Culture

Norman Mailer, Libertarian or Sodomy-Obsessive or Both or Neither?

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Norman Mailer is dead and Christopher Hitchens eulogizes him thusly at Slate:

He used to tell me with perfect gravity that politically he was "a left conservative," and this quixotic description has a patina of truth to it. Probably more than anything, Mailer was a libertarian and a foe of any system or mind-set that involved the censorious (feminism) or the overweening and the grandiose (imperialism/communism).

And there's this:

Beginning with An American Dream, he manifested an obsession with sodomy that was something a bit more (and perhaps even a bit less) than macho. I once made the mistake of asking him about this on a television show with Germaine Greer: Why was he so fixated on penetratio per anum and its occasions, male-on-male as well as male-on-female? Seizing my copy of his terrible novel Tough Guys Don't Dance, he scrawled an inscription that vowed revenge, and later gave an interview in which he said that the book had been ill-received in London because of a coterie of queer reviewers organized by me, Martin Amis, and Ian Hamilton. (Amis and I contemplated writing a hurt response, saying that this was very unfair to Hamilton.)

More here.

About the best story regarding Mailer here.

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  1. Nick, why do you make so many posts of this icky stuff?

  2. If Norman Mailer didn’t exist, William F. Buckley would have to invent him.

  3. Sodomy is the new Wednesday…

  4. I thought we were calling it ‘buggery’ now.

  5. Norman Mailer, Libertarian or Sodomy-Obsessive or Both or Neither?

    Could you check to see if he was circumscised or something?

  6. Ubiquitous buggery.

  7. What was his position on rum and the lash?

  8. “…and later gave an interview in which he said that the book had been ill-received in London because of a coterie of queer reviewers organized by me, Martin Amis, and Ian Hamilton.”

    I plead guilty to the charge of knowing next to nothing about the politics of book marketing, but in standard conspiracy theory, shouldn’t a coterie of queer reviewers be working together to champion such books?

  9. Couldn’t find an on-line video for Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken? which actually has a Norman Mailer reference, but instead, here is Lloyd Cole and the Commotions doing Rattlesnakes.

    You’ll just have to use your imagimation and pretend you’re listening to that other, equally great song.

  10. Mailer was a libertarian and a foe of any system or mind-set that involved the censorious (feminism) or the overweening and the grandiose (imperialism/communism)

    Norman Mailer was a foe of any mindset that was overweening and grandiose? So, he was a foe of himself?

  11. Re: Fug and all that – reminded me of this John Derbyshire anecdote:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/derbyshire/derbyshireprint021902.html

    This particular story rests on the fact that Lancashire dialect switches the long “u” and the short “u,” so that the word “put” is said with a short “u,” while “putt” is said with a long one. Well, one of the Cambridge colleges hosted a visiting lecturer with a strong Lancashire accent, who gave an address about the Antarctic explorer Sir Vivian Fuchs, pronouncing the name as “F*cks” throughout his talk. Afterwards, one of the organizers took him aside and gently pointed out the correct pronunciation, with a long “u.” “Yes, I know,” replied the Lancastrian, “but I couldn’t very well say it like that, could I? After all, there were ladies in the audience.”

  12. Hard to see Mailer as libertarian. Then again, there’s a lot of that going around these days.

    Nice to see Hitchens using the term sodomy correctly. Sodomy just isn’t oral sex. That’s smoking the White Owl.

  13. Norman Mailer is dead.
    Many cheer
    Many mourn
    Me?
    I don’t give a crap.

  14. Nice to see Hitchens using the term sodomy correctly.

    Mr. Dictionary says sodomy is any sex not involving a penis and a vagina coming into contact. Mr. Judeo-Christian Theologian takes it one step further, and has always said that it’s any sex not sanctioned by marriage. Sodom was doing a lot of bad stuff, and he hates to see any sinners get a pass just because of teh Gheys.

  15. Sodom was doing a lot of bad stuff…

    And what of the Gommorahns? Hows come they don;t get any cool stuff named after them?

  16. Technically, the sin of Sodom was inhospitality. Lot had taken the angels of the Lord in, under his roof, and offered them hospitality, and the Sodomites demanded that Lot ignore that and let the citizens of Sodom gang rape the angels of the Lord. If the angels of the Lord had happened to be five minutes later, and the mob got to them before Lot did, the homosexual gang rape would’ve been A-OK. Heck, Lot even offered the mob his daughters for them to gang rape, and the Sodomite mob was not satisfied with that concession to hospitality, but demanded the sweet glowing asses of the angels of the Lord.

    The Bible is pretty awesome sometimes.

  17. Shem, the dictionary is wrong. 🙂

    Oral sex is not sodomy. For example, if you read a news story about a vicious rape and the term sodomy is in there what comes to mind? See?

  18. And what of the Gommorahns

    I had that once, dude, it makes it really hurt to take a pee.

  19. Could you check to see if he was circumscised or something?

    He almost certainly was; if not at birth, then the Army would have had him snipped. What’s that have to do with teh gheys?

  20. From Wikipedia:

    Mailer was married six times, and had several mistresses. He had eight biological children by his various wives, and adopted one further child. For many years, he had a house on the Cape Cod oceanfront in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Like many novelists of his generation, Mailer struggled with alcohol and drug abuse throughout his life.

    Damn, this dude ruled.

  21. Ian-Yeah, but keep in mind god was already kind of pissed off about the buggery thing. There was a reason that the angels were sent there, after all. The inhospitality was just the straw that caused a massive subterranean pocket of sulfur to explode.

  22. The inhospitality was just the straw that caused a massive subterranean pocket of sulfur to explode.

    As I explained a couple of weeks ago, Yahweh nuked Sodom. He used a neutron bomb which explains the lack of residual radioactivity. Didn’y you go to sunday school?

  23. Mailer was one hell of a writer. That’s all that really matters about the guy.

  24. Mailer was alright at times, but I also agree with Bukowski that the man often went “on and on like Texas.”

  25. Rip Torn tried to kill Mailer with a hammer.

    No, really.

    Mailer handled himself admirably (even biting off part of Torn’s ear in the process). But I wonder what the fuck was happening in Torn’s brain at the time.

  26. Tough Men Don’t Dance.
    They don’t release people from prison just so they could kill again.

  27. Either.

  28. “…if not at birth, then the Army would have had him snipped….”

    Huh? So far as I know, the army could not care less whether your dick has been mutilated in deference to religious superstition.

  29. Rip Torn tried to kill Mailer with a hammer.

    Other way around. Look at the video: the little guy with the misshapen head in the green shirt hits the big guy with the soothing Texas accent and hairy back in the head.

  30. Wasn’t Mailer one of the folks that Tom Wolfe referred to as “the three stooges”?

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