There's this thing making the rounds about historians with an alternate theory about Van Gogh's ear: that he lost it to his turbulent friendship with Paul Gaugin, an excellent fencer who these historians believe removed the ear with a sword or a knife. It's out there on the Web and I highly recommend reading it, because overall, it swayed me. I believe these historians now.
However, what's fucked up about these historians is, they came up with an alternate theory about Van Gogh's ear, so in a way they're his defenders or apologists, because they're saying he didn't cut off his own ear. That makes him less crazy than everybody thought. But not much less crazy. They're not disputing at all that when the ear came off, he went over to this brothel and he gave it to this hooker. Which starts up at least as many questions as it answers. Was this some love triangle? Was Van Gogh just out of money, and figured, shit, I lost my ear, maybe I can get a blow job for it? Did it work?
That would make a great movie. The love triangle that ended with a severed ear. "It's too much drama, baby. If this happens again I'll be deaf. I'm done, I'm out, I'm gone - but I'll always love you, and I want you to have something to remember me by. Take my ear. It doesn't work any more, but maybe you can use it as a coaster and reminisce about me fondly while you drink your morning coffee on a lazy Sunday." Or: the hooker who accepted body parts as payment. Maybe she was working for Dr. Frankenstein. That would be a cool movie too. Actually that would be better as a sitcom. A really fucked-up sitcom. Like The Addams Family meets Showgirls.