In memoriam Norman Mailer

Hedenmorgen is de Amerikaanse schrijver Norman Mailer op 84-jarige leeftijd overleden. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 januari 2007.

Uit: The Time of Our Time

“In America, the mood is almost gay. A trifle nauseated, but gay, like a rough trip on an amusement ride. Once again, the American spirit is investing in a matter about which few knew anything, yet the ignorant were certain they would keep being rewarded. . .

Yes, Hillary has suffered humiliations on a scale few women in history can match. Yet, there it is. She comes out early on the morning of Bill’s State of the Union speech and defends her man with fury, conviction, and purpose. He–like O. J. Simpson–is “100 percent not guilty.” Her man is not guilty. Hillary is on the way to becoming a legend. How many millions of wives in America are now obliged to say to themselves: Could I ever defend my guy like that? Hillary is wonderful.

Hillary is wonderful. She not only defends, she attacks. She speaks of a right-wing conspiracy to destroy her husband. It satisfies our deep need in America to find a new conspiracy every year.

What powerful instincts are in Hillary. The first lady’s features, when studied, are remarkable. On the brow and mouth of very few women is written so vast and huge a desire for power. Of course, she is loyal to her Bill, loyal certainly by her good side, but even more loyal out of darker and more powerful urges. For if she remains loyal to him she will yet become a legend in America, and that is necessary to satisfy what may be her true aim–to become the first woman elected president of the United States.

If Al Gore should win and have two terms, then the year is 2008. Should Gore not win in the year 2000, then 2004 is her moment. The price is to be loyal to a man she might prefer to brain with a brick. She must know the old Italian saying: “Revenge is a dish that people of taste eat cold.” How much better to wait and put him in a position of being First Man. Bill will not feel comfortable to find himself in Denis Thatcher’s old slot. . .

Under Clinton, the rich got vastly richer. All the while, on his spiritual saxophone, Clinton played tender resonant ballads for blacks and women. Some of them even got high-end jobs. It was gilt-edged tokenism. Measured as a Democrat, however, who might retain some real social purpose, he was a dork and a nerd.

On the other hand, but for the possible exception of Hillary, he was the most powerful Clintonite in the country; he was, indeed, a mighty lion of a Clintonite–he was his own most important and powerful project. That is true of more than a few of us. The crucial difference here is that Clinton is most mighty as a lion when his favorite project, himself, is threatened. He is at his best when wounded. How many can say that? Yes, he certainly comes through when it is a matter of projecting for one dramatic night what a wonderful all-seeing, all-doing American president he is. . .

Does it matter that now it is a younger woman under the media gun and he is now commander in chief? The great question merely deepens: How can he, Bill Clinton, endanger his presidency so? Of course, men take weird chances when the navigator at the center of oneself whispers in the dream: Kid, your cancer is near.

For some, the cure for cancer is to visit the moon of moral peril. If the cause of cancer is undissolved shame, and cancer is a revolt of the cells against the hegemony of the CEO (that mysterious Chief Ego Officer who runs the body), then it may be that Clinton is full of undissolved shame. Let us warrant that it is not because of oral sex.

His shame, if he has any, is that he has never been able to stand up to the big money. He is powerless before men of huge financial size. Face to face with such buckos, the wind dies and the proud flag on the flagship commences to droop. As Monica Lewinsky is to Bill Clinton, so is Clinton to the big money–just a kid trying to earn his presidential knee-pads. 


Norman Mailer (31 januari 1923 – 10 november 2007)