Category Archives: Norman Mailer

July 7, 2010, 2:13 pm

She Started A Heat Wave By Making Her Seat Wave; Or, Having Fun With American Studies

Given that we are going into our third day of temperatures topping 100 degrees, I can’t believe no one has posted this yet.

Since this is an academic blog, and a feminist blog, and since I am locked in my study with a small air conditioner roaring away, here is a brief teaching guide to this segment from There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954). An utterly dull period piece about a fictional theater family, this movie is far is better remembered for Ethel Merman’s belting version of the title song that valorizes the heartaches and spiritual rewards of “the business.” The movie also starred legendary dancers Donald O’Connor, Mitzi Gaynor and Johnnie Ray (that’s the group watching from the wings in the crazy pastel “Mexican” outfits) — a who’s who cast in what was even then a dying Hollywood genre, the big budget musical.

This little tidbit of Cold War popular culture, originally…

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February 16, 2009, 3:27 pm

The Radical Is Reminded Of A Time When Intellectuals Were Witty And Television Talk Shows Were Smart

Because I have no time to post today; and because the pace of the semester has been ramped up to a new level of insanity this week; and because I think everything has been said about the last post that can possibly be said; and because the best way to stop a comments thread is to put up a new post to distract everyone; and because I am not feeling in the least witty, I would like to re-publish this wonderful 1971 clip from the Dick Cavett Show:

I would like to point out that it is not just the lefties (Cavett and Vidal) who are acute and funny (Mailer, although on the left, I know, was just such an ass I don’t know why any of his wives didn’t stab him before he got to one of them.) But Midge Decter’s intervention reminds me that in 1971 conservatives had razor wits too, not to mention good manners and gender politics, which is why in high school I used to subscribe to what became…

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