Mailer & Sontag sittin’ in a tree?

Right-wing provocateur David Horowitz has compiled a slipshod “guide to the political left” at Discover the Network. In this view of things, Norman Mailer and Susan Sontag are equivalent members of a “network” because they both opposed the war on Iraq.

But Mailer, alleged “leftist provocateur,” voiced his opposition to the war most notably in a magazine called The American Conservative. (See “I Am Not For World Empire.”) Calling himself a “left-conservative,” he drew a distinction between “value conservatives” (heartland Christians) and “flag conservatives” (the Bush Administration). Mailer once beat up a sailor for questioning the sexual orientation of his dog, and he says that “manliness” is what’s missing from the current Iraq conflict.

As for Sontag, Regarding the Torture of Others and Scott McLemee’s remembrances capture her politics and life’s work pretty well.

On the other hand, a reader points out that Mailer and Sontag:

had in common status as contributors to the New York Review. As for his appearance in American Conservative, my understanding is with all that alimony to pay he writes for whoever pays.

Another reader, Robert, writes:

[Mailer’s] coverage of the political conventions in the ’60s was brilliant … the best political coverage I have ever read. The Armies of the Night and The Executioner’s Song are brilliant, too. Mailer was a first-rate journalist, and occasionally he struck sparks with his essays, but as a public figure he was an asshole. I had an argument with him once about boxing. He was against the TKO (when the referee stops the fight). [Mailer] thought two fighters should be allowed to keep slugging until one of them was on his back. And I think of his novels only The Deer Park has any merit whatever.

(Network link via Mr. Maud, who observes that the site “mixes in terrorists and Islamic extremists, including the Ayatollah Khomeini and Mohammed Atta, with American liberals,” and says, “I want to start a website called ‘World Conservative Network,’ and put a page of alphabetized photos up. Hitler’s photo would go right between Hannity and Horowitz.”)


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