Not a Norman Mailer Fan


Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.

December 9, 1959, Vol. V, No. 7

Awed and Dazed?

Dear Sir:

Norman Mailer is an ignorant, stupid, talentless man. How appalling and disgraceful for someone like Kenneth Tynan, of a literary generation brought up on Mann, Proust, Gide and Joyce, to issue such a panegyric [Voice, November 18] to this fourth-rate scribbler. What comes from writing for the New Yorker and seeing too many Broadway plays! Tynan is the perfect specimen of the intellectual manque, exhibiting the veneer but not the matter of a good education.

Mr. Tynan has been seduced by an American phenomenon – popular success. Norman Mailer has made so much money and has been adored critically by such a diverse mob that Mr. Tynan has been awed and dazed. He has gone along with Hovstad, who believes that “the majority is always right,” and has forgotten Dr. Stockmann’s reply that “the majority is never right.” Indeed, Mr. Tynan ought to go back and re-read what his own compatriot, John Stuart Mill, wrote about the majority’s tyranny.

As Professor Lionel Trilling has pointed out, American society tends to be seductive rather than coercive. No commissar is forcing Mr. Tynan to think and write inanely about Mailer. But there he goes writing that way just the same. – Theodore Price, West 18th Street

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]