery was funny in itself, but at the same time when I heard the punch line, I was like, "Uh, exactly."'

I thought the same thing, and as kosem says, at least one of the British comics makes the point in the documentary - it's a much funnier joke with the (original?) alternative '...the Sophisticates!' punchline.
posted by jack_mo at 2:26 AM on July 6, 2007


Having thought the same thing about "the Aristocrats!," I hereby propose a punchline of "the Baptists!"
posted by ancientgower at 4:08 AM on July 6, 2007


I've also heard it with the punchline "...the Debonaires!", who appear to be a reggae band as well...they sound alright, but perhaps not as entertaining as their namesakes.
posted by howfar at 6:36 AM on July 6, 2007


a room in the flat contained what many people would call “unusual” and “bizarre”. Amongst other things, police officers found buckets full of dildos, large rubber sheets, gallons of lubricant, mirrors, a butane gas canister and a box full of syringes. Obviously, his parties were not for the shy or retiring.


Is this the man we're looking for? He doesn't look a day older than... wha? 43? Eh?
posted by dash_slot- at 11:34 AM on July 11, 2007


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