CULTIVATING LIBERALISM
FOR ALL CLIMATES
SINCE 1759
 
Google
 

Free alert to Candide's Notebooks
Your email:

JOIN ME AT MY BULLSHIT SITES

Neocon’s Con
Norman Mailer on Norman Podhoretz

No wonder this putz has no friends

The Paris Review’s latest issue devotes its Art of Fiction interview to Norman Mailer. Two-thirds of the way in, Andrew O’Hagan, the interviewer (and Scottish writer), hears that Mailer still calls himself “a left conservative,” then asks him about Norman Podhoretz and neoconservatism: “It has become such a thing in America. I’m interested in your relationship with people like Norman Podhoretz, people who went on a journey that took them very far from the place where they started.” Mailer’s answer:

 

Well, I can understand it. And in fact, I feel partly responsible for Podhoretz. He and I were close friends at one point. He wrote a book called “Making It,” and the book got trashed terribly. He was unpopular on the left. I never quite understood why he was so unpopular. But they trashed his book like you wouldn’t believe. It was truly ugly. And I hadn’t read it yet—or I’d read the first half of it, which was pretty good. And I witnessed this trashing and said to him, I’m going to write a review. So I read all of the book. And the book betrays itself. The second half is god-awful. In the first half, his thesis is that
the dirty little secret among the left, among artists and intellectuals, is that they really want to make it, and they want to make it big. And they conceal that from themselves and from others. But this is really the motivating factor that is never talked about. You can talk about sex but you can’t talk about ambition and desire for success. So he does all that. And then he starts to give portraits of all the people on the left who have made it-pious, sweet little portraits, with people who we know goddamn well are not that at all. And I was horrified at the way he could betray his own book. There was a failure in
nerve there-in other words, if you want to be strong theoretically, you better be strong in detail as well. That’s what makes a good general. Strong at both ends. And he wasn’t.

So I ended up mocking his book, too. And I was pretty cruel. Looking back on it, I was probably too cruel. He went into a depression and stayed there for about a year… just didn’t do much. Worked on his magazine and listened to music and hardly saw anyone. And by the end of that time, he’d moved over to the right. Podhoretz is nothing if not active and enterprising. So the moment he moved over to the right, it wasn’t enough to be on the right, he had to be far to the right. And so I feel that I’m responsible, to whatever degree, for helping to have shoved him over there. Which is too bad, because he now is paying for his sins on the right by having supported the war in Iraq and he has to live with it—has to live with all the idiocies of the neoconservatives.

Bookmark and Share

| Back to the Front Page  
 
THE DAILY JOURNAL
Read Pierre’s Latest at


 
The Latest Comments
 
GOOGLE GOOGLE NEW YORK TIMES NEWSPAPERS NETFLIX UK INDEPENDENT NETFLIX
 
  
RECENTLY IN THE DAILY JOURNAL: NOTEBOOKS ORIGINALS
RECENTLY IN THE DAILY JOURNAL: CRUMBS & CRIBS

   
 
Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe in Rojo   Add to My AOL Subscribe in FeedLounge Add to netvibes Subscribe in Bloglines Add to The Free Dictionary