221. The family (VIII)
Charles Bukowski’s typical position was in a cheap boarding house, blinds drawn, face covered in dabs of toilet paper to cover the suppuration from his acne scars—six empty beer bottles on a chair beside him. His novels are for the deplorables—or were, until the hipsters found them—and relate stories of people too lazy or broken to hold down a middle-class job, too ugly to be welcome in Hollywood.
What inclines Bukowski to the right is his remorseless honesty, a virtue Nietzsche demanded. It is often said that the right is for beauty, but just as in symbolism there are two sides to everything so too there is an ugly right. The right is cold and warm: the cold right is Nietzschean, it tells it how it is; the warm right is religious, they overlook reality’s hardest geometry. What unites the two sensibilities is the view that there are limits—biological or metaphysical—to our actions; they both oppose the complaisant middle.
The ugly right is most at home in LA, the place where the beautiful people live; its natives include James Ellroy and Bukowski, the ugly outsiders—teenage neo-Nazis. The beautiful people often have beautiful opinions—naïve, liberal opinions; only the ugly people see how it really works. “You say you love blacks and Mexicans, how about you stick your ass out of Bel Air, you spoilt cunt?” These people will never be allowed in the bow-tied precincts of the Hoover Institution, the walled garden of establishment conservatism. “That man said the most frightful things about our institutions, thank God Leroy from security arrived so quickly…will I see you at the Eliot seminar tomorrow?”
This is the world of the “groyper” online, the groyper is not a happy-go-lucky Pepe the Frog—the groyper is a repulsive toad. “Oh what have you said now? You disgusting toad!” The feminised liberal turns over a rock in the political garden and finds the groyper, its skin filmed with sweat but quite content in its filthy hole—it is rather proud of itself, actually. So gross! I love you!
The lone vigilante needs decadence to express his eroticised outrage. Ellroy: self-confessed nightcrawler, panty sniffer, and goofball freak frequently found passed out in a country club golf bunker—yet also a strident moralist, a man who adores cops. LA is an overripe peach, in her hidden places she has already turned to mould. The pervert-moralist adores the pastel-purple permanent corruption, his life is one long LA twilight; he is the private eye, the bad-good guy. He knows the score, the cops and priests are as bad—if not worse—than the hookers and hustlers on the street: “You’re all whores! Camwhores! Porno whores from San Fernando! Schwarzenegger? He sold out! He sold out to the Jews and the fucking Armenians! Armenians!” “Sweetie, here’s your beer…and remember it’s your turn to pick up Suzie from your ex this weekend. And if you’re going to do coke can you wipe it off the toilet seat before my mom comes over?” “Yes, kitten, but…”
I went to LA once, but the bus broke down in the vast suburban outskirts by a motel that had been bricked up at every window. Black whores were scatted about the place and there was a palm tree at every corner. I was stuck there with a fag and two Korean grandmothers—it was just us and the swollen dog carcass in a storm drain. Cars squealed their wheels to turn the intersection—you waited for the shot that never came. Greyhound employees ushered us onto a replacement bus full of Mexicans: “What the fuck are you doing on our bus, white man?” That was what their faces said, shortly before the Greyhound employees pulled us off. It was okay, the Korean grandmothers made it to the airport and we made it to Muscle Beach—pick your way barefoot through the needles in the sand and drink your milkshake in the twilight. God, I love LA.