Sunday, November 11, 2007

Blaming Norman Mailer

He was no Kurt Vonnegut. But it would be hard for me to come up with a dyad that better summed up my serious formative reading than Vonnegut and Mailer. The lessons stuck at different times; it was not until far too late in my life that I realized that being kind was of some importance. On the other hand, the lessons of Miami and the Siege of Chicago stuck early and often, and still do.

I'm not saying that my level of respect for the two icons is equal, or that it should be. Mailer was a bundle of external-facing issues, while Vonnegut's issues were more inwardly focused. I'm just saying that a guy who gets drunk and stabs you at a party, or extols the virtues of sweaty people punching the crap out of each other, is probably more likely to move down on your social networking pyramid than a guy who tries to off himself with Pall Malls or more immediate means.

I'm just saying that if I had to name two deadly serious and important guys who helped to form my thinking when it was forming--before I realized that thinking was forming--I'd be naming two guys who died this year.

And of course it's about me. Who the fuck else would it be about? If I ever seriously fuck up and get noticed? Then maybe I'll think deep thoughts that don't involve the bottom two levels of the Maslow pyramid:

Or my cock--it's really not all that clear to me where Maslow intended that to fall.

Speaking of esteem needs and self-actualization, enjoy this piece of art produced by one of the unfortunate souls that call me "Boss:"



ilse said...

I'm sorry, honey, but that picture looks more like you than YOU do.

bdr said...

Planet and Earthgirl are still giggling.

Mailer: feh.

The squigs say bpdomita: must be one of my brother's ex-girlfriends.

Landru said...

I'm particularly fond of the bags under my eyes. And of the number of rocks that the artist has broken since he chose to reveal this masterwork.

The great thing about your finish is that it could apply to either of your brothers.

Landru said...

Oh, and I understand your Mailer distaste. The fiction was by and large awful (I deeply regret the hours I wasted reading Harlot's Ghost, which may have been the best of it), and the obsession with cultural icons was creepy. But the political writing was fucking great.

Sasha said...

I will say it here. I'm glad the Mailer fuck is dead. I'm just sorry it wasn't sooner.

I'm happy as hell that Gore Vidal outlived him. And I hope his cock fell off before he died.

On that other matter, what Ilse said. That is freaky excellent art.

Sasha said...

The sheer joy of knowing that Norman bit the dust made me wander over to Dead or Alive to see who I wanted to die next. The answer is Robert McNamara.

But I discovered that Barbara Billingsly isn't dead yet. Creepy.

Jolene said...

Um, I've never read anything by Mailer, so I have nothing to say about him.

But I have to agree with Ilse and Sasha - that's some good work there.

whispers said...

Love the picture.

Haven't read Mailer. Did he invent Eudora or something like that?

(Looks at Dead Or Alive list..)

Wait - Falwell's dead? How did I miss that one???

Landru said...

You missed it because you've become a Eurocentric Commie elbow-patches poofter.

I mean, DUH.

Lisa McMann said...

I have to agree with Ilse. That pic is more you than you.

Dweeze said...

I don't know about influencing my thinking, but the two who most influenced my voice (or at least, for me, my voice when I am writing at my best) would be John Cheever and HST.

This has been my attempt to make it all about me.