Skip to comments.Norman Mailer, a dissenting view
Posted on 11/11/2007 2:01:54 PM PST by mojito
...For readers who did not witness his elevation to the role of literary-political culture hero, it is difficult to appreciate the awe with which Norman Mailer was regarded by the literary and academic establishment from the 1950s through the 1960s and into the 1970s. A typical paean is Diana Trillings convoluted 1962 essay on The Radical Moralism of Norman Mailer, which concludes by comparing Mailer to the prophet Moses with a stopover at Marx. His moral imagination, Mrs. Trilling assured her readers, is the imagination not of art but of theology, theology in action.
Which means ? Very little, alas, although talk of theology in action (as distinct, perhaps, from theology asleep?) doubtless sparked interesting vibrations in susceptible souls. As Mailer more or less admitted in what is probably his best-known collection, Advertisements for Myself (1959)a title that could be used again for his complete workshe was a sucker for mystification: mate the absurd with the apocalyptic, and I was captive.
No one combined critical regard, popular celebrity, and radical chic politics with quite the same insouciance as did Mailer. From the late 1940s until the 1980s, he showed himself to be extraordinarily deft at persuading credulous intellectuals to collaborate in his megalomania. Although he modeled his persona on some of the less attractive features of Ernest Hemingwaybooze, boxing, bullfighting, and broadshe managed to update that pathetic, shopworn machismo with some significant postwar embellishments: reefer, radicalism, and Reich, for starters. The glittering example of Mailers commercial success was obviously the cynosure that many aspiring writers set out to follow: his neat trick was to combine cachet with large amounts of cash....
(Excerpt) Read more at pajamasmedia.com ...
Reread post, slap down on Mailer. And I thought it was a good one. Must work on my sarcasm.
The left were downright giddy when Jerry Falwell died, and that was disrespectful, too.
Words of criticism have their place, of course, but not immediately following the death of a celebrity.
That Mailer was making it up as he went along. ‘Theology in action’ is another form for ‘reality’ or ‘the real world’. These are the standard qualifyers used by people who don’t have the balls to accept The Word of God as it was handed down.
Norman Mailer was the poster boy for the world liberals created for us. A guy with so-so talent who made hedonism into a religion.
I think the good wrtier, Tom Wolfe has made some nice sarcastic remarks about Norm’s literary style. Wolfe will be remembered as a better writer if the NY Times ever burns down!
I was amongst the group not terribly impressed by Mailer. From an earlier thread:
Its been a very long time since I even tried to read any Mailer. The last one I finished was his about the moon launch. It had enough behind the scenes information about the NASA culture and launch event to finish, but his method of making it all secondary to HIM, (ie-Aquarius) was pathetic. Not Armstrong, not NASA, not the moon itself, the only story he really was telling was Mailer. And wasnt the world lucky NASA was created to provide him a mirror where he could look at himself.
Ancient Evenings I tried to read. I made it through about 60 pages before casting it aside. Gibberish from a man who seemed like he was being paid by the word and intended to cash in.
A pre-People magazine celebrity. If he hadnt been such a celebrity he might actually have lived up to the role he imagined for himself. The books might then have been about the stories, instead of just fuel for his ego. I cant imagine time will be kind to his work or reputation.
27 posted on 11/11/2007 12:36:35 AM PST by tlb
Dionysos, or Bacchus (if you were of Rome) was a *male* deity. He was often depicted as having the legs and feet of a goat, so could be said to have been "the original party animal"...
Thomas Wolfe will be remembered as a better writer than Norman Mailer, by anyone with a sense of what makes literature, period... It matters not if the NY Times burns down, gets swallowed whole, or remains standing for a thousand millenia...