May 18, 2005

"There still resides, however, under my aging novelist's pate a volunteer intelligence agent, sadly manque."

Norman Mailer lumbers up to the HuffPo keyboard and taps out a conspiracy theory, in that wonderful literary style where things don't "stink" but are "redolent with bad odor."
In every covert Department of Dirty Tricks, whether official, semi-official, or off-the-wall, great pride is best obtained by going real deep into down-and-dirty-land—Yeah! Expedite the consequences.

What the hell is he ranting about? He's guessing that the Pentagon deliberately fed Michael Isikoff fake Koran-in-toilet info. And maybe those riots are "orchestrated" too.

Or is he just attempting to spoof blogging?


DaveG said...

I know it's almost cliche at this point, but it still boggles my mind that the same people that accuse the Bush administration of not being able to get one, NOT ONE!, thing right continue to come up with these brilliantly complex, could-only-work-in-a-low-budget-Hollywood-drama conspiracy theories.

I'm also reminded of the old saw that the easiest person to cheat is a greedy one.

Mark Daniels said...

Mailer was spoof-blogging long before there were blogs. Remember his book on Marilyn Monroe in which one of the analogies he drew was between Monroe and Napoleon Bonaparte? I never got that one.

The problem is that Mailer is just paranoid enough to actually believe all the conspiracies he's claimed to identify over the years.

For all that, his works of "journalism" from 'Armies of the Night' to 'Saint George and the Godfather' were always fun to read. But they're better read like an Oliver Stone movie is watched: Both produce pieces of fiction in which real people are mere stage props, fictionalized versions of their true selves. The brilliant thing about Mailer has been that occasionally, in the manner of a blind squirrel finding a nut, his fictions will hit upon some deeper truth in the events and people about which he writes.

His conspiracy theory about the Koran-desecration story however, is sheer lunacy, words tapped out to fulfill a contract. Common sense will tell you that there is nothing positive that the Bush Administration could see in the Newsweek story of May 9!

I agree with hogarth that it's amazing how people can ascribe meticulously-orchestrated conspiracies to a group of people they otherwise dismiss as complete incompetents. Think, Norman, think!

Simon Kenton said...

I believe, and taught my kids, that you subject everything to a first-level sanity check. Does it make sense that 40% of all women are depressed each week, when none of the ones you know are? Make sense that 1 in 5 kids in the United States suffers hunger? Make sense that stories dealing with percentages in our local paper never add up to 100? This is not high-IQ stuff.

Let's postulate that the Pentagon fed NEWSWEEK the story. Pardon me the vulgarity, but isn't the first thing you'd do as a NEWSWEEK editor is to pitch a newsweek (or a time) in the toilet and see if you can flush it? Much less, say, a copy of Blog. I don't myself believe in the fed-story angle, because, as Mark says, cui bono? But not matter how they get the story, fed a story or sleuthed - isn't it the responsibility of a news outlet to put it through something more than a first-level sanity check? Especially if they are constantly expecting our reverence for their professionalism?

Simon Kenton said...

Still, though, I like him personally, and "Of a Fire on the Moon," "The Executioner's Song," and "Ancient Evenings" are remarkable books.

henny said...

Mailer is not just paranoid, he's repulsively elite. I'd prefer it if he were paranoid or at least a good socialist. Then perhaps he would give back to his community in some concrete way rather than just livin' the rich life in the U.S., taking it for all that he can and complaining about it.

Contributors said...

I've just stopped reading HuffPo. It's not even Ed Wood bad. It's worse. It's dull. It's not a car crash. It's pulling weeds. Dull. Dull. Dull.

Unknown said...

Is he just spoofing blogging?

Yes. And transparently so.

It's actually pretty funny, although more Graham Greene than Graham Chapman.