Norman Mailer, author and impaler
On this day in 1923 the American author Norman Mailer was born. Mailer was one of a group of writers that included Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, Gore Vidal and Truman Capote who had strong opinions and were prepared to act them out.
They were a godsend to TV presenters at a time when public inertia was widespread. Mailer was often to be found on the screen, belligerent and well refreshed, arguing on a variety of subjects and often responding physically to emphasise a point. On one famous occasion, Mailer head butted Vidal on live TV.
His relationships were often stormy and he stabbed one of his wives with a penknife, earning himself the soubriquet ‘Mailer the Impaler’. His first novel, The Naked and the Dead was a best seller as were several others and he won two Pulitzer Prizes.
Today’s poem is by JK Stephen who mocked the literary styles of his day:
Will there never come a season
Which shall rid us from the curse
Of a prose which knows no reason
And an unmelodious verse:
When the world shall cease to wonder
At the genius of an Ass,
And a boy’s eccentric blunder
Shall not bring success to pass:
When mankind shall be delivered
From the clash of magazines,
And the inkstand shall be shivered
Into countless smithereens:
When there stands a muzzled stripling,
Mute, beside a muzzled bore:
When the Rudyards cease from Kipling
And the Haggards Ride no more.
Today I reflect on aggression, but will respect all people as my brothers and sisters.