Saturday, November 10, 2007

Um, GQ magazine - Gentleman's Quarterly - is a monthly. Shouldn't it be GM?

This Fartal Coil

Norman Mailer finally bought the farm. Why is it when someone famous has died, the headline reads "Norman Mailer Dies." Well, shit, we're all dying, all the time. When I see "dies," that seems to indicate present-tense. Shouldn't it be "Norman Mailer Dead?" When Princess Diana got Dodi'd, no one gave me the headline I really craved: Di Dies. Di Died. Somesuch. My life is forever incomplete because of this.

I love to read, but I had an ill-impression of Norman Mailer after the first book I read of his. Ancient Evenings was set in Egypt thousands of years ago and was semi-porny yet managed to be wildly un-sexy, to me. Yuck. I mean, I really couldn't get past the nearly pagely references to the stale air in the old man's diseased colon. Yes, the novel evoked a mood, but not one I'd ever revisit. In fact, I was convinced I never wanted to read Mailer again, and I haven't. This must have been about 1985 or so, so I was 19 or 20, and perhaps I was too young to read something in which the author waxes long-winded about his own mortality. I don't know, though - I think my reading list at that time was fairly sophisticated, for one so shallow as I was then. I still managed to be edified by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez and his 3-page sentences in The Autumn of the Patriarch, so there.

Anyhoo, kudos to Mr. Mailer for this new phase in which no winds will ruffle his colon-- ill, or otherwise.


SoHoS said...

I completely agree. I first had to read his work in college for an American Literature class and he was the only author I couldn't get through. His death did not invoke feelings of loss like the ones I felt when Arthur Miller passed a couple of years ago.

The Atavist said...

Someday, I am going to catch up on my reading. I mean, anything that evokes images like "This Fartal Coil" is definitely a must read, no? Or maybe not. That title made me laugh out loud though.

And . . . "Di Dies. Di Died. Somesuch." had me laughing out loud again. Why didn't I think of that?

g bro said...

I think he made his mark with the brutal literary style change in "The Naked and the Dead," written when he was about 25.
I'm sure that the media think "dead" is such a hard word. And to suggest that we are all dying all the time - come on, Phlegmmy, we're running a happy, upbeat, entertaining paper here! Don't be a downer! ;-)

DBA Dude said...

GGM is pretty sophisticated and a fine writer - or could it all be down to the translator?

With you on the dead thing.

phlegmfatale said...

sohos - I'm glad I'm not alone in that opinion. Reading the obits you would think the man's writing was monolithically worshiped

atavist - glad you enjoyed that - I was rather proud of that.

g bro - SOrry to rain on your parade, me and my sad-sack routine! *L* Now back to your regularly scheduled program of life without end

dba dude - Yeah, I DO think the translator is of vital importance, very much so with the magical realists such as GGM and Isabel Allende, for two. Good stuff, though. I love a flight of fancy.