Heroic Drinkers

I’ve recently been trying to assemble a list of the top 5 heroic drinkers of all time, and I’d like some help. The heroic drinker is not just the consumer of the most alcohol, but preferably the one who performs glorious deeds while inebriated. So far I have considered van Gogh, George Best, and the triumvirate of Hemingway-Fitzgerald-Faulkner, perhaps only one of whom should be represented on the list. I also wonder about the exact amont Joyce drank. Dostoevsky as well? He certainly makes the Heroic Gamblers list. Perhaps you will accuse my list of tending towards writers or other artists, but I am open to men of action as well (as I consider Bestie). Artists are merely more capable of fulfilling their capacities while intoxicated.

My friend Matt…he drank a lot of several different things, was dangerously close to alcohol poisoning but didn’t upchuck until given a mixture of salsa and milk (which quite honestly, would make a sober man barf) and was spun around in a circle. He had one hell of a hangover for the rest of the week afterward. I was in awe when he talked about it. :o

<a href = “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimi_Hendrix”>Simply</a> <a href = “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Bai”>greatest</a>, or are you accepting only WASPs?

I believe many of the “greatest drinkers” (if you can fashion a distinction like that) are and have died unknown (AA). You can’t have a Plato for every Socrates-of-the-booze.

If you want to keep with artists you could try Bukowski, who always wrote drunk or Dylan Thomas. I always find his “I’ve had 18 straight whiskies; I think this is a record.” funny.

Perhaps the green fairy types (?) or the Symposium-attending Greeks (?) to use broad strokes. If the drinking of G.W. Bush made him into the man he is today, he also gets a place.

If you choose one of the three I’d go with Fitzgerald. It’s rather evident in his books.

Sir Winston Churchill.

“Madame, I may be drunk, but–BLLARRRGH

All over the front of her dress.

Best retort ever.

Of those three, I would choose Hemingway. As for others, Kerouac was a very big drinker, but his heroism is a tad below Hemingway’s. If you want someone more manly, Sam Peckinpah was quite a drunk, and directly fulfills your criteria by being inebriated on the set of his own movies. The Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu may have outdone even him – his method of work consisted of getting up in the morning, drinking six bottles of sake, falling asleep, then getting up in the afternoon to work, while drinking more sake. His heroism however was of a much more quiet sort than the others.

If you want any US politicians, there’s the always famous Ulysses S Grant. I heard a story once about how some of his fellow generals went to Lincoln complaining that he was always drunk. Lincoln responded by asking what his favor whiskey was so that he could send a few barrels of it to all of his other generals. I think the Whiskey Ring scandal happened under Grant too, so it’s a little funny that aa scandal involving stealing liquor taxes took place under America’s greatest drunk President.

Ironic topic to come up on the week one of the greatest ever died- Mr. Yeltsin himself, and he got hammered on proper Russian vodka, lest we forget. :slight_smile: Though I do second Sin’s suggestion of Sir Winston.

EDIT: Seifer’s vid reminded me of something- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e2lV0ar1Gc

Neb, you beat me to it.

All I can say is that Boris was one of the best.
And he was one of the funniest Russian stand-up comedians:

Of the three that you mention, I’d say Faulkner just because of what he’d say in his interviews in his drunken state. I’m going to try to think of some philosophers that were drunks (Hint: there were a lot of them), but right now I’m going to work.

I don’t know much about his heroism, but Edgar Allen Poe was a heavy drinker. I read that the last sightings of him were of Poe in the gutter on the street drunk off his ass.

Jim Morrison also comes to mind. That guy was a drunk lord, oh boy. Sure was a hero, for popular contemporary music influencing several genres. Although he only did vocals, and didn’t play any of the actual music.

His “total cockwad late in life”-ism was much higher, though. Seriously.

I nominate Shane McGowan. For shame that he isn’t already on here. Iggy Pop gets a place, too.
Oh, and what the fuck, no Oscar Wilde (“I’m a mere few days behind on the leafy greens, and only a few weeks ahead on the small glasses of spirits,”) or Charles Baudelaire?

Poe! Schiller! <a href=“http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSL255358020070425?feedType=RSS”> The guy who deposited his pony in a bank!</a>

DT, I appreciate that you’re European, but you risk seriously damaging your reputation when you laud Edgar Poe around native English speakers. He was certainly a drinker, but his accomplishments aren’t adequate to merit admittance into the top 5 (or the top… 1000). And Arac, I’ve considered more than those five I mention in the original post among friends, Baudelaire being among them, although with the constraints of only naming 5, I thought maybe Van Gogh could represent the heroic absinteurs of the 19th century. As for Wilde, it seems he came to drink (at least in the heroic sense) a bit too late. And I think as far as politians go, I would agree its a tossup between Churchill and Grant, and I think we should go with Winston because I don’t think Hitler drank, which makes Churchill’s case very neatly. Also, Ataturk was immensely heroic for standing against Islam’s ban on alcohol. The suggestion of the Chinese poet is welcome, and there’s no need for narrow-eyed accusations of racism or whatever you were getting at. I simply do not know as much about them. I’m a little miffed at the lack so far of a great Norseman in the running so far, perhaps… Strindberg? And what about Rasputin?

As a side note, I think the Top 5 Heroic Smokers of all time is well-set:

Groucho Marx
Humphrey Bogart
and then I would say either Orwell or maybe Sartre.

Oscar Wilde made up for his late arrival with unbelievable amounts of drinking and doing it more stylishly than any other.
As for Baudelaire, come on, he wrote a poem entirely about Drinking. And drunken necrophilia. And pretty much every other form of drunken day-botch-uh-rees.
Pretty much all oldschool norsemen drank. Sweyn Forkbeard, if you want a specific name, was cited in some histories as getting too drunk and killing diplomats when they displeased him. He was also one of the last pagan kings in christianized Europe. So, honestly, a lot of diplomats probably displeased him. He was a former Jomsviking, to top it off.
I’m going to go drown myself in Vodka while smothering myself in a big, fuzzy beard for forgetting Rasputin.

What about John ‘Ghengis Khan’ Wayne? What about Dean Martin? And if fictional characters count then what about Homer Simpson?

If there is any statesman who should be on such a list, it’s Czar Peter the Great. According to one custom of his court, any foreign diplomat who requested an audience was first required to quaff the “goblet of the great eagle,” a gigantic vessel full of vodka. Needless to say, every diplomat to attempt this feat soon found himself under the table, whereas the Czar would effortlessly drain the entire goblet and proceed to conduct matters of state without further delay.

Sil: Edgar Allen Poe essentially invented the modern genre of mystery, and opened our eyes to science fiction and horror. I’d say that you’re underestimating his influence.

Sil, I appreciate the fact that you’ve got some serious issues, but apart from finding your definition highly questionable and outdated, I do believe you underestimate him (damn, generic already beat me to it) and when seriously considering people like Hitler and Mao if they drank more, and Ataturk, to place in the same list as van Gogh, Orwell, Sartre and Baudelaire, I seriously demand you put my guy with the pony in the bank on rank 1.