Gay Talese Misses Norman Mailer, Journalism

August author Gay Talese has reportedly figured out “what has fucked up journalism.” At the launch party on Wednesday night for a new magazine called Lapham’s Quarterly, which is under the control of erstwhile Harper’s editor Lewis Lapham, a New York reporter got an earful from the dapper scribe. Musing on the media’s apparent decline, Mr. Talese evoked the recently-deceased writer Norman Mailer. “"Mailer was out there mentally challenging, not worrying about anything that was contrary to prevailing thought,” Mr. Talese is quoted as saying. After moving on to everybody else in the industry, Mr. Talese apparently didn’t see the point in censoring himself just because he was talking to a fellow journalist. “Today people worry about being contrary to prevailing thought. They don’t want to be out on a limb, don’t want to be a contrarian, don’t want to be unpopular, don’t want to be unpatriotic. That’s what has fucked up journalism. No one speaks for dissent. Who’s the face of dissent today? Give me one name of someone who personifies dissent. Period. Zero. Nobody!" he said. We won’t attempt to meet his challenge either, but it sure looks like Mr. Talese could be on his way to proving himself wrong.

Gay Talese Shames Us at the Launch of ‘Lapham’s Quarterly’ [Intelligencer] Gay Talese Misses Norman Mailer, Journalism