Quick, what’s a more bizarre concept: Charles Bukowski being a Nazi sympathizer or his house becoming a cultural landmark?
The impulse to make Bukowski’s home a monument comes from a feeling that he was a more accurate chronicler of the city than other writers, said David Fine, author of “Imagining Los Angeles: A City in Fiction.”
Raymond Chandler, Aldous Huxley, Nathanael West and F. Scott Fitzgerald are far brighter literary lights, along with others who came here to toil as screenwriters. But they tended to portray an apocalyptic landscape of crime noir and empty celebrity. Bukowski grew up here and saw it from a less cynical, more authentic down-to-earth vantage.
“He’s writing about a city that people could recognize as a city of people — drifters and people that hang out at the library and on park benches,” Fine said.
Look, Bukowski is still highly influential and a great writer (Post Office is a good place to start if you’re interested) who had nothing good to say about Nazis or Hitler as far as I know. But doesn’t landmarking where he worked seems somewhat antithetical to the guy’s entire aesthetic…? I guess the irony would be amazing, though.
Anyway, I like what this guy has to say:
Gerald Locklin, author of the biography “Charles Bukowski: A Sure Bet,” said he can’t remember any evidence of anti-Semitism in Bukowski’s work or correspondence he shared with the author.
Still, Locklin said he didn’t see the point of landmarking the home.
“It seems to be kind of a nonissue,” he said. “If I were to look around the place and say: ‘Was there anything particularly remarkable about it?’ No.”