I encountered the following paragraph in Jean-François Duval’s Bukowski and the Beats: A Commentary on the Bet Generation:
It was Jack’[Kerouac’s] matinee idol looks that irritated Hank [Bukowski]. “He was even better looking than Marlon Brando,” Joyce Johnson, one of his girlfriends, said of him. As a good-looking rodeo rider and actor, Jack was too handsome to be “real,” authentic in the Bukowskian perspective (which was ever tinged with humor). Jack was lacking in ugliness that, according to Bukowski, allows a truer contact with the reality of the world more than beauty; ugliness is a safe conduct for hell and, as such, is infinitely closer to the truth. In fact, beauty is not even real to Buk’s eyes, beauty doesn’t make sense at all. As he said to [his friend] Sean Penn, “There is no such thing as beauty … it’s kind of a mirage of generalizations.” In Buk’s opinion, Kerouac seemed like a cheap Roy Rogers whose work gets lost in a swirl of glitter and illusions where the word “wonderful” crops up every three sentences. Jack went wrong in trying to go with “heart’s songs” and the illusions attached: hope of salvation on the road, faith in an idealized America, poetically fantasized, escape into an uncertain mysticism, oscillating between Buddhism and Catholicism. This was not Buk’s cup of tea at all.
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