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Difference between revisions of "The Mailer Review/Volume 2, 2008/The Wise Blood of Norman Mailer: An Interpretation and Defense of Why Are We in Vietnam?"

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He brings along the two “yes men”—called “medium asses” in the book—to act as witnesses when he slaughters a bear. His only motive for the hunt is to ensure that he is respected and feared as a sexually superior and merciless leader. In order to impress his prowess upon his peers, he must bring back a “grizzer.” Concepts like “sporting chance” and “grace under pressure” have no meaning to him. He operates on a grossly animalistic level, considering ruthlessness and sexual domination as supreme virtues.
He brings along the two “yes men”—called “medium asses” in the book—to act as witnesses when he slaughters a bear. His only motive for the hunt is to ensure that he is respected and feared as a sexually superior and merciless leader. In order to impress his prowess upon his peers, he must bring back a “grizzer.” Concepts like “sporting chance” and “grace under pressure” have no meaning to him. He operates on a grossly animalistic level, considering ruthlessness and sexual domination as supreme virtues.


In D.J.’s words, “He sings the song of the swine.”{{sfn|Mailer|1959|p=34}} And in Mailer’s estimation, Rusty is analogous to the American corporate mind which would seek out a Vietnam to attack in order to release an explosive, repressed sexuality and reaffirm its status as pack leader of the world. In Rusty—and the American corporate mind—Mailer sees the worst kind of genetic tyranny and conditioning by tribal mores.
In D.J.’s words, “He sings the song of the swine.”{{sfn|Mailer|1959|p=34}} And in Mailer’s estimation, Rusty is analogous to the American corporate mind which would seek out a Vietnam to attack in order to release an explosive, repressed sexuality and reaffirm its status as pack leader of the world.{{efn|This metaphor is further expounded in {{harvtxt|Mailer|1971|}}, in which the author suggests that the American expedition to the moon was analogous to an ejaculation of spermatozoa towards the waiting egg cell.}} In Rusty—and the American corporate mind—Mailer sees the worst kind of genetic tyranny and conditioning by tribal mores.


His son, D.J. (self proclaimed “disk jockey to the world”) stands in great contrast to the uncompromising animal values embraced by Rusty. Sixteen at the beginning of the hunt, his mind has been so riddled and scrambled by the constant electronic chatter of modem media that he can only think in a non-stop breathless stream of obscene monologue.
His son, D.J. (self proclaimed “disk jockey to the world”) stands in great contrast to the uncompromising animal values embraced by Rusty. Sixteen at the beginning of the hunt, his mind has been so riddled and scrambled by the constant electronic chatter of modem media that he can only think in a non-stop breathless stream of obscene monologue.
As he is telling the story, we are bombarded by a curious, often annoying, adolescent style and a series of naive boasts. (This may be the one most disturbing aspect of an otherwise well-conceived satire.) In certain ways he does resemble his father: sneering boastfulness, shallow sexuality, arrogance, domineering stance. But he differs in a drastic way that forever separates the two from each other. D.J. knows the anxiety of self-awareness. As he puts it, he is a victim of “Herr Dread.”{{sfn|Mailer|1967|p=122}}{{efn|Though Mailer refers to his personal concept of dread, he apparently obtained his basic idea of “Herr Dread” from [[w:Søren Kierkegaard|Søren Kierkegaard]]’s dark philosophical classic, ''The Concept of Dread''. It is this awareness of spiritual emptiness which separates D.J. from his father.}} His intimacy with his own rationality produces a free-floating fear which plagues him constantly, nibbling at his confidence like a rat trapped within his chest. In his own words, D.J. “sees through to the stinking root of things” and “can watch his own ass being created. . . . ”{{sfn|Mailer|1967|p=35}}
. . .


===Notes===
===Notes===
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===Works Cited===
===Works Cited===
{{Refbegin|indent=yes}}
{{Refbegin|indent=yes|30em}}
* {{cite news |last=Broyard |first=Anatole |date=1967 |title=A Disturbnce of the Peace |url= |work=New York Times |location= |access-date= |ref=harv }}
* {{cite news |last=Broyard |first=Anatole |date=September 17, 1967 |title=A Disturbnce of the Peace |url= |work=New York Times |location=3, 4–5 |access-date= |ref=harv }}
* {{cite book |last=Mailer |first=Norman |date=1966 |title=Cannibals and Christians |url= |location=New York |publisher=Dial |pages= |isbn= |author-link= |ref=harv }}
* {{cite book |last=Mailer |first=Norman |date=1966 |title=Cannibals and Christians |url= |location=New York |publisher=Dial |pages= |isbn= |author-link= |ref=harv }}
* {{cite book |last=Mailer |first=Norman |authormask=1 |date=1971 |title=Of a Fire on the Moon |url= |location=Boston |publisher=Little, Brown |pages= |isbn= |author-link= |ref=harv }}
* {{cite book |last=Mailer |first=Norman |authormask=1 |date=1959 |chapter=The White Negro  |title=Advertisements for Myself |url= |location=New York |publisher=Putnam |pages=357–358 |isbn= |author-link= |ref=harv }}
* {{cite book |last=Mailer |first=Norman |authormask=1 |date=1959 |chapter=The White Negro  |title=Advertisements for Myself |url= |location=New York |publisher=Putnam |pages=357–358 |isbn= |author-link= |ref=harv }}
* {{cite book |last=Mailer |first=Norman |authormask=1 |date=1967 |title=Why Are We in Vietnam? |url= |location=New York |publisher=Putnam |pages= |isbn= |author-link= |ref=harv }}
* {{cite book |last=Mailer |first=Norman |authormask=1 |date=1967 |title=Why Are We in Vietnam? |url= |location=New York |publisher=Putnam |pages= |isbn= |author-link= |ref=harv }}
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