Why was Buk rejected from the military?

Hello from a new member from Canada.
I recall mention of Buk receiving '4-F' status that excluded him from the military. I think in 'Born into This' he mentioned something about the army psychiatrist rejected him.
Was he considered to have mental problems? Is that why he was rejected?
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Hello West coast, and welcome! :)
One of the reasons he was rejected was because he "...hides an extreme sensitivity under a poker face". That's what the doctor wrote in his military papers. There may have been other reasons but I don't think anybody really knows...
 
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grayxray

I believe that Buk had mental problems, in fact I wanted to start a discussion but I had no takers. Nothing wrong with mental problems -- he did exhibit signs of unipolar depression, drinking, etc. So he may have had mental problems -- most of the greats did or do.
 

cirerita

Founding member
I hope the following excerpt helps to clear matters a bit.

Taken from The Forging of the Ultimate Literary Loner: Charles Bukowski's Early Poetry, Barcelona, Spain, 2002, pp. 27-30.

[it's a bit academic-oriented, but I was forced to write it this way. Actually, one of the jury members complained and said it was too "informal". Oh, well...]
 

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thebluesman

Founding member
I hope the following excerpt helps to clear matters a bit.

Taken from The Forging of the Ultimate Literary Loner: Charles Bukowski's Early Poetry, Barcelona, Spain, 2002, pp. 27-30.

[it's a bit academic-oriented, but I was forced to write it this way. Actually, one of the jury members complained and said it was too "informal". Oh, well...]

Cirerita, where can I find this book?
 
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cirerita

Founding member
that's not a book, but a dissertation I had to write back in 2002. It's not published and I don't intend to do so ;)

there's another excerpt somewhere in this forum, I just can't recall where...
 
Normal Insanity

I believe that Buk had mental problems, in fact I wanted to start a discussion but I had no takers. Nothing wrong with mental problems -- he did exhibit signs of unipolar depression, drinking, etc. So he may have had mental problems -- most of the greats did or do.

Hi grayxray,

Thought I'd more formally welcome you to the neighborhood.

Okay. I see nothing wrong with asking a question like this or bringing it up as an issue. I think however, that the place to start, in assessing the workings of B's mind, is by looking at the mind of his angry, frustrated and sadistic father, his non-protective and non-nurturing mother, and the totality of his early domestic environment.

Bukowski's mental development would naturally be frustrated or retarded because of his distorted home life"”perhaps severely. As far as I'm concerned, it was not "normal" by any stretch of the imagination, even for his being raised in the typically stupid German environment where beatings were sometimes considered normal. (German- but American-born Henry Miller used to say how terrified his friends were of their fathers because of the almost daily beatings; and I myself get to use the word "stupid" because my ancestry is mostly German, and I can remember my mother saying how her parents never told her they loved her until she was 18. No mollycoddling the kids in a great number of these stupid and emotionally stultified German families!)

As his early life unfolded, his mental competency was called into question during the military draft of WW2 with the draft board, and the FBI too, after he'd had 10 years of irrational physical beatings, starting from age 6 and lasting until he finally decked his materialistic bastard of a father with a well-deserved and perfectly-timed uppercut; not to mention, the catastrophic acne vulgaris that may well have farther isolated him from society at large, at the time he was still being beaten by his father, and his emotionally passive, or fearful, mother never stepped in to protect him physically or emotionally. (My guess is that she was too dependent or afraid of her twisted husband to take a stand, even if she'd wanted to, which I happen to feel was possible.)

So later, if someone looks at Bukowski as being "mentally ill" during certain periods of his life, I'd say that would be normal under the circumstances. But I'd also say that the difference between the "average" person with a "mental illness" and someone like Bukowski, or any other great artist"”is this: They turn their fucked-up-ness into ART: they make something of it; and Bukowski had this ability, and it saved him from going mad, and he milked the Whole of it for what it's worth, and overall came out okay: an essentially decent and giving human being who left an incredible legacy along the way of how he did it; his art saved him from the mad house. He never killed a spouse"”he wasn't a murderer (though he wrote about murder)"”he didn't cut the throats of dogs (though he wrote about it)"”he wasn't a child molester (though he wrote about a child molester)"”he didn't kill his father or mother (though maybe he wanted to)"”he didn't shoot it out with the FBI or the draft board. He may have just made it, man, but his life turned out more than okay. Or he just decided somewhere along the line to just make it.

Best wishes.
 
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grayxray

I wonder if Buk would have been as great if he did not grow up in such an environment, in other words, would Buk have been Buk without this father and his skin problem? What is the old saying, "If it does not kill you it makes you stronger"? Or the Marx "we are products of our environment". Both are very true.

Just a thought and I hope this question was not offensive to anybody on this board.
 
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bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Hi,
Yes Grayxray, you are probably right. If Buk had grown up as the son of an oil tycoon and had not grown up in the sadistic household, coupled with the years of poverty, he would probably have been much different. If he did not have the life experienxces to write about and did not have a need to escape from the misery by going to the library, he would have been much different. I would even say that the physocal problems like the vilgaris may have been caused by the extreme stress of home life. Almost everything that you become is a product of your upbringing. As much as we all loathe Buk's father, he probably did a great service to the literary world. Of course, that was not his plan, but neverless.....


Bill
 
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grayxray

So maybe those that hurt us, insult us, hit us and starts fights are really our friends in a round about way. They help develop us and make us better than we ever thought we could be. While we may think that they contribute nothing to our development, just maybe those are the people that contribute everything to our development.

Just a thought and if I have offended anybody with this thought, I am sorry!
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
They made have made buk grow as an artist, but that is not permission to be an asshole and abuse everyone under the guise of helping them "grow" as an artist. People that are abused can become great geniuses because, or in spite of it. They can also become poverty-striken dregs on society, or serial killers.

I love my kids and try to do anything for them. Does that make me a bad father? By your argument, should I abuse them to help them grow into artists?

Bill
 
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grayxray

Bill I was not making an argument, just an observation about Buk. I am sorry you took offense at it. Certainly people that are not abused can become great geniuses, striken dregs of society and serial killers.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
I am sorry you took offense at it.

Just a thought and if I have offended anybody with this thought, I am sorry!

Just a thought and I hope this question was not offensive to anybody on this board.


Grayxray,

you are very good...

Here is a "best of" from this thread alone. I did not have time to pull the other instances of you apologizing for making comments that you make (offensive or not.)

I hope that YOU did not find this offensive.

All best,
Bill
 
Flat On One's Ass

I wonder if Buk would have been as great if he did not grow up in such an environment, in other words, would Buk have been Buk without this father and his skin problem? What is the old saying, "If it does not kill you it makes you stronger"? Or the Marx "we are products of our environment". Both are very true.

Just a thought and I hope this question was not offensive to anybody on this board.

I myself don't mind your question at all . . . because I feel that it shows your sincerity, which you have, and I truly believe that anyone can profit greatly by studying the extraordinary life of a man such as Charles Bukowski"”others too"”if one takes that interest all the way, baby, to the very end. It brings things out of you, you might never have known, but were realized through him, or so I feel about it, rather than trying to be like him. . . . But to share with you on this business of the impact of the "environment" I'm not going to talk about Bukowski, but what the grandson of James Braddock said of The Cinderella Man, the former heavy-weight champion of the world (off the dvd special features). He put it so beautifully about his grandfather, and I got a lot out of it . . . He said words to the effect that great men are the product of great opportunities . . The worse off you are, the greater the victory . . . The more down on your luck, the more spectacular the rise"”like Braddock's . . . Some people are born in a shoe-box and rise to great heights; some are handed everything at birth and squander it like fools . . . What's the difference? Their success came from being in control of the "sails""”free will"”and not the "wind""”fate, the person's environment, no matter at what point they were in their lives, or how much the odds looked stacked against them. If you're knocked flat on your ass . . . it's getting up off the floor, or the canvas, that matters, all that matters, that's the victory, and finding the indomitable power within to throw the next punch and knock that sonofabitch out of the ring. And there's never been a person who wasn't knocked on his or her ass from something: poverty, mentally-sick parents, holocausts, car accidents, death of a spouse, wars, plagues, bad booze, unfaithful women, and deadbeat friends . . . I think overcoming those seemingly impossible odds, and cruel environments, are what made Braddock and Bukowski great, and that's why they needed to be knocked flat on their asses by destiny in the first place"”it was necessary so they could realize themselves fully, like with all of us, on our own relative plane of existence, and as a blessing too, not as a punishment of punishments . . . I've experienced two major illnesses, since the age of 9 months, including a near-death experience, and that's why I share what I do, for whatever it's worth, maybe nothing. The end.
 
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grayxray

I myself don't mind your question at all . . .
Great thoughts! I really enjoyed reading this. I have pissed off so many people on this board (got thrown out once) I guess my words I just piss off the Buk fans. I don't know why my words cause so much hate toward me, but I resigned from the board last night as this is a great board and I don't want to be the one that dilutes it. I guess the administrator has not had time to cancel me out so I thought I would make a quick response to you.

I will continue to read this board as it helps me with my life. Have a long and rich life.

"Gone but not Forgotted"
 
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Avatars On Rye

poptop,

you should change your nickname to the-ever-changing-avatar :;)

Cirerita,

I feel more like "a man of a thousand faces""”all wrong, lol.
Anyway, thanks for the rare artifacts you've share"”have brought
great enjoyment to this insomni"”make that, mani-ac, and
of course my slant on things says more about me, my background,
than it does of anything Bukowski. So, it's nice that I get to let the
wind out of my own well-worn tires. Good group. Luck.

"Poptop"
 
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mjp

Founding member
...I resigned from the board last night as this is a great board and I don't want to be the one that dilutes it. I guess the administrator has not had time to cancel me out so I thought I would make a quick response to you.
I'm not going to "cancel you out" because you've had some friction. If I did that we'd all be canceled out.

There's a difference between being an abrasive person that few agree with (not saying that's what you are, just making a point) and being an intentional troublemaker. Only intentional troublemakers get the boot.

We all have to deal with people we don't necessarily agree with, here and everywhere else. Dissension and disagreeability (is that a word?) won't get anyone banned, it doesn't work like that.

Having said that, don't ask me to define when dissension becomes intentional irritation, I can't. I know it when I see it, as the kids say.

If people take issue with your posts that doesn't mean there is no place for you here. Speaking to the global "you," as in all of you, not just grayxray. We aren't going to agree on everything, who would want to.

People are free to say that they think you're full of shit though, so I guess you have to be able to deal with that. Speaking from experience, you tend to get used to it. ;)
 
Cirerita,

....and of course my slant on things says more about me, my
background, than it does of anything Bukowski.

"Poptop"

What I meant to say here is that my views on Bukowski are eccentric,
highly personal, and not objective.

Bottoms up
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
I'm not going to "cancel you out" because you've had some friction. If I did that we'd all be canceled out.
...

Hi mjp,
I agree that we don't all need to get along. I think that his bowing out was all part of his plan. Insult people and then when he is called on it, apologize and claim that he is only trying to help people. Then insult again and apologize. Finally, when he is called on his pattern of insult/apologize, he tries to turn the table and claim that he is quitting the forum for the betterment of the community, therefore trying to keep the discussion on HIM (which it has done). This is of course just my opinion, but if you read all of his posts, they would point to someone that is really just playing mind games and trying to get very specific reactions.

Of course, I could be wrong. It would not be the first time!

Bill
 
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grayxray

I am not smart enough to have a plan, believe me. I am not trying to insult anybody and if I have I am sorry. However, there is no way I can prove what I say as it is in my heart and only I know my heart. So we are left to our beliefs. Believe what you wish but I am really not smart enough to create a plan like this, "Keeping the discussion on me". Really, if you feel that -- well you are just wrong.

Have a nice night. And maybe you can help me. I remember a Buk short poem about Christmas Eve, where he is upstairs fixing the sights on his machine gun. Only a few lines but I have lost it. Do you remember the title?
I would appreciate any help you could provide.

Peace
 
My opinion is that Art, and not to romanticize it, comes from pain. So every artist has been disturbed in a sense. Art is almost a form of therapy for helping unhappy, disatisfied people get it all out. I'm sure they're exceptions but really happy, content folks don't usually become artists and frequently artists best works come from a period when they were the least happy and least well adjusted.
 
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