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Norman Mailer, Dead at 84
November 10, 2007 4:43 AM   Subscribe

Norman Mailer Dies at 84
posted by muddylemon (105 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by fatllama at 4:44 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by muddylemon at 4:46 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by nonmerci at 4:52 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by Jenga at 4:56 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by billysumday at 4:57 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 4:58 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by chillmost at 5:02 AM on November 10, 2007


In back of the Press Site, more than a hundred radio and TV trailers were now arrayed behind one another in ranks and rows of huge white ruminants, the very sacred cows of American technology. Yet there was only one trailer reserved for food" (91). Admitting that it "was next to heartwarming" to discover a piece of poor planning amid the "icy efficiencies" of NASA, he describes the grotesque results of placing one's faith in machines when it should be placed in men.

The trailer was inadequate to the needs of the Press -- over a hundred waited in line, more than a hundred walked away in disgust. The line drifted forward about as fast as a tide works up a beach. The trailer interior consisted of a set of vending machines for chiliburgers, hamburgers, pastries -- all people wanted were cold drinks. So the line crawled, while everyone waited for the same machine. Nobody was about to have machine-vended chiliburgers at halfpast eight in the morning.

But so many demands on the iced-drink machine caused malfunctions. Soon, two vending machine workers were helping to service the machine. Still it took forever. Coins had to go into their slot, change be made, cups filled, tot of cracked ice dropped, syrup poured, then soda. Just one machine. It was pure American lunacy. Shoddy technology, the worst kind of American shoddy, was replacing men with machines which did not do the work as well as the men. This crowd of a hundred thirsty reporters could have been handled in three minutes by a couple of countermen at a refreshment stand in a ball park. But there was an insidious desire to replace men everywhere with absurd machines poorly designed and abominably put together; yes, this abominable food vending trailer was the proper opposite number to those smug and complacent VlPs in their stands a half mile away; this was the world they had created, not the spaceship.

posted by psmealey at 5:06 AM on November 10, 2007


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I'm not sure if he would've liked all of this. This website. Us.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:11 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:21 AM on November 10, 2007


Well, fug.
posted by ardgedee at 5:22 AM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


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posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 5:22 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by hojoki at 5:24 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by spoobnooble at 5:24 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by -t at 5:30 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by dobbs at 5:30 AM on November 10, 2007


Yeah Chuck, he woulda hated it. Ain't it grand? =)

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posted by ZachsMind at 5:39 AM on November 10, 2007


I just finished reading his most recent and final book, On God, three days ago. It's most useful as insight into what he was thinking about when writing his last novel, The Castle in the Forest, but it's also interesting in its own right. He's defiantly unconcerned with theological rigor, or with identifying himself with any revealed religion (which he expresses a strong distaste for). He solves the problem of evil by willingly concluding that God is not perfect:

I have spent the last fifty years trying to contemplate the nature of God. If I speak specifically of fifty years, it is because my pride in the first thirty-odd years of my life was to be an atheist--how much difficult and honorable I then considered that to be, then to have a belief in an All-Mighty divinity. I was a novelist, after all [...] and so I was intensely, even professionally, aware of the variety and complexity of human motivation and its offspring, morality. It took a good number of years to recognize that I did believe in God--that is, I believed there is a divine presence in existence[....]

To say again, I am a novelist. The best of us spend our lives exploring what might be human reality. In consequence, the conviction grew that I had the right to believe in the God I could visualize: an imperfect, existential God doing the best He (or She) could manage against all the odds of an existence that not even he, our Creator, entirely controlled. [...] God, as I could visualize such a being, was an Artist, not a lawgiver, a mighty source of creative energy, an embattled moralist, a celestial general engaged in a celestial war, but never a divinity who was All-Good and All-Powerful.


That is perhaps also how Mailer, at his best, visualized himself.
posted by Prospero at 5:55 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Knock 'em dead, Norman.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:55 AM on November 10, 2007


Just pulled The Armies of the Night off the shelf and opened it at random to p. 147 and got this:

It was as if the air had changed, or light had altered; he felt immediately much more alive—yes, bathed in air—and yet disembodied from himself, as if indeed he were watching himself in a film where this action was taking place. He could feel the eyes of the people behind the rope watching him, could feel the intensity of their existence as spectators. And as he walked forward, he and the MP looked at one another with the naked stricken lucidity which comes when absolute strangers are for the moment absolutely locked together.

Damn, the man could write.

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posted by languagehat at 5:55 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


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posted by the number 17 at 6:05 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by Mister Bijou at 6:06 AM on November 10, 2007


This 1963 Paris Review interview [pdf] is pure Mailer.
posted by mediareport at 6:18 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by sushiwiththejury at 6:19 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by mattbucher at 6:20 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by muckster at 6:21 AM on November 10, 2007


"I'm not hurt! He's hurt worse than me!"
posted by Prospero at 6:21 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


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posted by arnold at 6:32 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:34 AM on November 10, 2007


We went to war just to boost the white male ego

Norman Mailer & Marshall McLuhan debate 1968 - 27 minute video clip

Norman Mailer vs Gore Vidal smackdown - Dick Cavett - skip to 29 minutes

Norman Mailer's All-Time Enemy List

Time's Up - The Hudson Review
posted by madamjujujive at 6:36 AM on November 10, 2007 [7 favorites]


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In other news, Gore Vidal was seen doing the happy dance.

Darn, madamjujujive beat me to the reference
posted by fuse theorem at 6:42 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


He wrote about hipsters before most of us were born.

Indomitable guy, indispensable American author (even if he spent most of his life writing for a public who never stopped thinking that The Naked and the Dead was his best work), and an obviously complicated, stabby man. Will be sorely missed.

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posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 6:53 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by saturnine at 6:55 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:58 AM on November 10, 2007


To join the naked and the dead...

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posted by jonp72 at 7:21 AM on November 10, 2007


"There are two kinds of brave men: those who are brave by the grace of nature, and those who are brave by an act of will."*
posted by ericb at 7:35 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by jdfalk at 7:36 AM on November 10, 2007


Norman Mailer on his hometown -- Provincetown:
"There could be no other town like it. If you were sensitive to crowds, you might expire in summer from human propinquity. On the other hand, if you were unable to endure loneliness, the vessel of your person could fill with dread during the long winter....

Conceived at night (for one would swear it was created in the course of one dark storm) its sand flats still glistened in the dawn with the most primeval innocence of land exposing itself to the sun for the first time."

– Tough Guys Don’t Dance, 1984
posted by ericb at 7:43 AM on November 10, 2007


The Norman Mailer Society.
posted by ericb at 7:43 AM on November 10, 2007


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What disappoints me most about his death is that we'll never get the sequel to The Castle in the Forest.
posted by Bromius at 7:47 AM on November 10, 2007


I never studied him at school - I always assumed no one teaches him because it's simply uninspired popular fiction, much like Tom Wolfe.
posted by four panels at 7:52 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by farishta at 7:56 AM on November 10, 2007


Mailer jogged past me on the West End of Commercial Street in Provincetown about 15 years ago. He looked great. I thought, there is a man.
posted by digaman at 7:58 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


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posted by Mocata at 8:02 AM on November 10, 2007


What a life [culled from wikipedia].
- One of the founders of The Village Voice.
- In 1960, Mailer stabbed his second wife, Adele Morales.
- He had a daughter to his fifth wife Carol Stevens. They were married for one day.
- He ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic Party primary for Mayor of New York City.
- He spearheaded convicted killer Jack Abbott's successful bid for parole. Abbott committed a murder within weeks of his release.
And, as languagehat said, "Damn, the man could write."
posted by tellurian at 8:12 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by thivaia at 8:16 AM on November 10, 2007


I always assumed no one teaches him because it's simply uninspired popular fiction, much like Tom Wolfe.

I always kind of put him in the Jackson Pollock or Wm S Burroughs category... that you can take or leave his work, but his life was a work of art, a true original. Overall his work didn't do much for me, but the Executioner's Song is undeniably one helluva read.
posted by psmealey at 8:25 AM on November 10, 2007


I'm not a big fan - too much of his writing is philosophically soggy and discombobulated and laughably macho - but those same qualities made his persona, that amalgam of bile and arrogance and offkilter sympathies, all but irresistible. He always, unflaggingly, conveyed the sense that he was fighting to save his country's soul and his own, and that he was both troubled and exhilarated by how inseparable the two quests were. He lived through the death of the writer as culture hero - his own death, in a sense - and spent that afterlife trying to jumpstart the corpse's heart.

The second time I set foot in Manhattan I was trundling down a Village sidewalk in the middle of the night and came across a tiny old man in a suit and tie standing in the gutter, gleefully arguing with a much younger, much taller man on the curb above. I couldn't hear what they were saying, but the arrangement of their bodies was as expressive as a frieze: "I am Norman Mailer. I am four feet tall and look like a courtly gnome. I am seventy years old and most likely have prostate issues and most definitely am a little too drunk. I am going to win this argument, to win every argument, for all time, and then, despite the disadvantages at which nature has put me and I have put myself, am going to punch you out. Then we're going to go back inside and have another drink and do it all over again tomorrow. I am Norman Mailer."
posted by dyoneo at 8:34 AM on November 10, 2007 [10 favorites]


A legend. RIP.
posted by rmmcclay at 8:34 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by perilous at 8:39 AM on November 10, 2007


four panels: ...simply uninspired popular fiction, much like Tom Wolfe.

Wow, that's a low blow if I've ever seen one.

Seriously now, I always found his work kind of hit or missed: Having read The Naked and the Dead and The Armies of the Night, I couldn't figure out how he managed to write Tough Guys Don't Dance.
posted by the number 17 at 9:09 AM on November 10, 2007


He not only has an armory of cruel and intimate weapons with which to protect himself and injure lovers and friends, but he is obviously in possession of the secret of youth.
Mailer in Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man
It sounds so much as Mailer's own youth.
Raw energy flowed from him in every medium he touched.
What a splendid show he gave while he was America's superstar writer.
In a cultural landscape assaulted by movies and television, he showed us all that literature could still be a way to the top of the world.
Champion of the word, indeed.
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posted by bru at 9:22 AM on November 10, 2007


One of my favorites. I think it is a sign of my immaturity that I fall in love with the idea these volatile, self destructive, and essentially unhappy lives. Like they are Lives with a capital letter that makes perfect sense if you don't think about it. There is rapaciousness for living that I think is missing in me and I assume that its absence is a curse when more than likely it is a blessing. Still there is something about a Life lived with bluster and brilliance and tumult that does me and other cowards a great benefit by making us feel a pang of guilt for coming home on a Friday night and feeling the weight of the empty week and urging me to pursue discomfort for its own sake, for its novelty. It makes my life better. Instead of a moment of silence a moment of noise to my author drinker heroes that let me know what I feel is missing is.
posted by I Foody at 9:25 AM on November 10, 2007


I loved him, the misogynist old bastard.

(and I did study him in college, so maybe four panels just isn't going to the right schools).

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posted by padraigin at 9:28 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by samsara at 9:32 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by vellocet at 10:23 AM on November 10, 2007


Can't help feeling sad about his death, in spite of him being a pugnaciously macho, posturing bastard and pathological narcissist. He was anti-war but spent most of life hanging out with, glomming onto the very people who sponsored and promoted war. Still, The Naked and the Dead (the book readable online) blew my mind when I read it as a 21 year old.

Great links madamjujujive.

Thoroughly agreeing with the Time's Up essay: Though he has written endlessly of souls, sex, and sin, he exhibits little regard for such values as humility, contrition, and redemption, for the need to take responsibility for one’s actions and their consequences. He is drawn to the high drama of moral conflict, but not to the hard task of discerning and defending the good; he seeks to know others well enough to subdue them, but he shows virtually no interest in developing the kind of empathic understanding that is one of the qualities separating good novelists from bad. Mailer’s need to create strife is, indeed, a running theme of The Time of Our Time. To him the world is an existential crucible in which provoking conflict is the only way to truly Be and Know. He doesn’t fight because he’s sure he’s right and others are wrong, but because he believes that only through fighting – only in that existential moment of conflict, when one’s heart and mind and soul and body are all on the block – can one even begin to get some sense of where right and wrong may lie.

Intense video, Norman Mailer Fights Rip Torn.

A year ago, 1996, his wife, Norris, at the same event (electing him as "a Living Landmark"). Video of him just 6 months ago, a month before his third wife, Lady Jeanne Campbell's death. She was a controversial figure herself, divorcing Mailer in 1963, "She reportedly slept with three heads of state within a year, an alliterative trio-Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro (JFK at her place in Georgetown in October 1963, Khrushchev in his Russian dacha in April, and Castro in Havana in May).

He stabbed his second wife twice.

Factoid was coined by him.

My condolences to his children.

Good riddance, you interesting, feisty, creative, colorful jerk.

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posted by nickyskye at 10:32 AM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


maybe i'm just no good at searching, but i've tried to find the answer on my own and have been unsuccessful.

what does "." mean, in a post like this? i see it all the time, and have constructed my own meaning...but i'd like to know what others' meanings are....
posted by CitizenD at 10:48 AM on November 10, 2007


I wonder what God will ask him when he gets to heaven?
posted by vito90 at 11:08 AM on November 10, 2007


I wonder what God will ask him when he gets to heaven?

"You do understand that this place isn't big enough for both of us?"

I was a girl during the height of Mailer's cultural influence, and I can think of nothing good to say about that. So, erm, well, death comes to us all.
posted by jokeefe at 11:15 AM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


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posted by doctor_negative at 11:25 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by sixo33 at 11:28 AM on November 10, 2007


*looks at the last page of Harlot's Ghost*

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

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posted by eyeballkid at 11:33 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to thank MJJJ for the article by Bruce Bawer, Time's Up-- it's superb. And worth linking to again.
posted by jokeefe at 11:39 AM on November 10, 2007


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posted by jlbartosa at 11:44 AM on November 10, 2007


I wonder what God will ask him when he gets to heaven?

So you gonna finish the sequel to Harlot's Ghost or not, tough guy?

On preview: I hear ya, eyeballkid. That was a whole lotta pitchers of martinis to slog through to wait forever for a denouement.
posted by gompa at 11:49 AM on November 10, 2007


I always assumed no one teaches him because it's simply uninspired popular fiction, much like Tom Wolfe.

I always kind of put him in the Jackson Pollock or Wm S Burroughs category... that you can take or leave his work, but his life was a work of art, a true original.


He'd have taken the two of you out with one punch, then gone back in and written another great novel just to spite you.

Yeah, a misogynist asshole for sure, but if we start grading our artists according to perceived moral life-worthiness, we'll wind up without any artists, and we won't deserve to have any. Art is art and life is life; they illuminate each other in amazing and endlessly fascinating ways, but to expect a great artist to be a great (or even bearable) person is folly.
posted by languagehat at 11:57 AM on November 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


Oh, I could totally kick Mailer's ass. Look, I mean he's just laying there.

/poor taste
posted by psmealey at 12:00 PM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


does that mean no sequel to "Harlot's Ghost"?
posted by hwestiii at 12:11 PM on November 10, 2007


to expect a great artist to be a great (or even bearable) person is folly

So is blind pedestalizing. When an artist, however great in the eyes of his or her admirers, or any person is a hypocritical, sexist, violent asshole, they deserve to be called out on their bs, and loudly, which I'm glad was the case with Mailer.
posted by nickyskye at 12:28 PM on November 10, 2007


Did some part of "a misogynist asshole" give you the idea I was "blind pedestalizing"?
posted by languagehat at 12:51 PM on November 10, 2007


And let's not forget perhaps his greatest contribution to civilisation, as explained by Anthony Lane:

If you had to name one American, for instance, who clubbed together with a couple of friends in 1965 and spent more than three weeks building a futuristic seven-foot vertical city out of Lego, you might not immediately think of Norman Mailer. Thirty-three years later, however, the city still stands in Mailer's living room in Brooklyn Heights, and its creator remains enthusiastic about his project. "It was very much opposed to LeCorbusier I kept thinking of Mont-Saint-Michel," he explains. "Each Lego brick represents an apartment. There'd be something like twelve thousand apartments. The philosophers would live at the top. The call girls would live in the white bricks, and the corporate executives would live in the black."
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 12:59 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


84. Lucky bastard.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:12 PM on November 10, 2007


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posted by treepour at 1:24 PM on November 10, 2007


Did some part of "a misogynist asshole" give you the idea I was "blind pedestalizing"?

LOL! No, lh. I was responding specifically to your "to expect a great artist to be a great (or even bearable) person is folly" statement. I'm saying the folly can cut both ways, either in expectation or blindness.
posted by nickyskye at 1:35 PM on November 10, 2007


Oh no, who's going to write 500 pages about his funeral? Fug.
posted by Elmore at 1:36 PM on November 10, 2007


The Fugs, 1 and 2.
posted by nickyskye at 1:55 PM on November 10, 2007


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posted by MythMaker at 2:11 PM on November 10, 2007


damn.

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posted by mimi at 3:41 PM on November 10, 2007


Other than Armies of the Night, I wasn't the biggest fan of his novels, but his essays on boxing are some of the finest ever written, second only to Liebling imo.
posted by vronsky at 4:45 PM on November 10, 2007


excerpts from "The Fight"

He was all alone in the ring; the Challenger on call for the Champion, the Prince waiting for the Pretender, and unlike other fighers who in the long minutes before the tittle holder will appear, Ali seems to be taking royal pleasure in his undisputed possession of the space. He looked unafraid and almost on the edge of happiness, as if the discipline of having carried himself through the two thousand nighs of sleeping without his title after it had been taken from him without ever loosing a contest ... must have been a biblical seven years of trial through which he had come with the crucial part of honour, his talent, and his desire for greatness still intact, and light came off him at this instant. His body had a shine like the flanks of a thoroughbred. He looked ready to fight the strongest man to come along in Heavyweight circles in many years, maybe the worst big man of all,"

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"Then a big projectile exactly the size of a fist in a glove drove into the middle of Foreman's mind, the best of the startled night, the blow Ali saved for a career. Foreman's arms flew out to the side like with a parachute jumping out of plane, and in this doubled-over position he tried to wander out the centre of the ring. All the while his eyes were on Ali and he looked up with no anger as if Ali, indeed, was the man he knew best in the world would see him on his dying days. Vertigo took George Foreman and revolved him. Still bowing from the waist in this uncomprehending position, eyes on Muhammad Ali all the way, he started to tumble and topple and fall even as he did not wish to go down. His mind was held with magnets high as his championship and his body was seeking the ground."
posted by vronsky at 5:05 PM on November 10, 2007


[sic]
posted by vronsky at 5:23 PM on November 10, 2007


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posted by fungible at 6:30 PM on November 10, 2007


Crap.

It's Saturday night too.

Guess now I'll just have to get drunk and punch some jerk in the mouth.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:58 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


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posted by schyler523 at 8:49 PM on November 10, 2007


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posted by Skygazer at 9:57 PM on November 10, 2007


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posted by pombe at 10:26 PM on November 10, 2007


It's kind of almost poignant that he should die during a writers' strike.

Kind of.

Almost.


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posted by Reggie Digest at 12:09 AM on November 11, 2007


Great interview clip here. Iraq and the American Right. Fascism vs. Democracy.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:35 AM on November 11, 2007


Mailer's grasp of social and political issues was brilliant. Here's an excerpt from the above clip, which was filmed less than six months ago:

I've always felt that fascism is a more natural governmental condition than democracy. Democracy is a grace. Democracy is something essentially splendid, because it's not at all routine or automatic. Democracy, in fact, depends on the concept--the notion--that there are more people who are good than bad. And that's a very large notion. Fascism goes back to our infancy and our childhood, where we were always told how to live. We were told, "Do this. Don't do that. No. NO. Yes, you may do that. NO, you may not do that." And so fascism--the secret of fascism--is it has this appeal to people whose later lives are not satisfactory. And it's a very dangerous business.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:40 AM on November 11, 2007 [5 favorites]


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posted by phrits at 9:19 PM on November 11, 2007


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posted by El Brendano at 4:39 AM on November 12, 2007


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posted by myrrh at 12:59 PM on November 12, 2007


Norman Mailer is Buried in a Place He Came to Love
"It was a spare epilogue to an expansive life writ large and long in books and in combative public appearances that for decades made him the best-known writer in America.

Surrounded by a few dozen family members and close friends, Norman Mailer, whose career spanned nearly six decades and more than 30 books, was buried yesterday afternoon in Provincetown Cemetery.

One by one, a dozen speakers and musicians walked to the front and stood next to the mahogany casket, which was flanked in a semicircle by six photos depicting Mailer from childhood through his very public years of giving speeches in New York City, his wild, flyaway hair seeming to seek other venues.

Mailer's long life and literary output were matched by his taste for respect and fame, not necessarily in that order. The speakers drew tears and much laughter yesterday recounting the writer's tenderness and outrageous exploits."
posted by ericb at 9:45 AM on November 14, 2007


Ira Levin, too. Crap.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:18 PM on November 14, 2007


I was listening to an interview from 1991 with the grumpy bastard, and it definitely made me smile. It did point out something sad, however. One thing that seems to have changed significantly even during the course of my life, is that writers at one time seemed revered as celebrities (Capote, Updike, Mailer, Plimpton, Harper Lee, and before them Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Plath, etc.). Other than J.K. Rowling (who doesn't really have that level of presence) and MeFi's darling DFW, I fail to think of any other writers that fit the bill.

Have all our cultural heroes become movie stars and CEOs?
posted by psmealey at 1:28 PM on November 14, 2007


I fail to think of any other writers that fit the bill.

Salinger? Pynchon?
Stephen King? John Grisham?

I think part of the problem is that Mailer and Updike and Capote used to be on TV much more frequently. Merv Griffin and Dean Martin and those guys hosted TV shows that were actually a little more concerned with the literary culture than Letterman, Leno, and Conan (although George Saunders was on Letterman recently and Colbert and Stewart have authors on all the time). DFW has only appeared on TV twice (that I know of, both Charlie Rose) and Salinger and Pynchon are absolute ghosts. Writers know that celebrity is a mask that eats into the face and most (not James Frey) purposefully eschew it.
posted by mattbucher at 2:42 PM on November 14, 2007


Sad to hear about Ira Levin's death. I enjoyed the movies made from his books.

Like his honesty in saying this:

“I feel guilty that ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ led to ‘The Exorcist,’ ‘The Omen,’” he told The Los Angeles Times in 2002. “A whole generation has been exposed, has more belief in Satan. I don’t believe in Satan. And I feel that the strong fundamentalism we have would not be as strong if there hadn’t been so many of these books.”

“Of course,” Mr. Levin added, “I didn’t send back any of the royalty checks.”

Been thinking abut Mailer's death, how it is sad in part due to the end of an era aspect.

Have all our cultural heroes become movie stars and CEOs?


The culture hero thing has changed a lot recently. Maybe it's on a smaller scale than it used to be because a lot of the shock factor isn't there any more. The shock allure has become schlock allure, like the Anna Nicole Smith tv show, heavy on the schadenfreude.

Now there are other things people look for and those who might otherwise be obscure gain web celebrity via their blogs, like WaiterRant or Indexed.

In the old days writers hooked up with Hollywood actresses and socialites. Mailer did this, Plimpton, Capote too. Don't know much about Updike's celebrity. But now Hollywood is much less glamorous, more grossly commercial and powerful. The socialites more ridiculous and less powerful. Writers don't need to get the art patronage of socialites with publishing or political connections the way they used to in order to succeed financially. And I think that's a healthier thing all around.
posted by nickyskye at 4:39 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Great Dick Cavett reminiscence. "What with Norman dead, in going over that transcript I feel twinges of guilt about not having treated him nicer, but what the hell? He wasn’t dead then."
posted by languagehat at 8:32 AM on November 15, 2007


Wow, speaking of the era in which writers used to be pop stars, Dick Cavett. That takes me back. He was my idol when I was a kid. I thought it was great that such a seemingly nerdy guy could also be hip, funny and hang out with beautiful people... but had a coolness to him that someone like Woody Allen did not. I miss him.
posted by psmealey at 8:40 AM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


psmealey, Yes, I feel the same way about him. You might tell Cavett what you think about him directly on the blog lh linked. It's his 71st birthday in a few days.
posted by nickyskye at 9:44 AM on November 15, 2007


Head Butler remembers Mailer.
posted by vronsky at 3:39 PM on November 16, 2007


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