Your world, presented commercial-free

The very manly-male writer Norman Mailer has, among other things, run for Mayor of New York City, and (allegedly) knifed one of his wives. (He’s had several.) But these days, he might be offering us his oddest transformation, to which I respond, who asked Norman Mailer to turn into Norman Rockwell?

In a cover story for Sunday’s Parade Magazine, contributing editor Mailer responds to the question, "If you could do one thing to change America for the better, what would it be?" (A link to the cover is here; the full story won’t go online until Jan. 31st.)

Several answers jumped to my mind, like: feed and house the Homeless! Provide daycare for working moms and moms who want to get GEDs! And ooh, I’m just beginning!

Here’s Mailer’s response: get rid of TV commercials. Why? Because they disrupt people’s ability to concentrate, a skill which Mailer says is “itself … a species of psychic strength.”

Indeed, buttressing the argument is that the number of foreign students coming here to take PhDs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is growing "four times faster than domestic students." (It’s gotta be the commercials!) He continues, "If we want to have the best of all possible worlds, we had better realize that we can not have all the worlds, I believe that television commercials have to go." And later adds, "the constant interruption of concentration [TV advertising] generates not only dominates much of our lives, but over the long run is bound to bleed into our prosperity."

Et tu Normie? This from a guy who wrote Advertisements for Myself?

—Posted by Barbara Lippert

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