Manly Trad November 17, 2020 Today we revisit one of the great icons of manly trad, who always gave the impression that, at any moment, he might take off his sack jacket, club tie and oxford and arm-wrestle Muhammad Ali.
Let us not forget Mailer was a Harvardian member of the Signet Society several doors beyond J.Press.
Great writer, brute and bully. No photos of him in t-shirts or safari shirts? Not hard to find.
Always enjoyed his cheesy fake Irish accent as a counterpoint to Buckley’s cheesy fake English accent!
He always looked and dressed like shit.
An Ivy hairstyle could have partially compensated for his headshape/face.
Had some interesting wives though. I once met #5, Carol Stevens, an extraordinarily nice lady, in Lenox, MA. A one time jazz singer, she’d even sung with the MJQ at nearby Music Inn. Topically, my “MJQ at Music Inn” vol 1 album will soon be aired once more, for a consummate “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”.
Mailer’s fake-Irish accent was not cheesy. He used it while wearing three-piece suits when he wanted to give off a Yeats/Behan air, or when he was drunk and wanted to sound like Victor McLaglen. Mostly he sounded like Brooklyn. Buckley’s accent did not mimic the English. No Englishman talks like that, unless he is on Nembutal or just had his teeth kicked in. Buckley just wanted to talk in a way that would piss people off. He succeeded and made a lot of money doing it.
First, let the record show that I am not the “Robert” who blogged that Norman Mailer dressed like shit.
When I was in college in the 60’s, Mailer spoke to our student body. He read from an article he had written for Esquire that described the death of a prize fighter. It was riveting. After his talk, some of us were invited to attend a small group discussion with him (About 12 to 15 students who had writing aspirations.) Mailer came storming into the classroom, grabbed a chair and set it on a desk. Then he hopped up on the table, sat in the chair with its back facing him and began to hold court. He was smart, witty, engaging, and a force majeure for we ungrads. Think Robin Williams in the scene from Dead Poet’s Society.
Prior post — last line should be “for we undergrads.”
Howdy, “Robert”. Correct English requires “for us undergrads”.
Love it. Great sense of his own personal style.
Incels talking manly stuff. Cool.
Funny, just finished re-reading “The Naked and the Dead)
So a friend of mine tells the story of Mailer giving a talk at his university in the mid 60’s. As said above, Mailer was witty and engaging to all. They too broke into a smaller group, though they went to a bar instead of a classroom. They all proceeded to get roaring drunk and everyone was having a great time until one smartass asked, “So Mailer, why did you stab your wife?”
I drank with home several times at Kennedy’s and Pen & Pencil, he even gave me tickets to a “Death of The American Novel(?) “ Symposium….. and I was just a 20 year kid then. If you could mix Sprezzatura/Trad/Drunk Irish Poet…well, he did!
Norman was a frequent dinner guest at Bill and Pat Buckley’s maisonette on Park Avenue. Needless to say, liquid refreshment and good food were in abundance and conversation reached it’s zenith. Pat would play the harp and Bill the harpsichord. The accents were not fake for certain. At evening’s end, NM would often elect to sleep on a handy couch rather than attempt the several yards out to an awaiting taxi, I am told.
Buckley had a “mid-atlantic accent” not unlike George Plimpton, Katherine Hepburn,
or FDR, for that matter: