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Community Post: It Was A Different Time: 15 Wildly Offensive Quotes From Your Favorite Authors

We’ve all had that experience of speaking to someone we admire only to be completely blindsided by an offensive remark. Your first thought inevitably is “Did you really just say that?”, followed closely by “Why did you have to say that? I really liked you.”

This gets even trickier when the people espousing derogatory remarks are your favorite writers. After all, there’s no rule that says the writers you like are necessarily good people. Still, finding out your most beloved author is, say, deeply sexist can manifest in how you read their fiction. So read on with caution because these awful quotes might just ruin these 15 authors for you.

1. Charles Bukowski
You know him as … the prolific writer of thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels.
But did you know he was also … pretty shitty when it came to women? Some argue that he wasn’t sexist but did have sexist tendencies, which is the kind of thing that sounds nice until you parse it for two seconds and realize that it means literally nothing.
Bukowski is certainly fascinated by women — they’re the ballast of the majority of his writing — but you get the sense that he’d rather sleep with one than sit with one. In a 1971 letter, he wrote:
“… don’t wait for a good woman. she doesn’t exist. there are women who can make you feel more with their bodies and their souls but these are the exact women who will turn the knife into you right in front of the crowd. of course, I expect this, but the knife still cuts. the female loves to play man against man. and if she is in a position to do it there is not one who will not resist. the male, for all his bravado and exploration, is the loyal one, the one who generally feels love. the female is skilled at betrayal. and torture and damnation.”
Granted, he was probably drunk while writing this, but come on, man.

2. Ezra Pound

You know him as … an American poet who contributed to the Imagism movement in the early 20th century.

But did you know he was also … anti-semitic? Pound believed that Jewish money-lending caused World War I and II. He went on Italian radio to claim “You let in the Jew and the Jew rotted your empire, and you yourselves out-jewed the Jew,” and “The big Jew has rotted EVERY nation he has wormed into.”

Pound was later imprisoned for treason, only to be found insane and confined to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in New Jersey, where he wrote letters arguing for his tolerance, writing, “I am ‘of course’ not anti-Semitic.” There is “of course” something about air quotes that makes it read like a reluctant apology.

3. Kingsley Amis

You know him as … late 20th century comedic novelist.

But did you know he was also … a bigot? Amis wrote letters soaked in homosexual and anti-semitic slurs. He referred to homosexuals as “queers,” “poofters” and “queens,” and called Jewish publishers “filthy lying profiteering bugger-the-author Yids.” Keep it classy, Kingsley.

In 1962, the novelist wrote that anti-semitism in all forms must be combated, but three decades later he also wrote, “It’s rather like being a Jew, no matter what you do or don’t do, you can’t help being one.” Guess he had a change of heart?

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