Forums > Social Discussion > Norman Mailer and "the white male ego": the hell?!

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DaiTenshi 104 posts
Location: Stillwater, OK


What... the... hell?
Norman Mailer's Opinion on Why We Went to War

To be fair, he at least realizes that it is an "offensive suggestion that this may have been one of the cardinal reasons we went looking for war"

The suggestion goes a bit beyond "offensive" for me and I'm not really certain yet what to say about it.

Comment away, after some of your comments maybe I'll assemble a cogent response to this article.

No one knows me like I do.

StoneGOLD Member
Stream Entrant
2,830 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Id say Norman Mailers comments are fair and accurate, and they provide rare insight into the white American male. At least he has some understanding of the motivations behind the invasion. And hey, just in case you dont know who he is, check this Norman Mailer link

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

King Of Bongo 522 posts
Location: Berlin

Hmmm, not too sure about the man's article.

I personally would rate it as a pile of misattributed c##p with a big ra in the middle. I don't find it offensive (not that I'm a white American male but if I was I wouldnt), instead it seems fairly ridiculous. There is a huge leap of faith which seems pretty silly from what is/was going on (war) to the cause of it all ("white males feel unhappy with their lot in life and are good at war").

I think its shows a fairly accurate description of a few of the causes behind the war against Iraq (economic crisis/Iraq being ripe for a demonstration of American military might- an easy target hoping to bring other countries into line by mere threat of similar force), but balk at the idea of it being just to boost the ego of the "Catholic American white male"- the whole notion seems too absurd, powerfully radical and scathing to be anywhere close to the truth (then again, who knows, but I doubt it).

How is it possible for one man to make such gross overstatements?
From his article he seems to think every single American white male is a disillusioned, ageing, beer-drinking macho; insecure because women are finally attaining that (quite frankly wonderful) status of equality in the workplace; unsatisfied with TV sports and the fact that whites aren't always top of the tops in them.

I havent lived in the states, but I would be very surprised/disgusted if it were an accurate depiction of the typical white american male.

N.M's reasons for going to war:
-because white males were finding their manliness endangered by their female counterparts...
-because blacks kick ass at basketball and cubans are better at baseball(!)...
-because of the recent corporate scandals (which have already had their fair share of press)
-because paedophiles have been discovered amongst the clergy

does anyone see any of those as a plausible cause for a war? come on...

I think the Norman Mailer needs to give the American government and the pentagon think-tanks a bit more credibility than that- Bush wasn't the only person behind the war and I think there are far bigger items on the agenda than white males around the country feeling good about themselves.

This may just be me (and I wouldnt know how it is the US), but as far as I'm concerned:
-sports continue to cause as much sensation as they ever did (tell me about it- Real Madrid beating Juventus 2-1 in the Champions League a couple of days ago had me bouncing about the room in a complete state of euphoria!)
-white males who aspire to good jobs are not ruffled by the sex (hmmm, perhaps still a little stigma there) or colour of their adversaries skins
-In sports ethnicity has nothing to do with anyone watching it feeling less secure

I very much doubt Bush was thinking of boosting the "white male ego" in starting the war... ego, maybe, but the American ego/pride as a whole country- not as an ethnic sex based movement. Next thing N.M. is going to say is that Bush started it because he had an unhappy childhood !

As I have probably said before, I think it was far more along the lines of:
-unleashing the angst left by S11 (in which the wide media coverage would have helped- he might have had something there),
-reassertion of the American Superpower status
-gaining popularity in the eyes of his people.
- A shock treatment to try and revive the economy
-(oil interests)

The racist ideal of white male supremacy has little if anything to do with it.

I may be wrong and simply wanting to look the other way because the mans opinion makes me feel slightly nauseous, but thats the way I feel.


PS 6 wives, 9 children???
we know what his favourite hobby is

Your life is ending one minute at a time...
So live it.

MikeGinnyGOLD Member
HOP Mad Doctor
13,922 posts
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Generalizations are as generalizations do.

For some reason, people are willing to say that this article is "valid," but if an equally "valid" article were to be written about, say, Black American Men, oh boy would people be up in arms!

I am a White American Male, but I don't buy into this stereotype. I'm not offended because I'm more secure in my identity than that, but I think the article was pointless.

And yet, I have to wonder if that's how Bush sees it.


Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

A buckuht n a hooze! -Valura