OPW: Norman Mailer on America

Norman Mailer died two weeks ago, and so I’m slow on the uptake. But I’d rather quote something interesting and out-of-date that timely and uninteresting. So on today’s “Other People’s Words,” what Norman Mailer told Charlie Rose about his country in 1998.

You know, I think we live in the most exceptional country ever for a writer, because there’s so many aspects of it.

I don’t know about other writers but I know that I’ve had an odd love affair with America. As if I were married to this incredible woman who I half loved and half hated. And all through my work I’m always thinking of her, “Oh God! There she’s gone and done it again!” It always happens that you’re so disappointed just as you’re begining to get excited about her.

There are many disappointments to living in America because I always think it’ll get better and it doesn’t. It gets worse. The architecture in America, for example, has gotten worse every year for the last 40 years.

Can you think of anything that has gotten better?

Yeah, the MTV has gotten better and better.