Monday, January 15, 2007

Norman Mailer: "Five Percent of Me is The Devil"

The man who once proclaimed himself -- after the death of his punchy and melancholy idol Ernest Hemingway -- as the heavyweight champion of American letters (Averted Gaze), is at it again, this time -- in typical High Baroque Mailer fashion -- that he has a touch of The Devil lurking about his soul. Mailer has always had a fancy for the Bad Boys of History -- Rasputin, Gurdjieff, Lee Harvey Oswald, The CIA -- but this time his bombast has gone too far. However, we cannot fail to note that a devilish percentage residing would explain, if only tangentially, the fact that Mailer, in his later years (For he was once a respectable amateur boxer), appears to be harboring another .. Being ... within his impressive distended girth (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment). From Entertainment Weekly:

"EW: Did you enjoy writing in the first-person voice of the devil? It seems like you did.

"Mailer: You want to have fun with your narrator. You know, writers are like actors. Warren Beatty has a remark I love. I saw him in Bugsy, and afterward I was kidding him a little. I said, 'Aren't you concerned your friends might be afraid of you now?' because he had a violence in Bugsy that was really startling. And he said, ''No, because most of my friends are actors, and what we know is that you only need 5 percent of someone in yourself to be able to play it.'' And Beatty grinned and said, ''Of course, if you have 75 percent it's a lot easier. But 5's all you need.'' And I thought, that's all you need in novel writing. Five percent is enough to create a character. So all right, if you will: 5 percent of me is the devil.

"EW: Not 75?

"Norman Mailer: No. I won't accept any more than 5."

Oh, please Entertainment Weekly. Really, now. The Corsair could have haggled at least another 15 percent concession from Old BuzzardBones. After all, he did not stab his ex-wife in the chest with a rusty pen knife he picked up off the street and ended up getting off scott free -- Never even apologizing to Adele Morales. If that is not at least 20 percent Luciferian, then, my good man, we don't know what is.

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