“I’m no preacher but I can tell you this – the lives that people lead are driving them crazy and their insanity comes out in the way they drive.”

Charles Bukowski
Factotum (1975)

GIF from Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

On Gun Control

Ad for toy machine gun, Little Folks Magazine, December 1918

Nobody really believes [the right to bear arms is] about maintaining a militia. It’s about having possession of a tool that makes a person feel powerful nearly to the point of exaltation. …I am not saying that people who love guns inordinately are unstable; I am saying that a gun is the most powerful device there is to accessorize the ego.

Alec Wilkinson
The Dark Presence of Guns
The New Yorker, 24 December 2012

Illustration from Little Folks Magazine, December 1918

Related: The Cultural Fight for Guns

Against Communication

The Charles Bukowski Tapes (1985)

Directed by Barbet Schroeder

[Before you deplore citing the “genius” of Adolph Hitler and Idi Amin, look the word up in a reliable dictionary. It is a morally neutral term.]

On Honesty

Illustration by Pierre et Gilles: Thierry Mugler as Devil (1992)

It took me a long time to discover that the key thing in acting is honesty. Once you know how to fake that, you’ve got it made.

Actor in Peyton Place,” quoted in Edmund Snow Carpenter’s They Became What They Beheld (1970)

Illustration by Pierre et Gilles: Thierry Mugler as Devil (1992)

Related: Lie to Me

In Conclusion


Ineptitude consists in wanting to reach conclusions…What mind worthy of the name, beginning with Homer, ever reached a conclusion?

Gustave Flaubert
The Letters of Gustave Flaubert: 1830-1857

Illustration by Saul Steinberg (1966)

Sexual Determinism and Free Will

Photos: Rock drawings, Ti-n-Lelan, Fezzan, 5000 BC

Later, when the beast-with-two-backs has finished its lowly task and reverted to its separate selves, and the woman is musing over the mystery of life and you are contemplating the meaninglessness of existence, whilst the two of you are sharing a post-coital cigarette (or, if non-smokers, a post-sexual mint) in an effort to boost your blood-sugar levels after so much anxiety and strain, as you lie exhausted after the ritual of compulsive excitation and hollow release, you may well wonder if it was all worth it. Even if your mind in a lucid interval is skeptical about the current market value of sex, your body will be clamorous for a new round of sensation within twenty-four hours, and the whole cycle will begin again.  Practically every human life consists of a collision between sexual determinism and free will; the life of our bodies keeps us earthbound. There is little dignity to be found here but there can be this much saving grace: it hardly ever happens that two people want one another equally and simultaneously, men and women are always at sixes-and-sevens in their moods and desires. This frequently means that sex is a hostile act – one person gets his way, the other merely complies. Indeed one could say as a general rule: men get laid but women get screwed. Once you perceive sex in this light – that it is not some gift of love you are magnanimously bestowing upon another but basically a selfish desire of your own that you want gratified – you will be obliged to recognize that your lady-friend or gentleman-friend is not part of you [even if they agree to share part of life’s journey with you] and are certainly not your possession. You have no ‘right’ to their bodies – or anything else. You may only take which is freely given through diplomatic relations.

Quentin Crisp
Manners from Heaven (1985)

Photos: Rock drawings, Ti-n-Lelan, Fezzan, 5000 BC
Erotica universalis, Volume 1