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"Something can be true and still be fiction."

[Norman Mailer] wanted to talk a lot about age and he told me I should look after myself. 'You know,' he said, 'when you get to my age you have to pee a lot. And there is no distance at all between knowing you want to pee and then just peeing. I was at Plimpton’s funeral in St John the Divine not long ago, and they sat me near the front, you know. Suddenly, I had to go. I knew I wasn’t gonna make it all the way down the aisle so I spotted a little side door and I got the canes and nipped in there. Halfway down the corridor, I was looking for a john and who do I see but Philip Roth. "Hey, Philip, what you doin' here?" "Oh, I had to pee," Roth said.'
Mailer's Last Punch is Andrew O'Hagan's tender, short memoir of his interactions with Norman Mailer. Among other things he talks about are the long interview of Mailer he did for The Paris Review and an event at the New York Public Library with Mailer and Günter Grass.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 22, 2013 - 5 comments

As if someone has stuck 8-bit Mario into Grand Theft Auto V

"Often the protagonist of an Important Novel of the Latter Half of The 20th Century is male, and is a thinly veiled version of the author. So thin of a veil. A veil so thin is it possible to discern whether the author was circumcised. Also, he often displays a particular stomach-turning combination. He regards women as, one the one hand a mere necessary evil, not things one would be inclined to befriend or discuss life with, and on the other hand, beings of terrible power that make one very angry indeed." -- Belle Waring takes aim at a particular kind of novelist, the canonical important American late 20th century novelist and his 21st century would-be heir. (More background: it's all Jonathan Franzen's fault.)
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 26, 2013 - 56 comments

10 Fan letters from famous authors, to famous authors

10 Fan letters from famous authors, to famous authors. [more inside]
posted by louigi on Mar 19, 2013 - 20 comments

"[T]he best essays show that the name of the genre is also a verb"

Robert Atwan, editor of the Best American Essays series, chooses the top ten essays since 1950 for PW's Tipsheet. All but three of the top essays are available to read online and linked in the article. (via)
posted by gladly on Nov 14, 2012 - 7 comments

“This is not a definition, it is not true—and, therefore, your questions do not make sense.”

In reflecting on the project, McAllister feels “caught between the intimacy of each individual response, and the pattern of the cumulative replies.” The question remains: Why did they answer? McAllister claims no credit, describing his survey form as “barely literate.” He recalls that in his cover letter (no examples of which exist) he misused the word precocious—he meant presumptuous—and in hindsight he sees that he was both, though few writers seemed to mind. “The conclusion I came to was that nobody had asked them. New Criticism was about the scholars and the text; writers were cut out of the equation. Scholars would talk about symbolism in writing, but no one had asked the writers.” Sixteen year old boy dislikes English homework, goes outside the chain of command.
posted by villanelles at dawn on Dec 5, 2011 - 55 comments

Martin Amis interviews Norman Mailer

In 1991 during the publicity tour for Harlot's Ghost, Martin Amis interviewed Norman Mailer (pt. 2, pt. 3, and pt. 4). Topics covered include the CIA, the Democratic Party, liberalism, communism, the writing life, being Jewish, feminism, the men’s movement, homosexuality, George Bush, and the Kennedys.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Jun 19, 2011 - 7 comments

The Life and Death of Gary Gilmore

Thirty years ago today, Gary Gilmore was executed at the Utah State Prison, the first prisoner to be put to death since the moratorium on executions was established four years prior, and the first execution in Utah in sixteen years. His refusal to appeal his death sentence confounded his lawyers and attracted the attention of the ACLU, among others, who fought to keep Gilmore alive, against his wishes. His frustrations with the uncertainty of his sentence led him to attempt suicide in prison twice.

His life and death have been recounted in several books, films, inspired a few songs, and even an SNL skit. His final words, “Let’s do it,” led to a major marketing campaign.
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér on Jan 17, 2007 - 24 comments

not your average pivotal moment

RIFT: in "The madness of empire", American Conservative Magazine breaks with Neoconservatism. Meanwhile Norman Mailer, in Gaining an empire, losing democracy? warns "America is going to become a mega-banana republic where the army will have more and more importance...democracy, noble and delicate as it is, may give way".

What can we say about a nation so powerfull that it can simply bury thousands of troublesome humans with bulldozers?
posted by troutfishing on Feb 27, 2003 - 102 comments

Jack Henry Abbott committed suicide in his cell.

Jack Henry Abbott committed suicide in his cell. He was found yesterday, apparently, but I guess it didn't hit the wires until today. I would've figured someone would have mentioned it here since Mailer was a topic of interest just a few days ago.
posted by sherman on Feb 11, 2002 - 1 comment

America Too Patriotic, Says Norman Mailer

America Too Patriotic, Says Norman Mailer
posted by StOne on Feb 8, 2002 - 51 comments

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