Norman Mailer died today.
I've never made it through a single one of Mailer's poorly written books so I was gritting my teeth as I read the tributes and the emails about losing a "great writer".
And then I stumbled along Roger Kimball's take on the passing of a "legend".
It is in his ideas about sex, especially as he relates them to the rest of life, that Mailer was influential and most destructive. It would be difficult to overstate the crudeness of his position. In 1973, in one of the countless interviews he has given, Mailer was asked for his opinion about legalized abortion. Mailer thought well enough of his answer to reprint it in Pieces and Pontifications (1982):
"I think when a woman goes through an abortion, even legalized abortion, she goes through hell. There’s no use hoping otherwise. For what is she doing? Sometimes she has to be saying to herself, “You’re killing the memory of a beautiful f***.” I don’t think abortion is a great strain when the act was some miserable little screech, or some squeak oozed up through the trapdoor, a little rat which got in, a worm who slithered under the threshold. That sort of abortion costs a woman little more than discomfort. Unless there are medical consequences years later. But if a woman has a great f***, and then has to abort, it embitters her."
Whatever else can be said about this statement, it is the declaration of a moral cretin.
I am disgusted. Goodbye Mr. Mailer. Full Stop.