Norman Mailer


Author Norman Mailer, whose son John Buffalo Mailer is an editor at High Times magazine,was interviewed in the 30th anniversary edition of the magazine about his views on marijuana. Though Mailer says he hasn't smoked in a decade, he credits his past marijuana use with opening him up to the consciousness of a "higher power" and music appreciation, especially jazz. "I'd been listening to jazz for years, but it had never meant all that much to me. Now, with the powers pot offered, simple things became complex; complex things clarified themselves," he said.

Mailer said after smoking pot, "I began to write for the sound of what I was writing" rather than just the sense. He likes pot for editing but thinks it got in the way of his novel writing. "I'd have brilliant insights on pot but could hardly remember any of them later," he said. Although he calls sex on pot "fabulous" he thinks it made him detached from the other person. (Since his first pot experience came during a "crazy" menage a trois, it seems perhaps Mailer had this detachment going before smoking pot.) He is critical of modern-day pot smokers, whom he compares to religious fundamentalists. "There's too much dead-ass in the thinking of pot smokers now," he said.

Also interviewed in the special High Times edition are rocker Iggy Pop, who relates positive experiences with "weed," and Hunter S. Thompson, who Mailer calls the only person that can write effectively while on drugs. Mailer reportedly told his children to learn all they could before smoking pot, because it would make the connections in their brains more interesting after smoking. He said, however, he doesn't know if they took his advice.

Norman Mailer served in army in the Philippines, and his novel The Naked and the Dead(1948) was hailed by many as one of the finest American novels to come out of WWII. In 1955 Mailer co-founded the Village Voice, and he was editor of Dissent from 1952 until 1963. His novel Armies of the Night , a recollection of his experiences at the Washington peace rallies of 1968, won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. He won a second Pulitzer in 1980.

Copyright 2006

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