On Norman Mailer on Iraq

August 17, 2007 at 10:23 pm

I think I love Norman Mailer.

Let’s look at a few things Norman Mailer does in this video clip to communicate his values. The question that was asked of him was to talk about “honor” and “shame” when it comes to Iraq.

He talks about loving America as if he were married to America. “One’s country is one’s mate,” he said. How does this relate to Iraq? America is like a fairly good couple where suddenly the husband goes out and cheats on the wife with a really foul relationship. He characterizes Iraq as a foul relationship. Why is it the worst war ever? Because, according to Mailer, there was no way to succeed.

Using marriage, a concept that everyone is familiar with, Mailer paints the war in terms that make sense. He goes straight to the heart of the matter and presents a compelling analogy.

Next, he is asked about the rise of the neo-conservatives. Was he surprised? “No,” he says, “I’ve always been a pessimist about the possibilities of the left.” He starts out using humor. Then, he talks about the difference between fascism and democracy. Fascism being a more natural state while democracy depends on the notion that there are more people who are good than bad. Fascism goes back to our childhood where a father was needed to tell his children what to do. He compares the right-wing to a stern father saying “No, you can’t do this. You can’t do that.”The best part, however, is his quote at the end: “The right wing is perfectly willing, for the most part, to give up the joys of intelligence, to give up the joys of free thinking, to give up the joys of following your thoughts to where they lead.”