1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Executioner's Song: Norman Mailer Dies

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by jgmacg, Nov 10, 2007.

  1. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Norman Mailer died this morning.

    One of the greats. A pugnacious bastard with a remarkable gift.
  2. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    This saddens me. I met him a few times through an old boss who knew his wife. RIP.
  3. In Exile

    In Exile Member

    For the youngsters - if you haven't read him, you should, becasue he was important for a very long time, which is very hard to do.

    Heard a great Mailer anecdote recently. When he directed his movie, he didn't like the sound that was generally used for one human punching another, so he had himself recorded either taking a punch or delivering one, and that sound bite is now the standard, used hundreds anand hundreds of times since.
  4. Duane Postum

    Duane Postum Member

    READ The Executioner's Song. Unbelievable.
  5. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Jones will be heartbroken. He's been on a Mailer binge lately.

    Love him or hate him, it's hard to overstate Mailer's contribution to late 20th century American letters.

    Here's one of the defining pieces of New Journalism, ca. 1960:

  6. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    How eerie that I found this Mailer/Breslin button yesterday while surfing for something else....Mailer ran for mayor of NY in 1969 with Breslin as his running mate, entering (and losing) the Democratic primary. Just imagine.

    RIP to one of the great legends of our time. He and Halberstam should have a helluva time up there.
  7. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest


    As In Exile said, the youngsters here should read Mailer's journalism at the earliest opportunity. "Armies of the Night" is a masterpiece of nonfiction invention - very much of its time, but an absolute inspiration as to the possibilities of the form.

    When I think of Mailer, and I think of him often, I picture him ringside with Plimpton in Zaire. Or at another Paris Review party in Plimpton's apartment uptown.

    I think, too, of his public feuds with Vidal. And Capote. And Buckley. Mailer had a (usually drunken, sometimes fistic) beef with everyone at one time or another. It wasn't so long ago that writers were important enough and well known enough in this society to carry on public feuds - to which the public actually paid attention.
  8. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    He lived less than 200 yards from me--we're a small fish dwelling on a huge pond block. It was always one of my claims to fame. All these years, though, I never actually saw the guy. Just knew which was his home and always hoped.

    One of my favorite writers. For anyone who hasn't, please use this as the impetus to read the Executioner's Song. It's based almost entirely on interviews with with friends and family and he had unprecedented access to Gary Gilmore (serial killer). But aside from the work of super long-form journalism it is, unlike many self-styled new journalists, and people who made their name off of some sort of gonzo journalism (or whatever you want to call it), this book proved that you could be a fantastic journalist and still write true stories that are as rivetting as any piece of fiction, and do it without having to use cheap and bad writing tricks.

    The book itself was one of the most thought-provoking I have ever read. I didn't have a ton of sympathy for Gary Gilmore, but it did make me rethink the death penalty and my attitudes toward it, to the point that for a host of other reasons as well, I am now against it (and most any killing).

    I have to head out soon. I'll see if there is anything happening by his house.
  9. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member


    I read the Executioners Song last year. They don't write books like that any more.
    And if you get a chance today, or one day soon, read Mark Bowden's piece on Mailer. It's in Bowden's book of magazine pieces, Road Work, that came out a couple of years back.
  10. One of the last American giants and what used to be called "a man of letters." Fiction and nonfiction. There's nobody who skates both wings that way.
  11. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    Grew up reading Mailer.

    I've probably read "Armies of the Night" five times.

    I'll echo what others have said about "Executioner's Song".

  12. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Here is Tom Junod's profile of Mailer that ran in Esquire a few months ago. Worth reading.

Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page