NORMAN MAILER DECLARES: 'AMERICA IS SO VAIN'
In an 8,000-wordish polemic to be published in this weekend's London SUNDAY TIMES [9/8/02],
Norman Mailer sounds what he hopes to be a "wake up call for America," the DRUDGE REPORT has
The legendary Mailer rips the United States in a shock Q & A, calling it "so big, so powerful,
and so vain..." and warns "every American has to ask himself, 'Am I ready to die for my
"This century is going to be the most awesome of all centuries to contemplate - there is a real
question whether human kind will get to the end of it... America's so big, so powerful, and so
vain, ... I get angry when I see it being less than it can be.
"The British have a love of their country that is profound. They can revile it, tell dirty
stories about it. But deep down their patriotism is deep. In America we're playing musical
chairs - don't get caught without a flag or you're out of the game. Why do we need all this
reaffirmation? It's as if we're a three hundred pound man who's seven feet tall, superbly
shaped, absolutely powerful, and every three minutes he's got to reaffirm the fact that his arm
pits have a wonderful odor. We don't need compulsive, self-serving patriotism. It's odious...
"When you have a great country it's your duty to be critical of it so it can become even
"Culturally, emotionally America is growing more loutish, arrogant, and vain.
"I detest this totally promiscuous patriotism. Wave a little flag and become a good person?
"If we have a depression or fall into desperate economic times, I don't know what's going to
hold the country together...
"There's just too much anger here, too much ruptured vanity, too much shock, too much identity
crisis. And worst of all, too much patriotism. Patriotism in a country that's failing has a
logical tendency to turn fascistic...
"Let's suppose ten people are killed by a small bomb on a street corner in some city in
America. The first thing to understand is that there are 280 million Americans. So, there's one
chance in 28 million you're going to be one of those people. By such heartless means of
calculation, the 3000 deaths in the Twin Towers came approximately to one mortality for every
90,000 Americans. Your chances of dying if you drive a car are one in 7,000 each year. We seem
perfectly ready to put up with automobile statistics. I fear I am ready to say there is a
tolerable level to terror...
"One of the things I've always found least attractive about Tony Blair was his toadyish
attitude toward Clinton...
"Clinton made a point of surrounding himself with people who might be 90% as intelligent as
himself, but never his equal. Bush is smart enough to know that he couldn't possibly do the
same, or the country would be run by morons."
Drudge Report, 9/7/2002