Pleasants on Bukowski by way of Fante (1 Viewer)

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
I posted this link elsewhere in the forum, but I found an interesting passage here that would also fit here...

Pleasants\Fante Interviews

I thought this was interesting:

BP: But the fact that you're not reading about him, is that there are a group of people - one I would say are the feminists, who despise him because of his attitude, some of the things he writes about women. But he also takes it on the chin from the New York critics. They choose not to write about him.

JF: Why? Because he's German.

BP: I don't know. Basically that's it, yeah.

JF: And he has a history of being pro-Nazi, however untrue that is.

BP: It was a very minor thing, but they manage to tar him with that brush and he's had a hard time throwing it off.

Anyhow... there's more there about Fante, Bukowski, and tons of other things... A great read overall, but a really harsh introduction...
 
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Is that really true amongst the american critics and readers? The nazi bit I mean. I know about pleasants "visceral bukowski", bukowskis love of Germany, his cross in the van etc. But has this knowledge really passed beyond the closest readership? I mean is this really the general consensus about Bukowski? I have a hard time believing that. Seems ridiculous.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
I don't know about the critics (I never read them), but among his readers and fans, I never heard of anyone concerned about Bukowski's supposed short-lived Nazi sympathies. It never came up when people talked about him in the 60s and after. What people focused on was the quality of the writing, and his subject matter -- drinking, loose women, bad jobs, etc. The academics and the literary snobs tended to hate him for his subjects and downplayed or denied his craftsmanship, while the rest of us thought he was a great writer. No one paid much attention to his politics.
 

mjp

Founding member
BP: It was a very minor thing, but they manage to tar him with that brush and he's had a hard time throwing it off.
Says the jealous poison pen hack piece of shit who perpetuated it in the first place...
 
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It's very easy to stigmatize somebody with German roots you dislike per se as Nazi, how far-fetched and unjustified it may be.
 

DirtyJersey13

The Cruelty of Loveless Love
Yeah, I have come across a few people throughout my journeys that believed that Bukowski was a Nazi. But that's all they "know" about him, so it seems that people who aren't familiar with his works tend to have this view. They must teach this belief in those prim and proper college poetry classes; because as us Bukowski fans, who have read thousands of his poems, stories, and books know, he never really ever touches the subject, let alone denounce Jews. I think there's still that stigma that if you're from old Germany, you most likely are a Nazi in one way or another.

As David points out, he writes mostly about women, booze, poverty, and Los Angeles... those aren't Nazi tendencies in my eyes.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
I think there's still that stigma that if you're from old Germany, you most likely are a Nazi in one way or another.

Plus, Bukowski did mention his fling with Nazism in high school in, 'Ham On Rye', and in the short story, 'Politics', in ,'South Of No North'. Of course, we all know it was just a game he played but it can easily be twisted around by his detractors. Then there's the piece Ben Pleasants wrote about Bukowski being a Nazi and a Jew hater. That certainly did'nt help matters much.
 
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I think there's still that stigma that if you're from old Germany, you most likely are a Nazi in one way or another.

Trust me, Germans from new Germany have to put up with this bullshit, also. Every country worth its salt has its modern sins. The USA, UK, FRG, France, Italy, Japan, Australia and Israel and such are now in our politically correct times answerable for how they treat shit-pond countries. How dare we dwell in relative prosperity when our hut-dwelling brethren are suffering so.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
About that Iron Cross hanging on Buk's VW rear view mirror. It may be his way of saying he's proud to be a German, but they were also a popular fashion fad in the 1960s, having nothing to do with politics or Nazis. It started, I think, with surfers, who wore them on chains around their necks. Then some of the hippies picked up on it (and some of the surfers went on to become hippies) None of the surfers or hippies were Nazis. I had an Iron Cross myself in high school, and I am not German nor a Youth for Hitler type. The mother of a Jewish friend of mine saw it and freaked out. I can't blame her, but she didn't understand it was just a cool looking thing to me and had no ideological significance. So maybe there's that aspect to Buk's Iron Cross.
 
Doesn't he say that he doesn't know about its symbolic meaning or original meaning in a documentary? When he's riding in the VW with the interviewer(?). Don't remember which film but u guys know what I mean.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
I don't remember that scene in a film, but it sounds right. In the 60s, nobody thought about Nazis when they saw an Iron Cross -- except Jews, of course. How could they not? But for non-Jews, it was just an old symbol that looked cool. We didn't think about its origins and original use. Many people wore them, and not just old military relics. New ones were made and sold along with candles, incence, peace symbol jewlery, all that gear. It was standard issue Hippie gear, along with your tie died clothes and granny glasses.

Iron Crosses were/are also big with bikers, but I don't know when that started.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
Isn't the Iron Cross older than just Nazi Germany, though? As someone with no memory for history, I could swear it went back to Prussia even... But who knows? Still, I suppose that argument isn't a spectacular example as the swastika goes back pretty far in the Hindu religion and we all know how that was twisted...

The whole Nazi thing has always bugged me because I feel that it would eventually come out in the writing at some point, whether it were letters, novels... whatever. Here and there in Fante's works there's a little bit of old world racism, but even then it doesn't ever feel malicious... just long-held prejudices from a different time.

With Bukowski, I've always felt the same way. Occasionally, he uses the term "fag" to refer to gay people, but it never feels like its been used in a hateful way... Its just how he referred to gay people.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Isn't the Iron Cross older than just Nazi Germany, though? As someone with no memory for history, I could swear it went back to Prussia even... But who knows? Still, I suppose that argument isn't a spectacular example as the swastika goes back pretty far in the Hindu religion and we all know how that was twisted...

It goes back to World War 1, at least. In the late sixties biker gangs over here wore the WW1 Iron Cross. The only difference between the WW1 and the Nazi WW2 Iron Cross is that the WW1 Iron Cross has a 'W' in the center instead of a swastika. The 'W' probably stands for Kaiser Wilhelm.

Whenever journalists would ask the bikers how come they wore a Nazi Iron Cross they would put on an innocent face and say, 'Oh, but this is'nt a Nazi Iron Cross. This is a WW1 Iron Cross! Look at the 'W' in the center!' :D

Of course, nowadays, the biker gangs loves to flash the swastika, both on Nazi medals and as tattoos.
 
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[...] surfers, who wore them on chains around their necks. Then some of the hippies picked up on it [...] it was just a cool looking thing [...]

something like this eh?

attachment.jpg


So was Buk's Iron Cross a WWI or WWII version?

I think he had two iron crosses at different times.

The one he got as a kid from his grandfather (see 'Ham on Rye') MUST have been a pre-Nazi-cross. But he lost it later.

The one he had in his VW, he had bought at something like a flea-market. We talked about this before. I remember, that mjp confirmed something about that market. Maybe he or the mods can find the thread.
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
Doesn't he say that he doesn't know about its symbolic meaning or original meaning in a documentary? When he's riding in the VW with the interviewer(?). Don't remember which film but u guys know what I mean.

I think the footage you refer to is from Thomas Schmitt's film "Charles Bukowski - East Hollywood" from 1976. Some of the footage was used in "Born Into This", but I can't find the clip with the cross online right now.

I think he had two iron crosses at different times.

The one he got as a kid from his grandfather (see 'Ham on Rye') MUST have been a pre-Nazi-cross. But he lost it later.

The one he had in his VW, he had bought at something like a flea-market. We talked about this before. I remember, that mjp confirmed something about that market. Maybe he or the mods can find the thread.

I think he must have had at least 3. The one from his Grandfather (assuming that story is true), the one he had in his VW (in the footage) which may have been lost after tying it to Pam's door and the one he mentioned buying in the March 1979 letter to Carl Weissner (which was also to hang in the beetle/bug).

[To Carl Weissner]
March 24, 1979

And I bought a new German cross (medal) for my windshield, real thing, $30 from the Alpine Village, a German tourist place up the freeway 5 minutes.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
The one he got as a kid from his grandfather (see 'Ham on Rye') MUST have been a pre-Nazi-cross. But he lost it later.

That's right, Roni! It must have been a pre-WW2 Iron Cross, no doubt.


[To Carl Weissner]
March 24, 1979

And I bought a new German cross (medal) for my windshield, real thing, $30 from the Alpine Village, a German tourist place up the freeway 5 minutes.

The difference between the real thing and a fake copy (there's lots of those around) is the real Iron Cross is made of two halves put together, while the fake ones are cast in one piece.
 
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