Norman Mailer Answers
George Will

Letters to the Editor
The Boston Globe
For Whom The Will Toils
March 14, 2002

To the Editor:
George F. Will writes: "Bush's terseness is Ernest Hemingway seasoned with John Wesley." ("Old Fashioned Values Return Since Sept. 11," Op Ed, March 12)
Well, one is hardly familiar with John Wesley's sermons, but I do know that to put George W. Bush's prose next to Hemingway is equal to saying that Jackie Susann is right up there with Jane Austen.
Did a sense of shame ever reside in our Republican toadies? You can't stop people who are never embarrassed by themselves. Will's readiness to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse can be cited as world class sycophancy.
Here's a passage from "A Farewell to Arms." It has more going for it than "terseness."
"I was embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice... I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it. There were many words you could not stand to hear... Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the names of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates."
It is worth reminding ourselves that the life of a democracy may also depend on the good and honorable use of language and not on the scurvy manipulation of such words as "evil" and "love" by intellectual striplings of the caliber of our president.
Norman Mailer

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