Paul Bryant's Reviews > Marilyn

Marilyn by Norman Mailer
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Stormin' Norman was on a British radio show called Desert Island Discs once. That's a show where you choose 8 "gramophone records" (as they quaintly say) to take with you to a notional desert island on which you have been abandoned. Norman stated up front that he didn't really like music so he just picked 8 tunes which reminded him of his six wives and two significant others. What a tosser!

Anyway, Norman's unabashed drool of a book makes it clear that he would have liked to slot Marilyn in somewhere between Wife No. 4 and Wife No. 5. But some little fishies just didn't swim into his big craw.

Contemplating Marilyn's life & character is guaranteed to make me pontificate tediously about the common yet weird disjunction between outer aspect and inner reality with which we so often are jarringly confronted in this life. The very Marilynity of Marilyn on screen and in photos gives even the casual observer the idea that it just doesn't get any better than this. But of course, behind the effortless cartoony-sexy fun were 63 takes, ten nervous breakdowns, not much love, and enough antidepressants to trade for a 1953 tan and cream Studebaker saloon.

**

Always thought of myself as a bit of a failure
For never reading anything else by Norman Mailure
Except the Executioner's Song
Which was really long.
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Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by Manny (new)

Manny Contemplating Marilyn's life & character is guaranteed to make me pontificate about the common yet weird disjunction between outer aspect and inner reality with which we so often are jarringly confronted in this life.

It's like those stories about how Kafka was privately a fun-lovin' guy with a GSOH. Perhaps this is why people are so impressed with Obama. As far as one can tell, he actually is a nice guy who believes in what he says in his speeches.

No, now that I write that down, it can't possibly be true. There must be a hidden Obama we haven't seen yet...


message 2: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell And behind the effortless cartoonysexy fun, 63 takes, ten nervous breakdowns and enough antidepressants to trade for a 1953 tan and cream Studebaker saloon

I don't think those things are unrelated....it takes a lot of work and guts to make a patriarchal fantasy look so effortless and joyous.

There are stories of her doing scenes from Anna Christie at the Actor's Studio when she tried to escape Hollywood. I wonder what those were like.


message 3: by Paul (last edited Apr 08, 2010 04:53AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul Bryant You're nearly right, Manny. In reality, Obama's a really stupid short white guy.


Paul Bryant Hi Moira - quite so - another version of this goofy happy outer surface masking grim truth was when I read John French's book about Captain Beefheart, whose music always strikes me as intensely joyous and optimistic. But it was conceived in cruel cultlike conditions. And I guess there are hundreds of other examples.


message 5: by Manny (new)

Manny Paul wrote: "You're nearly right, Manny. In reality, Obama's a really stupid short white guy."

Phew. That's a relief. I guess Michelle used to be a stripper and the kids are both crack-heads?


notgettingenough Ah. This thread nicely brings two things together for me. I've been thinking about that whole Ipod shuffle thing where nobody knows or cares what they are listening too any more. So, that whole 'what would you take to a desert island' won't even work.

This is SO sad, isn't it?

But, at the same time, I was thinking why on earth don't we just settle the elections this way, at least in the democracies where we don't really think we have a meaningful choice.

Pop them all on Ipod shuffle. Stop now and then. Sort of like state of the art musical chairs?


Paul Bryant Democracy, I spoke that word as if a wedding vow
Ah, but I was so much older then - I'm younger than that now


message 8: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Paul wrote: "And I guess there are hundreds of other examples."

Oh yeah, very Judy Garland - early 'happy' Judy, not late quaveringly-holding-it-together Judy.


message 9: by Miriam (new)

Miriam When you first said "Stormin' Norman" I thought you were referring to General Schwarzkopf and was trying to wrap my mind around the idea of him being invited (or agreeing) to talk about music on British radio.

Actually, I think that would've been more interesting than Mailer.


message 10: by Mariel (new)

Mariel I bought Ancient Evening by Mailer at the friends of library sale last month. I have no idea if it is good. It is enormous.


message 11: by Mariel (new)

Mariel It probably is! The Executioner's Song is a favorite.


message 12: by Michael (new)

Michael Yeah, I'm late again. You must forgive me being old. I could easily have thought of the General had I not known Mailer was indeed married to Marilyn. I liked your review Paul....and the other chatter too....mgc


message 13: by Miriam (last edited Nov 14, 2011 09:47AM) (new)

Miriam Mailer married to Marilyn? First I've heard of it... Although goodness knows they had enough marriages between the two of them that it is hard to keep track.


message 14: by Paul (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul Bryant No, he wasn't ! but he wanted to be. Clearly.


message 15: by Miriam (new)

Miriam He would hardly be unique in that, I suspect.


message 16: by Michael (new)

Michael Apparently I have fallen victim to misinformation and hearsay....I sit corrected....Mailer lusted for Marilyn...mgc


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