by Max Brantley
I don't know why I didn't think about this yesterday. But I was reminded this morning, reading Norman Mailer's obituary in the NY Times, of a bit of trivia.
The Arkansas Times once rejected a piece by Norman Mailer. Sort of.
Quite to my surprise in 1992, Norman Mailer's agent sent me a manuscript of Mailer's coverage of the 1992 Democratic convention that nominated Bill Clinton for president. It was dozens and dozens of pages long. Mailer had written it for, I believe, Vanity Fair. It was rejected there for some reason.
Would I have liked to publish Norman Mailer's take on Bill Clinton? I certainly would have. But short of publishing a separate insert many, many pages long, I couldn't run the whole. thing. I proposed a lengthy excerpt. No deal, I was informed. Every single word had to run exactly as written or no deal could be struck. There was no deal. We never got around to money, though my recollection was that Mailer was more interested in getting the piece published than realizing much profit on it. At that moment, he seemed to really like Bill Clinton.