In 1985, the Public Library of Nijmegen, Netherlands pulled from its shelves Charles Bukowski’s Tales of Ordinary Madness, calling the book “very sadistic, occasionally fascist and discriminatory against certain groups (including homosexuals).” Bukowski reacted in a letter to journalist Hans van den Broek:
If I write badly about blacks, homosexuals and women it is because of these who I met were that. There are many “bads”—bad dogs, bad censorship; there are even “bad” white males. Only when you write about “bad” white males they don’t complain about it. And need I say that there are “good” blacks, “good” homosexuals and “good” women?
In my work, as a writer, I only photograph, in words, what I see. If I write of “sadism” it is because it exists, I didn’t invent it, and if some terrible act occurs in my work it is because such things happen in our lives. I…
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