two guys fightin’

While I was reading in bed this morning (re-reading this, to be precise) one of Norman Mailer’s wives was on NPR talking about her new book (this one) and my mind started to wander to the same strange scene that appears every time someone’s talking about Norman Mailer: the one in which he’s fighting with Rip Torn on the set of his 1970 film Maidstone.

Apparently the scene is in the movie but I’ve never been moved to see the whole thing. It’s fucking ridiculous! Their rolling around on the ground is ridiculous, the thunder that arrives is ridiculous, Mailer’s wife (not the same one who wrote the book, I think) starts shrieking, which is ridiculously not helpful, Mailer says ridiculous, childish things, and after a while crazy-eyed Torn starts to look reasonable, which is at least a bit ridiculous considering the circumstances.

Vodpod videos no longer available.more about Torn vs Mailer, posted with vodpod

According to a Mailer bio quoted on Wikipedia, this fight went down because Torn was unhappy with how the film was going. If you want more details there’s more information here. (It’s in the blue box under the video). Anyhow, picturing this scene and feeling like I ought to seek it out and see it again because I couldn’t mentally un-see it made for a strangely violent distraction from my reading and my coffee. It was like walking down the street and accidentally overhearing the nastiest bit of someone’s argument through an open window.

*****

While I was putting this post together I got a Skype IM from Russian brides eager to understand me:

European and American women are too arrogant for you? Are you looking for a sweet lady that will be caring and understanding? Then you came to the right place- here you can find a Russian lady that will love you with all her heart. Can’t find a queen to rule your heart? How about beautiful Russian ladies that have royal blood and royal look? Here you can find hundreds of portfolios of these fine women of any age for every taste. Please excuse us if you are not interested.

I closed the window on them but now I’m sorry I didn’t inquire as to whether they have too much royal blood in them, coursing through their collective veins like a pack of borzois, to wear pre-glasnost lingerie. Scratchy teal netting, violently red tulle, that sort of thing. If they don’t I might find something inspirational in their hundreds of portfolios. In a literary sense of course.

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