Norman Mailer: Innovator In His Own Mind

A couple has donated $100,000 to the University of Mississippi for the only national scholarship devoted to the work and life of William Faulkner. “We hoped that we could stop Cliff’s Notes from publishing summaries of Faulkner’s work, but Cliff wanted more cash,” said Campbell McCool. “So we thought: Why not get the kids spinning cart wheels?”

Ernest Gaines has been nominated for this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. Not a single American has won in ten years. (Toni Morrison was the last winner.) So it might be our time. Then again, both Bush and Blair are nominees too (for the Peace Prize). So who knows? The winner will be announced in mid-October.

Jacqueline Wilson is the most borrowed author in UK libraries, unseating last year’s Catherine Cookson. But it could be worse. Danielle Steele was number two.

The following quote may not explain why Bernardo’s obsessed with the bump and grind (namely, in his new film, The Dreamers), but it does offer compelling evidence that Bertolucci may be insane: “The passionate love I have is for the cinema. It is very strong, so that the first time I meet the director Jean-Luc Godard, I vomit on him; that was the expression of love. He understand. We have a talk in the bathroom of the Mayfair Hotel, where we are cleaning our suits.”

The March Atlantic (which hasn’t yet been posted online) deals with the issue, but, for the nonce, “America’s oldest college newspaper” has the scoop on the SAT’s new writing section According to the new standards, Shakespare, Hemingway and Stein are slipshod. Ted Kaczynski, on the other hand, scores off the charts.

Sometimes, sex doesn’t sell. Thor Kunkel threw in sex, Nazis, and Nazi pornography into his novel, finished his book, and then returned home from vacation to discover that his publisher dumped the book two months before its release. One of his editors reported, “He’s read too much Thomas Pynchon and has over-estimated his artistic possibilities.” If only Manhattan could be as honest about certain “political satirists” on our side of the Atlatnic.

Focus on the Family’s latest target? Christian porn addicts. They even have fey billboards up. (via Quiddity)

Jose Saramago gets medieval on Bush’s buttocks. (via TEV)

And Norman Mailer claims he’s the father of New Journalism: “Tom Wolfe claimed he was the discoverer of New Journalism … Actually, we were both doing it quite separately. But I’m much older than he is … by eight or 10 years. So I’m the only one of the post-World War II generation to practice it. Sorry if I shoot down your theory.” What most people don’t know about Mailer is that he also invented beat poetry, postmodernism, and the footnote. No word on whether he’s still terrified of the word “fuck” or getting his ass kicked by Germaine Greer in a debate.


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