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  • Norman Mailer

Earlier this week I wrote about John McPhee’s essay in the current New Yorker, in which McPhee recounts how editors William Shawn and Robert Gottlieb kept most profanities out of the magazine. A commenter on that post asked, “They ran nothing by Norman Mailer, ever?”

Hardly ever. The acclaimed and politically vocal writer, who died in 2007, had just five bylines in the New Yorker. There were two short poems in 1961, and a third in 1995—”Homage to Faulkner”, half of which said: “Newt Gingrich looks for angry votes; Ergo, he hammers welfare folks.” Which is a nice reminder of the consistency of Newt’s politics over the years.

Mailer also authored an article in 1995 on Lee Harvey Oswald’s time in Russia under KGB surveillance, and a short essay in 2002 on writing (“Birds and Lions”). Both were profanity-free.