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Marilyn, Normal Mailer

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1 Marilyn, Normal Mailer le Ven 8 Jan - 0:56

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Marilyn, Normal Mailer

About the elucidation of the tragedies mentioned in the beginning of the text: the disasters that arrived to American kings and queens. Monroe died on August 5th 1962 a year before the assassination of John Kennedy. But what is remarkable with that Kennedy's shooting is that Mailer calls him Jack (short for John) as if Mailer was listing the cast of characters in a play. It's a sort of fictional name, that name brings him closer to us. Later on Bobby is mentioned, and he is Robert kennedy, John Fitzgerald kennedy's brother. Once again, he is a member of a cast, he was assassinated on June 5th 1968. He should have been a candidate for a presidential race but we was shot after a speech. Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4th 1968, surprisingly, nothing is made of his name. Senator Kennedy died last year, he was Teddy Kennedy (one of the last Kennedys). In 1969 he had a car accident, he was not killed but he went away from the scene of the accident and the person who was with him died in it. People were shocked, as a result he couldn't run for president in 1972 (and Mailer wrote his biography in 1973). What is interesting is that Mailer writes like as everybody knew about that accident. He's talking about a facility who's tragic ends have something mythical.

Notions to comment in the text:
-myth (American myth in its relation to tragedy and illusion in order to make a link between the American myth and the motion picture, between reality and illusion).
-theatre, the place where people go to see motion pictures.
-Cornucopia or the horn of plenty. In the text there's a pun. l 73
-Faustian. First it puts the stress on the mythical dimension. It legitimizes the use of the word myth but mostly the adjective Faustian serves to introduce the idea of the consumer society. Between the 50s and 70s Faustian people are those who desire infinity, boundlessness but mostly it refers to the short time perspective to society as a society (or a person) who wastes valuable and promising assets.

In a colorful paradoxical portrait of Marilyn Monroe (MM) Mailer chronicles a nation in blind pursuit of wealth, power, and pleasure which may occasionally clash with dignity and happiness but necessarily at the expends of (au detriment de) original America dreams of opportunity and freedom. The movie star emerges (un tel personnage apparait comme…) as the major symbol of an America alienated to and hypnotized by its own myth.

I Marilyn as the perfect incarnation of the American dream. Embodiment but she was disembodied because she was a character.
II The horn of plenty
III Myth-manufacturing. Analysis of that text as a criticism of the consumer society.

I The American dream had found its perfect incarnation in MM and that made her ambiguous death all the more shocking/ all the more of a jolt. Her acting skill are not so much as evoked (on en va même pas jusqu'à les mentionner) and yet she is persistently said to belong to the world of the motion pictures, to be for the theaters and to have literally stepped into Valentino's footprints. Doing so (ce faisant) she elaborated an artificial and indirect lineage (filiation) which is more genuine than anything else in Hollywood. Her character and self-promoted image was her very nature which contained multitudes as shown by the many noun structures describing her (from line 42 to line 52) in an uncritical way. Mailer's loose syntax makes way for Marilyn's oxymoronic nature which echoed America's.

II In the extract, Mailer invades every blank piece of paper or meaning. His description is hinging (s'articulant) on extreme characteristics that leave no room for a middle ground. Before a compromise can be found another aspect is being mentioned, another item is being listed as if she was a department store of luxury goods. The image of the Cornucopia as something abundant in itself can apply to the text which tirelessly unravels (déroule) its over-ripe (trop riche) language and metaphors in a self-indulgent way. She was the horn of plenty (USA= Land of plenty) just as Mailor's text is throughout a blatant (qui saute aux yeux) emulation that panders to (to pander to somebody's wishes) the consumers' taste for juicy bits and favors narcissism. The horn is horny and spurting as is suggested by Mailer's sexual imagery but doing so he might be guilty of the very grossness he vindicates MM of. The angel of sex if only oxymoronic and blasphemous at first glance, the prominence of puritanism is defeated by ironic references to the new religion that mass entertainment is. Religion is as much exploded (montrer la fausseté de, faire voler en éclats, démonter) and debunked (debunk: faire oeuvre iconoclaste) as the importance of mass entertainment. Eventually, the religious imagery introduces a new paganism promoting sexual freedom and sexual radicalism who's herald is MM herself in the etymological meaning of the word angel (messenger).

III Mailer writes more as an inspired journalist than as a novelist or a biographer. In 1962 what was being questioned is the endurance of the myth and what was needed was her recycling of Marilyn as a hero of consumption (Baudrillard) and sexual delight into a product of mass consumption through her death.

=> Baby go boom is said to be the message Marilyn left. As a description of and an invitation to have a riotous behavior, its injunctive form sounds like some new anthem echoing "God save the Queen". He chose all at once the idol dying, the myth being born and the myth being shared. As such, Normal Mailer's tribute to Marilyn Monroe seems to be unwilling to break free from the collective hypnosis it denounces. As a system, the consumer society feeds from its own criticism recycling failures into forms of narcissism. As a public commodity to be consumed and discarded (en tant que bien de consummation dont on doit profiter et qu'on jette juste après) the dead Valentino arrived in Hollywood on page 23 of the New York Times.

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