The television show I’m currently binging is Californication. The show follows David Duchovny, who portrays Hank Moody, a morbid and intensely lax writer, through his struggles with alcohol, women, and writing. The man is the definition of a jerk. Charles Baudelaire’s tone in Fleur Du Mal resonates with the character of Hank Moody. Baudelaire’s entire being is centered around being a morbid jerk in order to fully connect to the world. His philosophy is to write about death and decay as part of life with an enlightening relationship to the good parts of life—without one, we can’t appreciate the other. I think of Baudelaire not as a sad and depressed drunk, but as the happy drunk uncle who encourages the kids to drink and feel life for call it can offer you. In “To the Reader”, Baudelaire encourages us to be drunk on life. He’s very blunt in his delivery, but not in a sad way, in a just-so way. He discusses the phenomenon that we consider certain things, such as drunkenness, bad, but if we all have these same desires then how bad could they really be? This kind of reminded me of, “If It Makes You Happy”, a Sheryl Crow song. She sings, “if it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad.” I think Baudelaire would appreciate this song because he says exactly that: if we are happy when we are drunk, sleeping with people, and just in general life, then why are we complaining about it? If we all can understand what he’s talking about—and he calls the reader out on knowing exactly what he’s talking about—then why are you judging me? It’s downright hypocritical. Hank is very much the same and often likes to go on rants about how whatever he’s doing—drinking, smoking, sleeping around—is justifiable solely because human urges are human urges and if we deny them then were just lying to ourselves. It’s the law of the jungle. We all have things that trigger our bodies, solely out of reflex, and if we begin to acknowledge them as normal and stop rejecting them, then we can all smile and move on with our lives. Baudelaire is a “we” writer. “We” must do this, “we” must do that. He projects onto the world, rightly so, all of his desires as universal. We all let ourselves give in to the same satanic urges, and even if we don’t, we all have them so they must be normal. Baudelaire and Hank remind me of each other because they are the same type of writer. I can only assume, then, that they are the same type of person. I genuinely could see these two men sitting next to each other at a bar and contemplating the existence of life, love, and alcohol. Then someone will punch someone by nature of them both being drunk assholes who don’t have another care in the world besides getting their words on paper, and they’ll eventually go home as friends because bad things just happens sometimes.