Thursday, October 09, 2008

Norman Mailer

Below are excerpts from an extraordinary collection of about 50,000 of Norman Mailer's letters which is slated for publication next fall. Some of these letters appear in the October 6th issue of The New Yorker:

"The McCarthy hearings are being televised these days, and I catch them from time to time. If you've never seen McCarthy you'll have a surprise when you do. What all his critics fail to admit is that he has enormous charm and sex appeal, and a characteristic man's man way of talking which dominates everyone around him, so that to a person ignorant of politics, he would seem just wonderful. The result is that it's truly terrifying to watch him work because you wonder how can this man be stopped?"
April 30, 1954

"I want to be a great thinker without doing the work."
September 25, 1957

"I suppose the real reason I favor (Ezra) Pound's release is that the same kind of government mentality which prosecutes, incarcerates, etc., a Pound also sets up Loyalty Boards, and what have you."
December 30, 1957

To the Editor of Playboy
December 21, 1962

Dear Sir,

I wish you hadn't billed the debate between William Buckley and myself as a meeting between a conservative and a liberal. I don't care if people call me a radical, a rebel, a red, a revolutionary, an outsider, an outlaw, a Bolshevik, an anarchist, a nihilist, or even a left conservative, but please don't ever call me a liberal.

Norman Mailer

Wherever you are now, Norman Mailer, here's hoping you're still raising hell!