Mailer Monroe and the New Journalism

The natural role of twentieth-century man is anxiety. Norman Mailer

There are four stages in a marriage. First there’s the affair, then the marriage, then children and finally the fourth stage, without which you cannot know a woman, the divorce. Norman Mailer

There is nothing safe about sex. There never will be. Norman Mailer

Norman Kingsley Mailer (January 31, 1923 – November 10, 2007) was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright, film maker, actor and political candidate. His first novel was The Naked and the Dead based on his military service in World War II, published in 1948.

“…A hard read today, a sprawling, cumbersome saga that reads like the fusion of literary ambition and severely limited artistic experience – as indeed it was. Its anachronistic use of “fug” and “fugging” in place of the real words now seems merely quaint, and the prose alternates between pedestrian and purple – little wonder that the young Mailer likened himself to Theodore Dreiser, arguably the worst prose stylist none the less considered a major American novelist“. New York Times – Best seller for 62 weeks

Along with the likes of Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe, Mailer is considered an innovator of creative nonfiction, a genre sometimes called New Journalism, which superimposes the style and devices of literary fiction onto fact-based journalism.

Norman Mailer – Allen Ginsberg  – William s. Burroughs

 

Culture’s worth huge, huge risks. Without culture we’re all totalitarian beasts. Norman Mailer

A modern democracy is a tyranny whose borders are undefined; one discovers how far one can go only by traveling in a straight line until one is stopped. Norman Mailer

I don’t think life is absurd. I think we are all here for a huge purpose. I think we shrink from the immensity of the purpose we are here for. Norman Mailer

I been Norman Mailer’d, Maxwell Taylor’d. I been John O’Hara’d, McNamara’d. I been Rolling Stoned and Beatled till I’m blind. I been Ayn Rand’d, nearly branded Communist, ’cause I’m left-handed. That’s the hand I use, well, never mind!

If a person is not talented enough to be a novelist, not smart enough to be a lawyer, and his hands are too shaky to perform operations, he becomes a journalist. Norman Mailer

Once a newspaper touches a story, the facts are lost forever, even to the protagonists. Norman Mailer

I think it’s bad to talk about one’s present work, for it spoils something at the root of the creative act. It discharges the tension. Norman Mailer

His best work was widely considered to be The Executioner’s Song, which was published in 1979, and for which he won one of his two Pulitzer Prizes.

With the pride of the artist, you must blow against the walls of every power that exists the small trumpet of your defiance. Norman Mailer

“I am stronger than MENSA, Miller and Mailer

Mailer’s 1973 biography of Monroe (usually designated Marilyn: A Biography)] was particularly controversial. The book’s final chapter states that Monroe was murdered by agents of the FBI and CIA who resented her supposed affair with Robert F. Kennedy.

 

In his own 1987 autobiography Timebends, the playwright Arthur Miller, a former husband to Monroe, wrote scathingly of Mailer: “[Mailer] was himself in drag, acting out his own Hollywood fantasies of fame and sex unlimited and power.”

The book was also enormously successful, selling more copies than any of his works except The Naked and the Dead. It remained in print for decades, but was out of print in the United States as of 2009.

10cc song “Somewhere in Hollywood” satirically references Mailer and his interest in Marilyn Monroe:

Norman Mailer, Waits to nail her. He’s under her bed, and he’s waiting for her to be dead. He’s out on the patio with his Polaroid and scenario. And he’s armed and he’s dangerous… ly… close… Was the weather when I was a kid…

 We live in a time which has created the art of the absurd. It is our art. It contains happenings, Pop art, camp, a theater of the absurd… Do we have the art because the absurd is the patina of waste…? Or are we face to face with a desperate or most rational effort from the deepest resources of the unconscious of us all to rescue civilization from the pit and plague of its bedding? Norman Mailer

 

“But on the telephone line I am anyone, I am anything I want to be. I could be a supermodel or Norman Mailer, And you wouldn’t know the difference. Or would you?”

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