Miller on Mailer

Dennis Miller sends up Norman Mailer’s theory that Bush’s real motive for the war on Iraq (how many such theories have there been by now?) was to make white males feel better about themselves, now that blacks dominate some sports where white athletes used to excel. Miller remarks:

Ironically, Mr. Mailer seems to see everything in the world in terms of black and white, except of course, good and evil.

On the same subject, a correspondent writes:

What a piece of dreck Mailer is. I’d bet that he probably expected most of the soldiers to be black, and was probably ready to write that—that America is defended by mainly black soldiers, a sign of the decline of the white male. He was surprised to see the truth, so then he altered it, not to saying that we always think of the armed forces as being for minorities but I see white men are really the majority there, what do you know; but instead to making sure that it comes out negative by saying white men are losing everywhere so they fight wars to show they’re still good at something. Really, what a piece of human dreck.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 05, 2003 03:50 PM | Send

Mailer is indeed a piece of human dreck, one who was recently lauded for his opposition to American “Imperialism” and placed on the cover of the American Conservative, a misnamed magazine if there ever was one.

Posted by: Shawn on May 5, 2003 4:16 PM

I’ve never cared for Mr. Mailer’s ideas on much. I was repulsed recently when he compared the twin towers to “two buck teeth” in appearance, in a tone and context which seemed, shockingly, to make light of their destruction (someone correct me if I’m wrong — I might be). The thing which amazes me about his career is his complete failure to understand Marilyn Monroe and the Hollywood persona she cultivated (cultivated extremely foolishly, in my opinion) despite his making her a big subject of his writing and thinking. I was just a boy when she committed suicide and have little or no direct memory of her, but when one sees her films on TV the real “her,” and the idiotic public-relations role she strove to play, couldn’t be more clear. One would have to be blind not to see it all. In displaying his failure to understand her and her behavior he left no doubt about his inability to understand women in general, or, therefore, their relationships with men in general, and so on, up the chain of inference. Finally, I like the passage Mr. Auster quoted from his correspondent’s e-mail because it uses strong language appropriately aimed. I like strongly-worded criticism where strongly-worded criticism is due. For non-New Yorkers, dreck (also written drek when I was growing up in NYC) is a Yiddish word meaning filth, refuse, or excrement, more or less. Its English cognate would be dreg.

Posted by: Unadorned on May 5, 2003 5:04 PM

I actually hesitated before posting the e-mail because of the strong language, but, like Unadorned, I felt that in this case it was, ahem, kosher. Carol Iannone wrote in a review of Mailer in Commentary some years ago that he was “evil.” The way she made the case was so definitive that I felt nothing more needed to be said about the subject. Alas, he’s still with us, and still getting getting notice and plaudits from some quarters.

Perhaps Unadorned could expand on how Mailer misunderstood Marilyn Monroe and what the correct understanding of her is.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on May 5, 2003 5:16 PM
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