Lipton’s Journal/February 21, 1955/635

From Project Mailer

A shit-eating grin. To eat shit is to express power. (The double idea. By undergoing degradation in private one may express power in public provided one isn’t overcome by guilt in which case one is crushed or becomes sadistic.) A shit-eating grin is the grin of a man who has gotten away with it, who is wielding power without having had to eat the shit.

As viz Bob Lindner[1] in the car when he knew he had Adele[2] and me under his thumb. So he had a shit-eating grin. But indeed as we all knew I had made him eat shit half an hour before and he was entitled now to redress the balance. Which is why, scared as I was, I didn’t dislike him but instead liked him enormously at the moment. Not because he was making me grovel (or was it just that—safe groveling?*) Yes, it was. I wrote a * which to me is the puckering of pussy lips. He was making me a pussy at that moment. But, also, I like him because he could come back, he wasn’t a pushover.


  1. A prominent Baltimore psychoanalyst and writer, Robert Lindner (1914 – 1956) became acquainted with Mailer after reading Lindner’s 1952 sharp critique of current psychoanalytic practice, Prescription for Rebellion (1952), published by Mailer’s publisher, Rinehart. The letter, which contained both praise and criticism for Lindner’s ideas, led to a close friendship over the next four years, including many visits and the sharing of work, including Lipton’s. See extended note on entry 56.
  2. Adele Morales (1925 – 2015), who he married in April 1954, was Mailer’s second wife. The mother of his daughters Danielle (b. 1957), and Elizabeth Anne (b. 1959), she separated from Mailer in early 1961 a few months after he stabbed her with a penknife, just missing her heart. He pled guilty to felonious assault and was given a suspended sentence. They divorced in 1962.