As many of you may know, John Buffalo Mailer has been waging a vigorous campaign to get the Village Voice, the publication his father helped found, to cease publishing sexually exploitive classified ads in BackPages.com, which the Voice owns. The response has been overwhelmingly favorable. But I would like to call your attention to one particular article in the New York Observer. When John B. called it to my attention, I was both disappointed and upset, and my response was the Letter to the Editor below. If you feel as John and I do, you may wish to send a letter to the editor or add a comment directly on the piece.
We all know what Norman stood for and don’t think we ought to be shy about letting others know.
Letter to the Editor
In her March 30, 2012 article, “John Buffalo Mailer Shames Village Voice’s Sex Ads By Bringing Up His Dad,” Drew Grant seems to misapprehend the difference between art and commerce. She may not care for his prose or his point of view, which is her privilege. But to suggest that because he wrote of the raw sexual and bodily facts of life in his fiction, Norman Mailer would avail himself pleasurably of the ads in the Voice’s BackPages.com falls somewhere in the continuum between ingenuous and scurrilous.
As John Buffalo so articulately stated, one of the guiding principles under which the Voice was established was to hold those who abuse power accountable for their actions. There can be no greater abuse of power in this whole wide world than crimes against innocent and defenseless children. Those who perpetrate them are the lowest of the low, and any organization that facilitates them in any way deserves our contempt and active resistance.
My friend Norman would be appalled and disgusted to know that this was going on in the name of either freedom of expression or economic necessity by an organization he helped found. He believed fervently in individual responsibility. Now is the time for his journalistic heirs to live up to that belief, rather than indulging in such palpably phony moral equivalence that only serves to obscure the real and important message John Buffalo has been trying fervently to get out.
President, Norman Mailer Society
April 4, 2012