02.5

“For Whom the Will Toils.” Letter to the editor. Boston Globe, 14 March, A14. Mailer excoriates George W. Will for equating the prose of Pres. George W. Bush with that of Ernest Hemingway, stating that to put Bush “next to Hemingway is equal to say that Jackie Susann is right up there with Jane Austen.” Rpt: SLNM.

02.3

“Alarm Calls for American Dreamers.” Article-interview by Christopher Bigsby. Independent (London), 9 February, 10. Revealing interview in which Mailer ranges over his career (he says his three best novels are The Naked and the Dead (48.2), The Executioner’s Song (79.14), and Harlot’s Ghost (91.26)), criticizes American hubris (“if you really love a country, it’s your duty to be critical of it”), talks about his Arthritic knees (“the pain is paying off bad karma on the installment plan”), and tells about living in the same house in Brooklyn as Arthur Miller in the late 1940s (“I know he was thinking what I was, which was, ‘That other guy is never going to amount to anything’”). He also criticizes President Bush, and says that in the wake of 9/11, “When I say it now I know I’m going to have to pay for it, but if you don’t use freedom of speech, it’s like an unused dick. It tends to dwindle.”

02.2

Machismo Isn’t that Easy to Wear.” Article-interview by Oliver Burkeman. Guardian, 5 February. Mailer, who was about to turn 79 when interviewed in Provincetown, said “Machismo is that faint zephyr I can still barely hear on the other side of the hill.” Mailer discusses his books, the stabbing of his wife Adele—“you really might say the worst elements of it have been digested over the years—by me, I mean. I can’t speak for Adele. It’s our children who suffered with it more than we did.” Brookeman makes a number of errors in the piece, all of which could have been eliminated by some fact-checking. For example, he says that Mailer stabbed his wife with a pair of scissors. He can’t be criticized, however, for another error, which he picked up from Mary Dearborn’s biography (92.2). She states that Mailer beat up a sailor for questioning the heterosexuality of his dog. In fact, Mailer had both of his eyes gouged after being attacked by two men when walking his poodle in the fall of 1956, and had to spend a week in a darkened room. See MDL, 211-12.