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Idiocy Watch: Special Norman Mailer Edition
The New Republic ^ | 11/20/01

Posted on 11/20/2001 1:23:26 PM PST by denydenydeny

With humankind altogether hyperlinked, how is it that there are still people who do not expect to be overheard? Perhaps Norman Mailer thought that a shabby outburst delivered in the Netherlands and covered (it appears) only by NRC Handelsblad, the leading Dutch newspaper, would escape the attention of his fellow countrymen. Well, no such luck. So we are less than delighted to report--no, we are delighted to report it, since it confirms our long-standing sense of the essential meretriciousness of this man's mind--that Mailer addressed the following observations to an audience at the Cross Border Festival in Amsterdam on October 29 (because these comments were translated from English to Dutch, then back to English, they may vary from the originals):

"The WTC was not just an architectural monstrosity, but also terrible for people who didn't work there, for it said to all those people: 'If you can't work up here, boy, you're out of it.' That's why I'm sure that if those towers had been destroyed without loss of life, a lot of people would have cheered. Everything wrong with America led to the point where the country built that tower of Babel, which consequently had to be destroyed."

Had to be destroyed: 5,000 deaths were just the collateral damage of a perfectly understandable act of social and architectural criticism. And Mailer continued:

"And then came the next shock. We had to realize that the people that did this were brilliant. It showed that the ego we could hold up until September 10 was inadequate."

It does not come as a surprise to discover that Mailer regards the conflict between Al Qaeda and the United States as a duel of egos. The tough guy has always viewed history as a dick thing. And he continued:

"Americans can't admit that you need courage to do such a thing. For that might be misunderstood. The key thing is that we in America are convinced that it was blind, mad fanatics who didn't know what they were doing. But what if those perpetrators were right and we were not? We have long ago lost the capability to take a calm look at the enormity of our enemy's position."

Again the confusion of right with enormity. In what sense, though, are thousands of innocent and incinerated people "wrong"? And does Norman Mailer really believe that the perpetrators may have been "right"? Nothing in his long career of stupid and indecent extenuations of other people's pain rules out the possibility that he believes it. But the fearless American writer should not sneak around to the far corners of the world to express his bold views. He should make his dissent at home, where it matters, and where it can get his name into a lot of newspapers that the people who lunch at the Four Seasons can read.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:
Mailer has always loved murderers.
1 posted on 11/20/2001 1:23:26 PM PST by denydenydeny
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To: denydenydeny
Yep. He even helped get a murderer a reduced sentence - enabling that murderer to kill again, I believe.
2 posted on 11/20/2001 1:26:26 PM PST by wideawake
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To: denydenydeny
Maybe he can rewrite "The Naked and the Dead" as a description of the defeated Taliban. ;^)
3 posted on 11/20/2001 1:33:40 PM PST by headsonpikes
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To: denydenydeny
The combination of too many drugs and too much boxing to show that you're tough is not a happy one. That first novel was promising, although it does not stand up as well as the critics thought it would, but it's definitely been down hill ever since -- all promise, celebrity, and no work product.
4 posted on 11/20/2001 1:35:19 PM PST by AmericanVictory
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To: denydenydeny
There's nothing more cowardly than an "intellectual" working in service to thugs. His hidden message is this: "please don't kill me, I'm on your side, and I'll say anything to prove it". His nose is so caked in brown that he has to breath with his mouth open.
5 posted on 11/20/2001 1:36:41 PM PST by samtheman
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To: denydenydeny
"The WTC was not just an architectural monstrosity, but also terrible for people who didn't work there, for it said to all those people: 'If you can't work up here, boy, you're out of it.'"

A "dick thing" indeed. Apparently the twin towers made little Norman feel all, well, inadequate. The man is as flaccid as his prose.
6 posted on 11/20/2001 1:36:59 PM PST by Asclepius
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To: Asclepius
Dear Norm, take two Viagra and call us in the morning.
7 posted on 11/20/2001 1:40:17 PM PST by breakem
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To: denydenydeny
Wow, thanks Norman! Your superior intellect has once again pointed out to us proles the real truth behind the veil of our simple reality. How I wish I had your powers of perception, asswipe!
8 posted on 11/20/2001 1:43:19 PM PST by Jhensy
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To: denydenydeny
In addition to the myriad other ways in which he is an idiot, he's also a poor and delusional architectural critic.

The World Trade Center towers were gorgeous buildings. In addition, they didn't hurl insults on the downtrodden masses. They were inanimate.

9 posted on 11/20/2001 1:43:24 PM PST by dead
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: denydenydeny
"Americans can't admit that you need courage to do such a thing.

Whose courage, what courage? These cowardly lowlife dirtbags smuggled razor blades onto a commercial aircraft, fully expecting no resistance from the unarmed civilian passengers. Mr. Mailer please note: the same courage that you find in a man who beats his wife to death and then eats the end of his own shotgun.

True courage was manifested by the passengers of Flight 93.

11 posted on 11/20/2001 1:48:07 PM PST by Alouette
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To: AmericanVictory
That first novel was promising, although it does not stand up as well as the critics thought it would, but it's definitely been down hill ever since . .

Nay. Armies of the Night and Miami and the Siege of Chicago were far superior to NATD.

That Mailer has several Spaniards in his brainworks was ALWAYS obvious to friends, foes, and Mailer himself; the problem is he has always chosen to display the Spaniards, FULL FRONTAL!

12 posted on 11/20/2001 1:52:52 PM PST by alcuin
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To: denydenydeny
Mailer has always loved murderers.

And he stabbed one of his wives a few times too, several years back.

13 posted on 11/20/2001 1:55:59 PM PST by veronica
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To: veronica
Yep, he's a p.o.s. I suppose this is why Ray Bradbury bad-mouthed him awhile back. Made me love Ray even more...
14 posted on 11/20/2001 2:00:13 PM PST by Frances_Marion
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To: alcuin
But they were not novels, for one thing. And while they were well written he was completely wrong about the Viet Nam War and played the role of the ideal communist directed useful idiot, just as Ho Chi Minh intended in taking a leaf from his master Mao. See the wonderful summary of Ho's skill in this regard in J.J. Servan Schreiber's "The American Challenge."
15 posted on 11/20/2001 2:01:11 PM PST by AmericanVictory
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To: denydenydeny
Why be surprised to learn that the modern liberal is a violent thug?

The evidence is everwhere.

16 posted on 11/20/2001 2:01:37 PM PST by moyden
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To: wideawake
Yes--Jack Henry Abbot was the name of the murderer that Mailer screamed and agitated about and got released from prison early. A few months later a waiter in a NY restaurant did something to him that he did not like and JHA killed him--stabbed him I think. Mailer was unapologetic.

To me, mailer has always seemed like a guy who thought that other people would not think of him as manly because he was a writer, so he had to do all this posturing. Yes, he can write; but so what? X42 was charming, wasn't he? At the end of the day it is character that counts and Mailer lacks same.

17 posted on 11/20/2001 2:05:44 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: Pharmboy
Mailer shares with Truman Capote and Gore Vidal a strange attraction to jailbirds and felons.
18 posted on 11/20/2001 2:32:56 PM PST by veronica
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To: Pharmboy
You have hit on something here. I always thought that Mailer was probably homosexual, and put on this super-macho image to cover it up, as well as to impress the girly-men (and manly-girls) he lives and works among.

It impresses the Al Hunt types, but he never managed to convince me. Too bad Jack Henry Abbott didn't get Mailer, instead of an innocent bystander! Talk about irony...

19 posted on 11/20/2001 2:38:10 PM PST by RANGERAIRBORNE
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To: AmericanVictory
But they were not novels, for one thing.

I assumed the "downhill" was all-inclusive; re his novels, he's never written one that IMneverHO caught "The Bitch" (as he has called a great novel), and I include NATD.

I'm sure he's been used as a dupe from time to time, and he's played the fool, intentionally and with relish (Advertisements for Myself, et al), and he's meddled with certain lives in such a way as to cause great unhappiness. All too true.

Art. Go figger.

20 posted on 11/20/2001 2:41:50 PM PST by alcuin
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To: denydenydeny
"But what if those perpetrators were right and we were not? We have long ago lost the capability to take a calm look at the enormity of our enemy's position."

This is the same kind of sophomoric pseudo-profundities that Krintong is spewing out these days. I haven't read this idiot, won't and don't believe that he is anything other than a "brilliant writer" to the pretentious bourgeois Renaissance Weekend crowd. (Check out Tom Wolfe's take on Mailer and a couple of other literary icons in Wolfe's recent collection of essays "Hooking Up".)

21 posted on 11/20/2001 2:51:55 PM PST by Revolting cat!
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To: RANGERAIRBORNE; veronica
Ahhh some like-minded intellectuals chime in (I always have been of the opinion that people who agree with me are bright--hehe).

But seriously folks, veronica makes an interesting point about other felon-worshippers: y'know, I think she is on the money.

And, don't forget that Norman stabbed one of his wives...woman-hating is part of the self-hating homosexual modus operandus.

22 posted on 11/20/2001 3:52:58 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: denydenydeny
As a young man Mailer (and Arthur Miller) attended an infamous pro-Stalin rally at the Waldorf-Astoria; they were cheer-leading the purge trials.

Mary McCarthy and Sidney Hook -- leftwingers! -- were so outraged they organized a concurrent anti-Stalin conference.

Mailer shows his ignorance -- or his willfull lying -- by claiming the WTC was some sort of a rich-man's work place.

Read the NYTimes obits you wife-stabbing scumsack and learn something about the kind of people who worked there.

23 posted on 11/21/2001 2:51:26 PM PST by aculeus
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To: denydenydeny
Most guys don't have the guts to stab a woman, but not him. Normal Mailer is a real man. </sarcasm>
24 posted on 11/21/2001 2:53:22 PM PST by xm177e2
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To: denydenydeny
I thought Norman Mailer died a couple of years ago. Or was that Truman Capote?
25 posted on 11/21/2001 2:54:24 PM PST by Clinton's a rapist
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To: Pharmboy
To me, mailer has always seemed like a guy who thought that other people would not think of him as manly because he was a writer, so he had to do all this posturing.

Mailer idolized Hemingway, at a time when Hemingway was a literary and celebrity giant. In Advertisements for Myself, Mailer suggested that Hemingway be elected President, because then we would have a real man in charge. ("President Eisenhower was a bit of a woman.")

So he became a 5'3" imitation of Papa, except that he couldn't box, and couldn't write very well (The Executioner's song was O.K.)

Mailer has a shock value publicity approach. It's sad when anyone takes him seriously, as in the Abbot case.

26 posted on 11/21/2001 3:06:16 PM PST by monkey
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To: monkey
I remember a few decades ago watching Mailer on TV telling the interviewer that writing was like boxing, with the writer facing the typewriter (the adversary) "punching" the keys (as he said this he shot out a few quick jabs with his index fingers pointed towards an imaginary Smith-Corona). I though to myself: "What an *sshole."
27 posted on 11/21/2001 5:32:29 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: Pharmboy
Hemingway was always using boxing analogies, e.g., "Dostoevsky swarmed over the reader like a boxer", "See how the bull uses its horns? It's got a left and a right, just like a boxer." I'm sure that's where Mailer picked it up.

I though to myself: "What an *sshole."

In this era of overanalysis, there's something very refreshing about your reaction.

28 posted on 11/22/2001 10:06:37 AM PST by monkey
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To: monkey
I've only read A Farewell to Arms. Thanks for pulling those quotes; it certainly makes sense that Mailer got the boxing material from Papa. Thanks for the info.

And yeah...I'm no Derrida-spouting deconstructionist. Just a guy originally from Brooklyn.

29 posted on 11/22/2001 6:32:29 PM PST by Pharmboy
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