Charles Bukowski – US Author’s Take On Life’s Distractions

The following quote is taken from the classic novel, Women, by Charlies Bukowski. In this semi-autobiographical work, the lead protagonist Hank, who is something of a misanthrope, comments upon all that life throws at us to make us forget what a crock of shit it all is.

Given the recent child abuse by US Federal authorities as they forcibly separated young children from their immigrant parents, much has been said about the improprieties involved. The public of the US and beyond rightly raised their collective voices in protest at Trump’s inhumanity.

Yet scarcely 1 week later, where is the uproar? The children have still been abducted. They are still living in terror, some of them thousands of miles from their loved ones. The public anger has subdued. Focus is moving on to the next big thing. Fascists such as Trump know this. They have long realized that people en masse can be fickle and easily manipulated. That is how the Trumps of this world manage not only to survive, but thrive.

Charles Bukowski knew this back in 1977 when this book was first published. He was certainly not the first to understand how the populace are continually and deliberately distracted by frivolities. Here is his take on this sad proclivity spoken through the words of the inimitable Hank, who is neither a lover of life nor an optimist.

‘People just blindly grabbed at whatever there was: communism, health foods, zen, surfing, ballet, hypnotism, group encounters, orgies, biking, herbs, Catholicism, weight-lifting, travel, withdrawal, vegetarianism, India, painting, writing, sculpting, composing, conducting, back-packing, yoga, copulating, gambling, drinking, hanging around, frozen yoghurt, Beethoven, Bach, Buddha, Christ, TM, H, carrot juice, suicide, handmade suits, jet travel, New York City, and then it all evaporated and fell apart. People had to find things to do while waiting to die. I guess it was nice to have a choice’.

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