Tuesday, November 4, 2014

from "Politics" (Charles Bukowski)

from Politics
(Charles Bukowski)

At L.A. City College just before World War II, I posed as a Nazi. I hardly knew Hitler from Hercules and cared less. It wa just that sitting in class and hearing all the patriots preach how we should go over and do the beast in, I grew bored. I decided to become the opposition. I didn't even bother to read up on Adolf, I simply spouted anything that I felt was evil or maniacal.

However, I really didn't have any political beliefs. It was a way of floating free.

You know, sometimes if a man doesn't believe in what he is doing he can do a much more interesting job because he isn't emotionally caught up in his Cause. It wasn't long before all the tall blond boys had formed The Abraham Lincoln Brigade--to hold off the hordes of facism in Spain. And then had their asses shot off by trained troops. Some of them did it for adventure and a trip to Spain but they still got their asses shot off. I liked my ass. There really wasn't much I liked about myself but I did like my ass and my pecker.

I leaped up in class and shouted anything that came to my mind. Usually it had something to do with the Superior Race, which I thought was rather humorous. I didn't lay it directly onto the Blacks and the Jews because I saw that they were as poor and confused as I was. But I did get off some wild speeches in and out of class, and the bottle of wine I kept in my locker helped me along. I was surprised that so many people listened to me and how few, if any, ever questioned my statements. I just ran off at the mouth and was delighted at how entertaining L.A. City College could be.

"Are you going to run for student body president, Chinaski?"
"Shit, no."

I didn't want to do anything. I didn't even went to go to gym. In fact, the last thing I wanted to do was to go to gym and sweat and wear a jockstrap and compare pecker-lengths. I knew I had a medium-sized pecker. I didn't have to take gym to establish that.

We were lucky. The college decided to charge a two dollar enrollment fee. We decided--a few of us decided, anyhow--that that was unconstitutional, so we refused. We struck against it. The college allowed us to attend classes but took away some of our privileges, one of them being gym.

When time arrived for gym class, we stood in civilian clothing. The coach was given orders to march us up and down the field in close formation. That was their revenge. Beautiful. I didn't have to run around the track with my ass sweating or try to throw a demented basketball through a demented hoop.

We marched around and made up dirty songs, and the good American boys on the football team threatened to whip our asses but somehow never got around to it. Probably because we were bigger and meaner. To me, it was wonderful, pretending to be a Nazi, and then turning around and proclaiming that my consitutional rights were being violated.

I did sometimes get emotional. I remember one time in class, after a little too much wine, with a tear in each eye, I said, "I promise you, this will hardly be the last war. As soon as one enemy is eliminated somehow another is found. It's endless and meaningless. There's no such thing as a good war or a bad war."

Another time there was a communist speaking from a platform on a vacant lot south of campus. He was a very earnest boy with rimless glasses, pimples, wearing a black sweater with holes in the elbows. I stood listening and had some of my disciples with me. One of them was a White Russian, Zircoff, his father or his grandfather had been killed by the Reds in the Russian revolution. He showed me a sack of rotten tomatoes. "When you give the word," he told me, "we'll begin throwing them."

It occurred to me suddenly that my disciples hadn't been listening to the speaker, or even if they had been, nothing he had said would matter. Their minds were made up. Most of the world was like that. Having a medium-sized cock suddenly didn't seem the world's worst sin.

"Zircoff," I said, "put the tomatoes away."
"Piss," he said, "I wish they were hand grenades."

I lost control of my disciples that day, and walked away as they started hurling their rotten tomatoes.  ...

"Politics" is part of Charles Bukowski's autobiographical writings.  Here is the complete text.

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