Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Norman Mailer, Ernest Hemingway, Myself and Other Superstars

Hemingwaywrote "d--n" instead of "damn." In some of his works, at least. In The Naked and the Dead,Norman Mailer may have spelled out all of the other dirty words, but instead of "fuck" he wrote "fug."

And it was published and it was a huge success, and the reason, Mailer said, that in all of his later works he spelled out all of the naughty words is that when he was first introduced to Dorothy Parker, she said, "Ah, you're the young man who doesn't know how to spell 'fuck.'"

This would have been the late 40's. Hemmingway was still alive then, he lived until after 1960. I don't know whether he and Mailer ever met. It seems strange to me that I don't know that. I also don't know whether by the late 40's Hemmingway had begun to spell out the naughty words.

Clive Owen plays Hemmingway in a new HBO movie. He wears spectacles and a big moustache and a goofy expression, but still it's very flattering physically to Hemmingway.

Okay, okay. I'm not complaining about how much better-looking Cate Blanchett is than Elizabeth I was, or that Owen played Walter Raleigh opposite Blanchett.

And if we get right down to it (Mailer was a shrimp!), it's possible that if I had had more success as a writer, and as a young writer like Hemmingway and Mailer, I might have spent less of my life sneering at Hemmingway and Mailer.

That's either all the way right down to it, or painfully close.

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