How Did Cool Become Such a Big Deal?

The personification of cool, however, continued to be the hipster. Norman Mailer, a close reader of Anatole Broyard, was clearly influenced by Broyard’s essays on the subject, but made the connection to black culture even more explicit in “The White Negro.”

Mailer’s essay is a manifesto of sorts, against conformity, against large organizations, modern society, squares, and anyone else helping to uphold the big lie of American life. He spoke for those who, having lived through World War II, now understood that all could die at any second. Humanity had proven itself a great collective murderer, and the modern state was its greatest weapon. White people, Mailer tried to show, were thus forced into the condition of black people who had lived “on the margin between totalitarianism and democracy for two centuries.”

Conference 2014

The 12th annual meeting of the Norman Mailer Society will be held October 9-11, 2014 on the Wilkes University campus in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The theme for this year’s conference is “Norman Mailer: Continuing his Legacy.”

Conference Program

Details Forthcoming.

Thursday, October 9

  • Cash Bar Evening Reception, 4:30 PM at the Oyster at Genetti’s Hotel (Conference Hotel)
  • River Of Fundament (Movie), 6:00 PM to Midnight

Friday, October 10

  • Panels
  • Graduate Creative Writing Welcome Reception and Celebration (5:30 PM) at Kirby Hall following completion of marathon reading of An American Dream
  • “Extending the Legacy” panel (7:30 PM - 9:00 pm)

Saturday, October 11

  • Panels
  • Luncheon (1:00 PM): Danielle Mailer, Guest Speaker

Read More

The Utah-filmed truth behind the gritty story of murderer Gary Gilmore

Down With Factoid! Up With Factlet!

I wish you, and a whole lot of others, would cleave to Norman Mailer’s original coinage of the word factoid.  The suffix -oid usually means resembling, but not really a member of some category.  Examples: humanoid, planetoid.  So a factoid should properly be (and as Mailer used it) something that resembles a fact, but is not a fact.  You, and the whole lot of others, ought instead to use another word for a small probably unimportant but interesting fact.  I suggest the coinage, factlet.  In all other respects, I enjoy your writing and wish you well.

A Man Half Full by Norman Mailer