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Charles Bukowski on censorship

This man rocks. Yes Shakespeare, yes Robbie Burns, yes John Donne, yes e.e. cummings, yes Countee Cullen, you are all wordsmiths of the human condition and I love you all. But if you want it raw, unvarnished, unpolished -- if you want it straight from the gut, perfect in its imperfections -- Bukowski is your man.

Go Charles. Couldn't have said it better.

In my work, as a writer, I only photograph, in words, what I see. If I write of "sadism" it is because it exists, I didn't invent it, and if some terrible act occurs in my work it is because such things happen in our lives. I am not on the side of evil, if such a thing as evil abounds. In my writing I do not always agree with what occurs, nor do I linger in the mud for the sheer sake of it. Also, it is curious that the people who rail against my work seem to overlook the sections of it which entail joy and love and hope, and there are such sections. My days, my years, my life has seen up and downs, lights and darknesses. If I wrote only and continually of the "light" and never mentioned the other, then as an artist I would be a liar.

Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can't vent any anger against them. I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere, in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence. They were only taught to look one way when many ways exist.

This is an excerpt. Thanks to Letters of Note (an awesome site, go visit them) for posting the full letter + transcript.

As a follow-up, read Bukowski's poem about the cat. If this doesn't touch you, you must be some sort of alien observer and not human at all.



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