In the Media Politics

The Mailer Files, Part 2

I blogged last week about the FBI’s fifteen-year investigation of Norman Mailer, and this morning, The Telegraph continues the story about the notoriously paranoid J. Edgar Hoover’s monitoring of Mr. Mailer. In 1962, Hoover called for a memo on Mailer:

The FBI’s first Mailer memo, dated June 29 1962, contained enough incriminatory material to fuel the investigative instincts of Hoover, a fervent anti-communist and veteran of the post-war “Red Scare” McCarthyite witchhunts.
It noted that the writer “admitted being a ‘Leftist'” and called the FBI “a secret police organisation” that should be abolished. One informant said Mailer was “a concealed Communist”, although others disputed that assertion.

The FBI investigated Mailer until 1977 — for a whole five years after Hoover’s death — deciding finally that any further attention “would merely serve to feed the fires of publicity, which Mailer is attempting to stoke.” The article ends with a comment from Larry Schiller:

This was certainly characteristic of the autocratic Hoover years, but anytime someone questions authority and power, they have to understand they may have their motives questioned by those in authority and power.