Quotes by Norman Mailer

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There is nothing safe about sex. There never will be.

The desire for success lubricates secret prostitution's in the soul.
A modern democracy is a tyranny whose borders are undefined; one discovers how far one can go only by traveling in a straight line until one is stopped.
Every moment of one's existence one is growing into more or retreating into less. One is always living a little more or dying a little bit.
The final purpose of art is to intensify, even, if necessary, to exacerbate, the moral consciousness of people.
There is one expanding horror in American life. It is that our long odyssey toward liberty, democracy and freedom-for-all may be achieved in such a way that utopia remains forever closed, and we live in freedom and hell, debased of style, not individual from one another, void of courage, our fear rationalized away.
Once a newspaper touches a story the facts are lost forever, even to the protagonists.
Left-wingers are incapable of conspiring because they are all egomaniacs.
Writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing.
In America all too few blows are struck into flesh. We kill the spirit here, we are experts at that. We use psychic bullets and kill each other cell by cell.
The difference between writing a book and being on television is the difference between conceiving a child and having a baby made in a test tube.
The sickness of our times for me has been just this damn thing that everything has been getting smaller and smaller and less and less important, that the romantic spirit has dried up, that there is no shame today. We're all getting so mean and small and petty and ridiculous, and we all live under the threat of extermination.
There's a subterranean impetus towards pornography so powerful that half the business world is juiced by the sort of half sex that one finds in advertisements.
If a person is not talented enough to be a novelist, not smart enough to be a lawyer, and his hands are too shaky to perform operations, he becomes a journalist.
I think it's bad to talk about one's present work, for it spoils something at the root of the creative act. It discharges the tension.
There was that law of life, so cruel and so just, that one must grow or else pay more for remaining the same.
The horror of the Twentieth Century was the size of each new event, and the paucity of its reverberation.
Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honor.
What characterizes a member of a minority group is that he is forced to see himself as both exceptional and insignificant, marvelous and awful, good and evil.
I usually need a can of beer to prime me.
Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child.
Hip is the sophistication of the wise primitive in a giant jungle.
Each day a few more lies eat into the seed with which we are born, little institutional lies from the print of newspapers, the shock waves of television, and the sentimental cheats of the movie screen.
In America few people will trust you unless you are irreverent.
I'm hostile to men, I'm hostile to women, I'm hostile to cats, to poor cockroaches, I'm afraid of horses.
Because there is very little honor left in American life, there is a certain built-in tendency to destroy masculinity in American men.
Ultimately a hero is a man who would argue with the gods, and so awakens devils to contest his vision. The more a man can achieve, the more he may be certain that the devil will inhabit a part of his creation.
One's condition on marijuana is always existential. One can feel the importance of each moment and how it is changing one. One feels one's being, one becomes aware of the enormous apparatus of nothingness -- the hum of a hi-fi set, the emptiness of a pointless interruption, one becomes aware of the war between each of us, how the nothingness in each of us seeks to attack the being of others, how our being in turn is attacked by the nothingness in others.
America is a hurricane, and the only people who do not hear the sound are those fortunate if incredibly stupid and smug White Protestants who live in the center, in the serene eye of the big wind.