“I remember in the old days, five, six years ago, we used to go out into the fine jungle of live television. It was an exquisite sensation—a little like making love, a little like being in the electric chair—to know that one million people were listening to you at that instant … Now it’s more Read More
Last week, at a book party for J. Michael Lennon’s Norman Mailer: A Double Life, a 900-page authorized biography of the author, who died in 2007, a good deal of literate septuagenarians gathered at Mailer’s old home near Pineapple Street in Brooklyn. It was once on the market for $2.5 million but has remained in the Mailer family, just as the old patriarch would have wanted it.
Norman Mailer’s writing was about dualities and disappointments. God and the Devil were engaged in an epic battle, and, no matter which side won, life was still excrement and death, “a bath in shit with no reward.” That last bit comes from his 1972 review of Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris, published in Mind of an Outlaw, a recent compendium of many of Mailer’s uncollected or out-of-print essays. The book culls together a lot of minor work, the Bertolucci review included, with a few of Mailer’s greatest hits mixed in. Still, Bad Mailer is better than a lot of other writing produced in the 65 years since he set in motion post-World War II fiction with the first line of The Naked and the Dead: “Nobody could sleep.”
As an example, Mailer most clearly outlined his philosophy, which remained consistent even as his styles and topics changed with each book, in an otherwise forgettable profile of Jimmy Carter from 1976, reprinted in Mind of an Outlaw: “Mailer,” he writes, referring to himself in his preferred third person, “had a notion of God as not clearly omnipotent but rather as a powerful God at war with other opposed visions of the universe.” As with God, so too Mailer. The first complete biography of Mailer, by J. Michael Lennon, the author’s longtime friend and archivist, suggests even with its title, A Double Life, that for all of Mailer’s concerns with the universe at large, more interesting was that good and evil were continuously waging war over his own soul.
Yesterday, in a rally held in Cooper Square, the 33-year-old son of Village Voice co-founder Norman Mailer got up on the podium, reported Capital New York’s Joe Pompeo.
“It’s hard for me to be up on this podium today,” Mr. Mailer, who was there for a protest to shut down BackPages.com, the part of the Village Voice that’s been accused of sex trafficking in underage women, “because I’ve always loved the paper and what it stood for…to see them now, justifying their actions for this profit is heartbreaking.”
The independent Manhattan movie house Film Forum has decided to pull its advertising from the Village Voice, citing concerns about Backpage.com, the classifieds site owned by Voice parent company Village Voice Media.
Longtime Film Forum director Karen Cooper told Off the Record that Nicholas Kristof’s Friday op-ed in The New York Times prompted her decision.
Now A Major Motion Picture
A hedge fund manager wants assurances that Norman Mailer’s curious apartment in Brooklyn Heights complies with zoning codes before he buys it. Or maybe he just found out that Mailer stabbed one of his wives with a penknife there. In any case, the buyer appears to have cold feet. Occupy Norman Mailer’s apartment? [NYT]
Book Riot is a book site for 18 to 34-year-olds. As this article points out, it does not seem to have made up its mind whether it’s for adults who like to read, or for adults who hate to read (viz. “Charles Dickens is reigning king of Dead White Guys You Should Have Read in High School, But Probably Just Read the Cliff Notes or Possibly Watched the BBC Mini-series.”)
Norman Mailer’s novel about a director on the Hollywood Blacklist in the 1950s is now in development as a film, reports The Daily. The novel was originally adapted for the screen by Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne in the 1980s for producer Elliott Kastner, but it was never made.
Now Michael (“son Read More
The Last Critic
In a back nook of Elaine’s someone had placed a blown-up old cover of Quest magazine featuring the chiseled features of Chuck Pfeiffer. “CHUCK,” the headline read, “MYTHICAL MADMAN WARRIOR.”
“Seventy, it’s an odd age,” Mr. Pfeiffer told The Observer, staring at the younger version of himself, a decoration for his birthday party last Read More
Not to start the new year off on a dour note, but do you want to know why so many people have become hopeless about changing the political and economic mechanisms that rule our lives? Watch the 1969 True Grit and then go see the Coen brothers’ recent remake, which has just about all the Read More
Last night, at the 2nd annual Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony gala, Tom Wolfe gave a warm and witty introduction for Rolling Stone founder and publisher Jann Wenner, who was receiving a Lifetime Achievement in Magazine Publishing award. It was held at Cipriani 42nd, where the tree-trunked corinthian columns rose breathtakingly toward the ceiling’s Read More