Essay about Democracy According to Mailer

Essay about Democracy According to Mailer

Length: 3496 words (10 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Democracy According to Mailer


Re-reading the bulk of my work in the course of a spring and summer, one theme came to predominate-it was apparent that most of my writing was about America. How much I loved our country-that was evident-and how much I didn't love it at all!
-Norman Mailer, foreword to Time of Our Time

The first time I read anything written by Norman Mailer-it was an excerpt from the Vietnam-era Armies of the Night-I remember two things coming to my mind. The first thing that popped into my head: what an arrogant, self-righteous jerk this Mailer guy is! What kind of egotistical writer places himself in his own novel? What new-age Narcissus finds the tragic flaw of every individual he encounters? What brand of windbag slices to bits the dignity of one of the most important movements in American history, the Vietnam War protests? A child of the Enlightenment, it twisted my stomach to watch the workings of our American democracy tackled and torn to shreds by Mailer's writing. But the second thing I remember thinking? You know . . . he is kind of right. Not all Vietnam protesters were the idealistic, selfless icons American society made them out to be. Not every military guard was a heartless, conservative monkey. Not every principle and ideal of the Enlightenment's picture of "democracy" was put into practice by the United States. Confused at my latter revelation, I quietly gnawed on my double-edged conclusion. Maybe there is something to this Mailer guy, my brain murmured, and his apparently outrageous, yet often correct, opinions.

Of course, I must qualify "kind of right." At first read, Norman Mailer is unfailingly rebellious, loud, arrogant, vulgar, cruel, and, on occasion, downright offensive. But...


... middle of paper ...


.... Neither situation was perfect, but each time, Americans accepted what they had and then took steps to improve upon it. Our democracy sometimes slips into a debacle in desperate need of correction, and after we recognize that something has to be done, we as Americans need to be willing to do whatever is necessary to improve ourselves both as individuals and together as a nation. Norman Mailer writes in order to help realize our flaws as a society, and to help us realize that, although we may have lost a few battles along the way, the war is far from over.

Works Cited

Jefferson, Thomas. "Declaration of Independence." A World of Ideas. 5th ed. Ed. Lee A. Jacobus. Boston: Bedford, 1998. 76-79.

Mailer, Norman. Time of Our Time. New York: Random House, 1998.

Spinoza, Benedict. Tractatus Politicus et Philosophicus. Trans. A.G. Wernham. New York: Oxford, 1958.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay Norman Mailer

- Made famous by the late comedian Flip Wilson, the Devil made me do it, was a quirky phrase used to pass the blame to the one entity that no one would expect anything but a mischievous act. This annoying saying became overused to the point of nausea in the seventies and became synonymous with acts of slapping girls’ bottoms or pinching in places better left unmentioned. When handed the list of book titles and authors to choose from, I immediately went for Norman Mailer. I had heard of him and some of his antics in the past and quickly decided he was the one....   [tags: Literary Analysis]

Powerful Essays
1614 words (4.6 pages)

The Is A Democracy Or An Oligarchy? Essay

- One method of three to create a polity is by taking elements of legislation from both oligarchy and democracy. A second method is to take the middle of both democratic and oligarchic arrangements. The last option is by taking some chunks of oligarchic and democratic laws and combining them into one. For example, one could be about offices that would have elections, which is considered an oligarchic element, but no property assessment, which is a democratic element. In order to decide if a polity has a mixed democracy and oligarchy well, is to see if the same polity can be easily spoken as a democracy or as an oligarchy....   [tags: Democracy, Oligarchy, Plato, Government]

Powerful Essays
1037 words (3 pages)

Political Parties Are Necessary For Democracy Essay

- Introduction Many political pundits accept that political parties are necessary ingredients of democratic governance. Within this framework, many scholars agree that political parties are the principal agents of democratic consolidation because they are the key players shaping democracy’s emergence (Pridham, 1990: 29). Similarly, “party system institutionalization has been widely viewed as a requisite for the consolidation of democracy” (Kuenzi and Lambright, 2005: 423). However, scholars disagree on the effects of different party system characteristics on democracy....   [tags: Democracy, Elections, Representative democracy]

Powerful Essays
1729 words (4.9 pages)

Essay about Democracy Is Not A Democracy

- Many Americans are proud to live in a country that claims to be a democracy. They are enlightened to know that “the people” have the power to actively participate in the decision making process of the government. They constantly show pride and faith on the principles of democracy everywhere they go. Yet, there are many who also seem to disapprove of the process that others so claim to be the best form of rule of government. Some Americans might believe that being able to vote and participate in presidential elections is one of the truest forms of democracy, but this is not the case....   [tags: Democracy, Elections, Election]

Powerful Essays
1296 words (3.7 pages)

Democracy And The United States Essay

- Democracy is important and valuable to the people of the United States. It is the form of government that rules us all. Democracy is one type of government with different variations. The idea of democracy has two meanings. The ideal and the real. The ideal is that democracy that listens to everyone and gives freedom as well as equality. For example, there is direct democracy, in which every person votes to come to an agreement. This is a type of democracy that cannot be accomplished in the United States due to the population size....   [tags: Democracy, Government, Representative democracy]

Powerful Essays
1891 words (5.4 pages)

Democracy And Its Impact On Democracy Essay

- Democracy is robust, widely accepted and highly anticipated around the world. It is the triumphant form of government; dominantly used in Europe, North and South and America and becoming reformed and taking new roots in Africa and Asia. Although the term democracy is based on its Greek origin, demos kratos, meaning people rule, the term cannot be simply understood as such. Due to vast coverage, the adaptation of democracy has varied greatly, whether regionally, nationally, by state or through different branches of government....   [tags: Democracy, Representative democracy]

Powerful Essays
1881 words (5.4 pages)

Essay on Democracy in Latin America

- Now days democracy has been establish in every Latin America country except Cuba, which is still a socialist state. It seemed that every other alternative form of government such as Marxism or Leninism has failed and been replaced by democracy. Furthermore it looks like people in Latin American really enjoy democracy and its’ benefits, as they also consider it to be the best form of government. After the failure of authoritarian leaders and the military intervene their lives, Latin American citizens wanted to change their system into a more fair and honest system, democracy....   [tags: Struggle for Democracy]

Powerful Essays
2755 words (7.9 pages)

Essay about Distrust Of Democracy

- Distrust of Democracy “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have” (Democracy Quotes). Years ago, Thomas Jefferson was among many who, during drafting and ratification of the constitution, voiced their wariness over the creation of a strong national government. Professor I.M. Skeptic argues that the constitution was born out of a distrust of democracy. I do believe that the constitution was created out of distrust; however I believe this distrust is for a strong central government that was displayed through Britain 's monarchy, not of democracy....   [tags: Separation of powers, United States, Democracy]

Powerful Essays
1290 words (3.7 pages)

Essay about Immunitarian Democracy

- Immunitarian Democracy 1. Does "community" refer to democracy. If not, could it or is it too deeply embedded in the conceptual lexicon of the Romantic, authoritarian and racist Right. This is the question, one already asked by American neo-communitarianism, that is emerging again in Europe at the precise moment when, some, especially in France and in Italy, are risking thinking community anew. At issue is not only a legitimate question, but in some ways even an inevitable one, in which democractic culture deeply examines its own theoretical precepts and future....   [tags: Democracy Politics Community]

Free Essays
4632 words (13.2 pages)

Essay on Democracy

- Democracy has become the most widespread political form of government during the past decade, after the fall of all its alternatives. During the second part of the 20th century, the 3 main enemies of democracy, namely communism, fascism and Nazism, lost most of their power and influence. However, democracy is still only to be found in less than half of this world's countries. China with a fifth of the total population "had never experienced a democratic government" and Russia still doesn't have a well established democracy....   [tags: Politics Political Democracy]

Powerful Essays
1025 words (2.9 pages)