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Norman Mailer Dead at 84

Posted on Nov 10, 2007
Norman Mailer
AP photo / Kathy Willens

Mailer died of acute renal failure at the age of 84.

News of the loss of one of America’s most unique voices, Norman Mailer, rippled through the literary community Saturday after Mailer’s biographer announced that the author of “The Armies of the Night” and “The Naked and the Dead” had expired at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital.

AP via

Mailer had views on almost everything.

The 1970s: “The decade in which image became pre-eminent because nothing deeper was going on.”

Poetry: A “natural activity ... a poem comes to one,” whereas prose required making “an appointment with one’s mind to write a few thousand words.”

Journalism: Irresponsible. “You can’t be too certain about what happened.”

Technology: “Insidious, debilitating and depressing,” and nobody in politics had an answer to “its impact on our spiritual well-being.”

“He had such a compendious vision of what it meant to be alive. He had serious opinions on everything there was to have an opinion on, and everything he had was so original,” said friend William Kennedy, author of “Ironweed.”

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Click here to read John Nichols’ article about Mailer’s clash with President Bush in The Nation.

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By Bill Blackolive, March 5, 2008 at 10:00 am Link to this comment
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To say this of my having trouble finding patriotsquestion91 is because Alan Miller the founder had put it simply to be “patriotsquestion9/11,” which confused me in my computer semi-literacy. I could have met Mailer with much idiotic hassle, when he was in glory carrying on without safety with UT studants, I did meet Ginsberg, did meet Kesey, did know Burroughs, corresponded with Burroughs’s secretary Grauerholz, wish I’d met Bukowlski, should have known Kerouac.  Trouble now is nobody alive has US leverage to tell the US what Europe/Asia/Africa know, 9/11 is inside.  God does not like the US of A best.

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By P. T., November 11, 2007 at 7:10 pm Link to this comment

Why did The Executioner’s Song get a Pulitzer for Fiction when the book was supposedly factual?

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By Bill Blackolive, November 11, 2007 at 10:16 am Link to this comment
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In the sixties I had slight correspondence with Mailer then lost his address. Because I could tell where he was, I had got his attention in my twenties.  He was this intellectual fellow with shortness complex who in fistfighting could not punch too well and wished to be larger. Too bad his physical damage had caught up to him, because he could have been the needed voice on the 9/11 coverup.  Currently, the best stuff I have seen is patriotsquestion9/, and it is now not simple to get this grand site. I do find it though by doing google search on Lt.Col.Karen Kwiatkowski, PhD, US Airforce.  But wish we had a Mailer or Kesey or Bukowlski.

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By DennisD, November 11, 2007 at 8:37 am Link to this comment
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Norman - your voice may be gone but your insight and writing will remain with us. You are missed.

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By iain, November 11, 2007 at 2:30 am Link to this comment
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No, he wasn’t “one of America’s most unique voices”, because the phrase is meaningless; “unique” (Latin for “one-of-a-kind”) is an absolute. It cannot be qualified (“very one-of-a-kind” is obviously just plain silly). Therefore America does not have a number of “most unique” voices, although there may well be voices which are, individually, “one-of-a-kind”. Still less do voices exist that are “most” unique. Again, unique is an absolute and cannot be qualified (as in the pernicious, creeping usage, “very unique”). I am reminded of a deliciously entertaining rant on this very subject by Martin Sheen’s President Bartlett in “West Wing”. The reason my rant is apropos, of course, is that Mailer, being a very great writer, would have spotted your error immediately.

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