Saturday, September 10, 2016

Notes on "Notes of a Dirty Old Man," Charles Bukowski

For those who can't remember past the covert work of Edward Snowden, here's some old-school surveillance: has posted more than one hundred pages of the poet's FBI files going back to 1968. 

Sure, Martin Luther King was being taped at the same time that year in hotel rooms, but the FBI's resources were apparently limitless. It's interesting to note the amount of redacted material: the poet's newspaper column for the alternative press, "The Notes of a Dirty Old Man," was pretty steamy material, and it brought the poet to trial as being mailed "under obscene cover" by the Post Office. 
The "discreet efforts" to verify Bukowski's employment background were headed toward potential obscenity charges -- it was noted he was "employed by the Post Office" in 1968. Imagine the official outrage, if not the actual irony: a postal employee sending obscene material through the mail ... 
At one point Bukowski's uncouth pronouncements attracted even more scrutiny from the FBI: he was suspected of being the Unabomber. Now the agency has released files showing it kept tabs on hundreds of writers, including Bukowski. Apparently, being dead is a good way to eliminate FBI spying.

The full file of 113 documents is online at Here are two samples, which can be enlarged by clicking on the images.

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