PENNEBAKER Transcript edit by Jessica Peri Chalmers OUTSIDE HECKLER Women's lib betrays the poor. Norman Mailer betrays the poor. Germaine Greer betrays the poor. Diana Trilling betrays the poor. Jill Johnston betrays the poor. Jacqueline Ceballos betrays the poor. NOW betrays the poor. What price liberation, people? [They enter and sit in this order, left to right: Ceballos, Greer, Mailer, Johnston, Trilling ] AUDIENCE Boo! (when Mailer speaks), (clapping) NORMAN MAILER The evening was billed at one time as “Norman Mailer versus --” and then the four ladies were listed. I may say that was done almost over my dead body, that ah, I may have vanity, but I do not have the vanity to think that one man can take on four women. And on top of that, I suspect that I'll probably find myself in the middle of this dispute … one of the sad facts that got lost was, was that the “Prisoner of Sex” was advertised as, ah, that “this is the piece that's gonna have women's lib, ah, picketing the newsstands”. … I mean, anyone who read that piece would be aware that I wasn't interested in trying to, ah, ah, ah, ah, to pull the tail feathers of women's lib. I, I've come to the conclusion women’s lib probably was the most important single intellectual event of the last few years AUDIENCE (extreme amazement, disgust, laughter) Aaaah! MAILER …at the least, at the least and that one had to engage it…. I think tonight may be an extraordinary night because I think two enormous intellectual currents that have been going on in New York for many years are finally reaching their flood waters. One of them is, is that peculiar spread of revolution which inquires further and further and further into the nature man, woman and society and the other is, of course, that blessed spirit of nihilism which will rip everything apart including free speech and assembly. I suspect we may have elements of both before the night is out. For now, to save time, let me introduce each of these splendid ladies with the simplest of introductions. First is Ms. Jacqueline Ceballos, who is the president of the New York Chapter of NOW, the National Organization for Women. Miss Ceballos.


[Jacqueline Ceballos walks to the podium.] JACQUELINE CEBALLOS When Shirley asked me to be on the panel at first, I have to tell you frankly that I refused. She asked me to think about it overnight then I thought that it would be cowardly of me not to come here because, first of all, NOW is supposed to be fighting within the system for change and Norman Mailer really represents the establishment, AUDIENCE (laughter, applause) CEBALLOS of course, set of a liberal part of the establishments, but still he does represent the establishment. I'm not interested in fighting with Norman Mailer. I really think that in his article in Harper's Magazine he was sincerely trying to understand and I guess that's all we can expect of the majority of men. AUDIENCE (laughter, applause) CEBALLOS We are too busy doing the work we have to do to try, to fight with the men who disagree with us and most of us believe that sooner or later they'll come along with us anyway because they won't have any choice. AUDIENCE (laughter, applause) CEBALLOS I represent that, ah, large middle class group of women who could have all the comforts and conveniences of life. In fact, I did, but I opted out instead, I decided to devote my time to fight for equality of women. Ah, I'd like to tell you what we do in the National Organization for Women. This is considered the square organization of women's liberation, but we're not too square that we still don't frighten off many, many women and men because they are afraid of the whole Women's Liberation Movement. What is important is that the world is changing and that women at last are awakening to the fact that they have a right and a duty to enter into the world and change it and work towards governing the society that governs them. AUDIENCE (applause)


GREGORY CORSO (shouting from the audience, getting up) We are all equal. CEBALLOS Yes. CORSO All of us. All of us, not just half of humanity. (continues angrily) CEBALLOS That right, all of humanity. My goodness, the excitement has already started! All right, all of humanity. You are absolutely right, but let me speak. Oh, come back, come back…. [Corso is removed from the auditorium.] CEBALLOS I think we are fighting for all of humanity, but I'd like to tell you one of the reasons why we don't divert our time fighting for the peace movement or the civil rights movement or, or, or changing the environment because we believe sincerely that the root of everything is women's liberation…. MALE HECKLER There’s a woman outside who can’t afford to get in. She’s on welfare, she’s getting thrown out. AUDIENCE Let her in! (general mayhem) NORMAN MAILER Hey knock it off. CEBALLOS We have been accused and many women especially are very worried that we are against marriage as an institution. What we're against is the structure of marriage and even though the structure if marriage is changing in spite of everything, we intend to direct it in, in, what we think is the right direction. (Loudly.) If women are to be married in a society that pushes them towards marriage, they should be paid for the work that they do.… You know that the woman is portrayed on television all over in the media is a stupid, ah, senile creature! She gets an orgasm when she gets the shiny floor! Before marriage, she is encouraged to keep herself deodorized and as pretty as possible in a doll-like way, in a plastic way to get the man because the man is going to be her life. Once she gets him, all the advertising is geared to her cleaning her house and taking care of the children. When she gets a little too old for that, she's the bitter shrew, she's the mother-in-law who is coming to taste that coffee and she's the poor


woman who is losing her husband because she's losing her looks and has been, has to use all sorts of ways to get him back. [Mailer signals to her.] CEBALLOS All right, he’s telling me my ten minutes are up. All right. Thank you. [She walks back to her seat.] MAILER The, the question I'd like to ask you, Ms. Ceballos, is that while everything you presented was certainly to the point and even politically feasible, I would ask if there's anything in your program that would give us men the notion that life might not continue to be as profoundly boring as it is today. Sometime in the next 45 minutes we’ll bring it up and talk about it. [Trilling asks Mailer an urgent question, unheard by the audience.] MAILER All right. There was reported to be the most extraordinary jockying for positions on the order of speech. As it turns out the way the ladies will speak s in alphabetical order. The next speaker, who I suspect has done a great deal to fill this house, is ah, that ah, distinguished and uhm, young and a formidable lady writer, Miss Germaine Greer from England. [Germaine Greer walks to the podium; Johnston opens her arms wide and takes her hand as she goes by.] GERMAINE GREER I'm afraid I'm going to talk in a very different way possibly than you expected. I do not represent any organization in this country and I dare say the most powerful representation I can make is of myself as a writer for better or worse. I'm also a feminist and for me the significance of this moment is that I'm having to confront one of the most powerful figures in my own imagination, the being I think most privileged in male elitist society -- namely the masculine artist, the pinnacle of the masculine elite. AUDIENCE Ooh (laughter as it becomes clear she is talking about Mailer)


GREER Bred as I have been and educated as I have been, most of my life has been most powerfully influenced by the culture for which he stands, so that I'm caught in a basic conflict between inculcated cultural values and my own deep conception of an injustice. Many professional literati ask me in triumphant tones, as you may have noticed, what happens to Mozart's sister? AUDIENCE (clapping) GREER However, they ask me that question, it can have caused them as much anguish as it has caused me because I do not know the answer and I must find the answer. But every attempt I make to find that answer leads me to believe that perhaps what we accept as a creative artist in our society is more, is more a killer than a creator, aiming his ego ahead of lesser talents, drawing the focus of all eyes to his achievements, being read now and, by millions and paid in millions. One must ask oneself the question in our society, can any painting be worth the total yearly income of a thousand families? AUDIENCE (clapping) GREER I turn for some information to Freud, treating Freud's description of the artist as an ad hoc description of the artist's psyche in our society and not as in any way a metaphysical or eternal pronouncement about what art might mean. And what Freud said, of course, has irritated many artists who've had the misfortune to see it. He longs to attain to honor power, riches, fame and the love of women, but he lacks the means of achieving these gratifications. As an eccentric little girl who thought it might be worthwhile after all to be a poet, coming across these words, for the first time, was a severe check. The blandness of Freud's assumption that the artist was a man sent me back into myself to consider whether or not the proposition was reversible. Could a female artist be driven by the desire for riches, fame and the love of men? And all too soon it was very clear that the female artists' own achievements will disqualify her for the love of men, that no woman yet has been loved for her poetry. And we love men for their achievements all the time, why can this be? Can this be a natural order that wastes so much power that frets a little girl's heart to pieces? I had no answers, except that I knew the argument was irreversible. And so I turned later to the function of women vis-à-vis art we know it, and I found that it fell


into two parts, that we were either low sloppy creatures or menials or we were goddesses. Or worst of all we were meant to be both, which meant that we broke our hearts trying to keep our aprons clean. AUDIENCE (loud clapping) GREER You see, I strongly suspect that when this revolution takes place, art will no longer be distinguished by its rarity, or its expense, or its inaccessibility, or the extraordinary way which in it is marketed, it will be the prerogative of all of us and we will do it as those artists did whom Freud understood not at all, the artists who made the Cathedral of Chartres or the mosaics of Byzantine, the artist who had no ego and no name. [She goes back to her seat.] AUDIENCE (loud clapping) MAILER The sentiments were exquisite, but the, the means, the means you offered, and in fact, the means that Women's Liberation offers to go from here to that point where were we artists all ah, belongs to a species of ah, social instrumentality that I call “Diaper Marxism.” For instance, the question which I now present to you that I'd like you to think about and we'll talk about later, is, is there anything necessarily, so finely debilitating to the human notion that a woman be both a goddess and a slob at separate hours of her existence? (then, flirtatious) And I know you're dying to answer immediately, but you've gotta hold it and think about it. (Greer grins back at him, then turns to Ceballos and rolls her eyes) MAILER The next speaker is that master of ah, free associational prose and the Village Voice, Ms. Jill Johnston. (Jill Johnston goes to the podium) JILL JOHNSTON (leaning over to see Greer) I think Germaine was born in Australia and I was born in England. Were you born in Australia?


GERMAINE GREER Yes I was. JOHNSTON I was born in England. (smiling) I can't, I can't help it, that's just the first thing I thought of. AUDIENCE (wild laughter, clapping] JOHNSTON (reading a poem) The title of this, the title of this episode is "Do Approach." All women are lesbians except those who don't know it naturally, they are but don't know it yet. I am a woman and therefore a lesbian. I am a woman who is a lesbian because I am a woman, and a woman who loves herself naturally, who is other women, is a lesbian. A woman who loves women loves herself naturally, this is the case. A woman is herself is all woman is a natural born lesbian, so we don't mind using the name like any name it is quite meaningless, it means, naturally, I am a woman, and whatever I am we are, we affirm being what we are, the way of course all men are homosexuals. (pauses, looks up.) Being, having a more sense of their homo, their homo-ness, their ecce homo-ness, their ecce prince and lord and master-ness. AUDIENCE (laughter) JOHNSTON (different voices) …Maybe, uhm, we should ah, invite her ah, one of them to dinner. Uhm, one of what, dear? Ah, ah, well, ah, she is a bit odd isn't she? I mean, you know, how we'd feel if a Black man was interested in our daughter. Aaahhh! Oh, God, and she might make a pass at my wife! AUDIENCE (laughter) JOHNSTON What do you say to the naked lady? Please, sorry, thank you. We're getting to the bottom of women's lib, we're going down on women's lib, I'm beside myself, I'm beside myself with love for you when you are beside me, my love. … "Oh, do not fail me," she says, "you are my last chance, indeed our last chance to save the west." And who vants the moon when ve can land on Venus?... AUDIENCE (laughter)


JOHNSTON Until all women are lesbians, there will be no true political revolution. Ah, I suppose I should be leaning on my sword describing my defeat. Some women want to have their cock and eat it too. And, and lesbian is a label, label invented by anybody to throw it at any woman who dares to be a man's equal. And lesbian is a good name, it means nothing of course, or everything, so we don't mind using the name, in fact we like it for we can be proud to claim allusion to the island made famous by Sappho…. He said, "I want your body" and she said, "You can have it when I'm through with it." …. NORMAN MAILER Jill , you've read your letter, now mail it. AUDIENCE (laughter) NORMAN MAILER It's not fair to the other speakers, Jill's had 15 minutes already and ah, you all want chance to ask questions, we wanna have a little debate between us. [A woman comes up and she and Johnston start rolling around on the floor. AUDIENCE (laughter, clapping) [Another comes up and joins, saying “what about me?”] MAILER Hey, you know it's great that you pay 25 bucks to see three dirty overalls on the floor when you can see lots of cock and cunt for $4 just down the street. JOHNSTON (with earnestness) Is there a possibility I can skip my question and finish my statement? MAILER Jill, you did already. Now, come on either play with the team or pick up your marbles and get lost. Come on, there's a lot we wanna talk about tonight and I wanna talk to you about lesbianism, god, damn it. You know, I'm interested in what you said, now, you can play these games, but they're silly. HECKLER Go ahead, Jill, finish. AUDIENCE (laughter, clapping, urging her to go on or to get off the stage)

MAILER Come on, Jill, be a lady. FEMALE HECKLER What's the matter, Mailer, you're threatened 'coz you found a woman you can't fuck? FEMALE HECKLER You're afraid Mailer! MAILER Hey, cunty, I've been threatened all my life, so take it easy. HECKLER You're gonna throw us all out? AUDIENCE (laughter) FEMALE HECKLER Read it, what can he do? JOHNSTON Now, wait a minute. MAILER All right, I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll take a vote. We'll take a vote. But I'm gonna do the counting. If you don't think that I've got enough fairness to do the count properly, then come and get this mic away from me. Those who wish Jill to continue, say Aye. AUDIENCE Aye! MAILER Those who wish Jill not to continue say no. AUDIENCE No! MAILER From the bottomless pits of my honesty, I think you lost to a squeaker, Jill….The next speaker, the next speaker is Diana Trilling … [Johnston is still hugging and kissing the two women, now standing] HECKLER Get off the stage! Get off the stage! MAILER (shepherding them off the stage. Johnston doesn’t come back.) Hey, if you wanna, you can go over there, ah, Diana's gonna talk, you know. (Diana Trilling walks to the podium.)


DIANA TRILLING I am not at all sure that I can so easily name the enemy of my sex. But much as I dissent from some of the attitudes which inform Norman Mailer's celebrated article in Harper's Magazine, I am fairly certain it is not Mailer. I hope he will forgive me for saying this, but big as he looms on the literary scene, and I long ago put myself on record as considering him the most important writer of our time, (clapping) he is not that big. He is not as big as biology, for instance, or culture. Certainly, he is not as big as the combined forces of biology and culture. OUTDOOR HECKLER (from door): I can’t afford to come in here, the police…. TRILLING May I continue? OUTDOOR HECKLER You’re all traitors. Germaine Greer you’re a traitor… HECKLER Here here. [Outdor Heckler is removed from the auditorium.] TRILLING (laughing) Among those efforts of the women's liberationists, which I find most impoverishing and most absolutest are the doctrines now being promulgated on the female orgasm. Surely it is remarkable that the same people who properly criticize our society for its harsh and unimaginative treatment of homosexuals have no hesitation in dictating to women where they're to find their single path to sexual enjoyment. I am talking \ about the campaign now being mounted to persuade women that there is no such thing as a vaginal orgasm therefore, they might as well dispense with men even in bed. Nothing in the sexual culture of recent decades has been more justifiably attacked than the idea of a single definition of what is or is not normal in sexual desire or response. As an added benefit of our deliverance from a tyrannical authority in our choice of sexual partners or in our methods of pursuing sexual pleasure, I could hope we would also be free to have such orgasms as an our individual complexity we happen to be capable of. AUDIENCE (laughter, loud clapping) TRILLING A last sentence, Norman. Biology is all very well, Norman. All these women have biology, but they also have a repressive and life-diminishing culture to contend with. Your piece

in Harper's has your always-beautiful intention of life enhancement and it is full of a certain kind of splendid imagination about women, I suppose we could call it the imagination of women in love, but it fails in its imagination of the full humanity of women as it would never fail in its imagination of the full humanity of men. [She goes back to her seat and Mailer takes her place at the podium. As they pass each other, Mailer smiles at her.] AUDIENCE (loud and long clapping) MAILER Now, that concludes the first phase of the evening, the formal phase of you will, or the most formal phase. I really would like to present a question to Jill Johnston, wherever you are Jill. And I will also try to give Ms. Ceballos and Ms. Greer a few more minutes because they were the kindest of the two ladies in keeping it to the 10 minutes that I asked for. To wit, they went over less than the others, (with great humor) slopped over less than the others. All right. Now, I was not surprised to find that my dear old friend, Diana Trilling, had as usual misread just about everything I'd said. AUDIENCE (laughter) MAILER What I was trying to say in my usual incoherent fashion in the “Prisoner of Sex” was that biology is not, or physiology if you will, is not destiny, but it is half of it. And that if you try to ignore that fact, you then get into it the most awful totalitarianism of them all because it's a left totalitarianism. (pause.) There is an element in Women's Liberation that terrifies me. AUDIENCE (clapping) MAILER It terrifies me because it's humorless because with the exception, let's say of Germaine Greer’s book on, on, on The Female Eunuch, there's been almost no recognition that the life of a man is also difficult and that all the horrors that women go through, some of them absolutely determined by men, even more than I suspect determined by themselves because we must face the simple fact that it may be there's a profound reservoir of cowardice in women which had them welcome this miserable slavish life. But in any case, whether it's their fault or men's fault,


what has to be recognized is there's nothing automatic about female liberty. Every female liberty is going to be achieved the way every liberty is achieved which is going to be achieved against the grain, against the paradox of the fact that there's much in human life which forbids liberty. So I'm not here to say that every woman must have a child, or every woman must have a vaginal orgasm, or that every woman was conceived in any way that I lay down. Anyone who says that about me just doesn't know how to read my sentences. What I'm trying to say is, let's really get hip about this little matter and recognize that the whole question of women's liberation is the deepest question that faces us and we're gonna go right into the very elements of existence and eternity before we're through with it. And I'd like the discussion to go at that level. I'm perfectly willing, if you wish me to act a clown, I will take out my modest little Jewish dick and put it on the table. You can all spit at it and laugh at it and now, and then I'll walk away, you'll find it was just a dildo I left there. I hadn't shown you the real one. But if we're gonna have a decent discussion… let's have it on the highest level we can…. [Mailer turns to the women.] MAILER So? Who'd like to talk first? TRILLING I have a question Ms. Greer, in your book The Female Eunuch, you made a very quick dismissal of the biological sell but after that, eight times, you referred to something that you described as the oedipal family or the oedipal situation. And as I understood it in the context, each time, you meant the family that rejects the child is an oedipal family. Now, if that is the way you're going to read Freud, you will have to dismiss him as a fool because he never said things like that. GREER What I said was that in marriage one repeats the oedipal situation. TRILLING Well, no I have the actual places marked, I’ll show you -GREER (haughty, annoyed) Well, by all means quote them, but that's my impression of what I meant….I adopt the same attitude to Freud as you do. I quote him where it suits me and I don't where it doesn't.


AUDIENCE (laughter, clapping) TRILLING I didn't say that I quote him where it suits me. I said I take from him that which suits me. I don't misquote him. GREER (to audience) One of the characteristics of oppressed peoples is that they always fight among themselves. AUDIENCE (light clapping) TRILLING What? GREER (leaning outside of the microphone towards Trilling) I said one of the characteristics of oppressed peoples is that they always fight among themselves. TRILLING I don't feel as oppressed as you do and I'm not fighting with you. I, I really can't, you see, the thing is that I can't let all women be spokesmen for me...because I'm not for their programs necessarily. AUDIENCE (light clapping) TRILLING I have a great deal of loyalty to my sex, a great deal as a matter of fact, and I've had it for a very long time, but ah, that doesn't mean that I can be indiscriminate about the positions that I subscribe to just because they're put forward by other women. That would seem to me an abdication of intelligence. AUDIENCE (light clapping) GREER But that is understood. TRILLING Is it? All right. GREER Absolutely.


TRILLING Okay. Then you mustn’t accuse me of quarreling with, with someone within the minority. GREER It's just that we're having a great deal of difficulty understanding each other and, uhm, the use of the word "misquote" could hardly be construed as magnanimous under the circumstances. TRILLING Okay, that’s true. AUDIENCE (laughter, light clapping) MAILER All right. I would just like to say that, even Greer, who, who, who has written this absolutely lovely book, fails manfully, let me say to, ah, AUDIENCE (laughter) MAILER I kept, kept getting, I kept getting lost in her argument because she didn't really know quite where it all happened. (Turning to Greer) But, for instance, when you were talking about the English clergy in the 17th century, and so I, maybe my mind wandered, but I didn't feel you, you got to the point. GREER 16th. MAILER Huh? Well, obviously my mind wandered. GREER Every ah, population study reveals that something happened to the structure of the family between feudalism and the Renaissance, but I couldn't really give you the exact day upon which everybody stopped living in a stem family. MAILER No. But I think, you, you can agree that that, ah, ah, it doesn't been a simple matter of the men tyrannizing the women. I mean, if, if it's just that, that we men have been tyrannizing you women for all these years, then, we really do have an enormous dialogue to continue because, and, and the work hasn't been done. I mean, my God, if Kate Millet’s the one who has done the work, then we're all doomed.


CEBALLOS What did you say? MAILER I said Kate Millet is the one who has done the historical work which establishes that men control women in a, in a political class system, then we are all doomed. GREER No one would be more surprised than Kate to hear that she had been charged with having done this. Every single feminist knows that the analysis that we have to makes of society is very intricate and will take a long time. If it took Mao Tse-Tung so long to, to actually define the particular causes and problems involved in what was a blank slate situation, we have the most overwritten slate, the most over indoctrinated and coward population to try to turn on and we have so many intricate problems involved in each level of our society, that it’s quite absurd to demand of any woman at this stage that she show you the complete analysis or that she stand convicted of having made it. AUDIENCE Yeah! Right on! (extreme hollers of approval, loud clapping) MAILER I'm, I'm all for that, I'm all for that. But I would ask you why, then, do you women keep saying, without having made the analysis, why do you keep being so certain that's entirely the male’s fault? GREER I didn't know that any woman were certain that it was entirely the male’s fault. I mean, as far as I'm concerned, that's precisely what we're trying to, ah, elicit. And if the fact is that men have been unconsciously tyrannical, and I think it probably is the case, then it's certain also that they were debauched by their own tyranny and degraded by it and confused by it almost as much as the people they’d tyrannized over. AUDIENCE (loud clapping) MAILER But, we're, we're on agreement on this. This is, this is, this is just old socialism when you get down to it. HECKLER You’re dominating the whole night. TRILLING He is not. He is not.


MAILER I'm trying to get the dialogue going and I'll be willing to disappear into the woodwork when the dialogue flows. (to the noisy crowd) Look, this is an enclave that you are visiting here, young nihilists, and you will have to learn that in the society of the future, when we have many worlds, that when you visit the other turf, you’ve got to conform to the other turf – and you can have your fun if they ever dare to visit your turf. MODERATOR Betty Friedan. MAILER (warning) Be accurate, Betty . FRIEDAN (offended) Norman, I will define accuracy for myself. I don't need you. AUDIENCE (loud clapping) FRIEDAN I, I was, I, I was wondering if it might possibly even deny(ph) indicate that the world might be much less boring when instead of the monolithic, ah, changeless eternal face of Eve , who never transcends her biological self, we finally reach the beginning point of self-definition, which you are reacting to somewhat like, ah, your predecessors a hundred years ago, who said the dog talks, you know, that a woman should be here talking at all is something you are finding a little hard to take, but we talk in different tones. We don't all agree, we have the right to define our own differences and quarrel over our own accuracies and find our own ideologies and even you might find that less boring in the end. MAILER Hmm. I simply don't know what you're talking about. Betty, you are just making speeches, you are appealing, you are appealing to the lowest element in this audience. I've been on platforms with women all my life! My God! You act as if suddenly women are in public speaking. They've been, they've been doing that for a hundred years. We're not talking about that! What we're talking about is the extraordinary possibilities that exist in Women's Liberation. You're still talking about it as if I'm completely opposed to it, which I never was. HECKLER You’re patronizing us! MAILER While you ladies are very patronizing too. We're all stuck up snots, how's that?


MODERATOR Susan Sontag. SUSAN SONTAG I want ask a very quiet question to, ah, to, ah to Norman and to Diana also…. Norman, it is true that women find with the best of will the way you talk to them patronizing and, ah, one of the things is your use of the word “lady.” When you, ah, and this is what I wanted to ask Diana, when you said, “Diana Trilling, foremost lady literary critic,” if I were Diana, I wouldn't like to be introduced in that way and I would like to know how Diana feels about it. I don't like being called a “lady writer” Norman. It seems like gallantry to you but it, it doesn't feel right to us. It's a little better to be called a woman writer. I don't know why but, you know, words count. We're all writers, we know that. Ah, well, how about a woman doctor, a woman lawyer? CEBALLOS A gentleman writer! SONTAG: Yeah. I mean, you, if you were introducing James Baldwin, you wouldn't say “Our foremost Negro writer.” HECKLER A man writer! SONTAG And we certainly wouldn't say “a man writer.” And so, and that a lot of it, a lot of it.. CEBALLOS A gentleman writer! MAILER Susan? SONTAG No, I really, I really ask you this not in an argumentative way MAILER (humorously) Susan… I promise I will never use the word "lady" again in public. TRILLING Susan, you put the question to me too. I don't like it and I recognize the point you're making very well. But sometimes, I think that it's like saying, a "lady runner or a lady highjumper" or something of that kind. Within the culture it has that peculiarity, doesn't it? And so I permit it on that basis. I don't really like it. SONTAG I, I think you ought to object to it.

CEBALLOS At least he didn't say a housewife who writes! MAILER Well, I, look, I would like to, I would like to answer Susan, if I may. I called, I could've called Diana a woman critic or a female critic. I could have called her... CEBALLOS A critic! MAILER I could have called her a critic. But I wish to say, what I wish to say is that she was the best in kind. AUDIENCE (laughter, outrage) Booo! MAILER Let me, may I answer the question? The fact of the matter is that literary criticism has not been an activity that women have engaged in for nearly as long as men. And there are, there are good reasons. There are good reasons why there are very few good lady critics around. And anyway, as you all should've known, I, if you'd had the wit, I was doing it precisely to put Diana on. AUDIENCE (laughter, outrage) MAILER (to the audience) You're all singularly without wit. MODERATOR Cynthia Ozick. CYNTHIA OZICK This question, I have been fantasizing it for many, many years since "Advertisements for Myself," only I always thought it would take place at the Y. Now, it's here and.. this is the truth. This is a fantasy. This is my moment to live out a fantasy. Mr. Mailer , in "Advertisements for Myself," you said, "A good novelist can do without everything but the remnant of his balls." For years and years, I have been wondering, Mr. Mailer, when you dip your balls in ink, what color ink is it? MAILER Uh if I don't find an answer and I'll hurry, I think we're gonna have to agree the color is yellow. I will, I will, I will cede the round to you, I don't pretend that I've never written an idiotic or stupid sentence in my life and that's one of them.


MODERATOR Can you state your name? YOUNG WOMAN My name Ruth Mandel. I have an insecurity to add to the insecurities here. I'm asking, as a woman who does not feel right now that she wants to merge with a man or a woman or anybody but just to find myself. I don't find myself tied down to my body so that it limits the definitions of me. I'm asking, maybe Mr. Mailer can answer me, Is he that tied down so much to his body that he can't define himself outside of it? MAILER I'm gonna try to answer your question. I'm gonna answer it in my own terms, if you don't mind. I, and then we'll try to turn it around a little and perhaps I'll answer you, perhaps I won't. (pause.) When a man and a woman have a bitter, furious, violent quarrel, there comes a point if a man is stronger, as it usually is, not always, but usually, when he's either gonna hit that woman or not. (to the audience) You're asking for a dialogue, here it is. This is my half of dialogue. You can counter. AUDIENCE (objecting) Noo! (etc.) HECKLER Let us teach you! MAILER I'll teach you and you teach me. Fuck you, I wanna teach you, too. I mean, fuck you, you know. I'm not gonna sit here and listen to you harridans harangue me and say, "Yes 'm, yes 'em." Let me just, let me aim the point. AUDIENCE (outrage) Aaaaah! MAILER When a man is sworn that he will not strike a woman, and the woman knows that and uses that and uses it and uses it. She comes to a point where she's literally killing that man, because the amount of violence she’s aroused in him, it's flooding his system and slowly killing him. So, she's engaged to that point in an act of violence and murder even though no blows are exchanged. Now, all I'm getting at is this is a simple existential difficulty of the moment. If you women are not willing to recognize that, that, that life is, is profoundly complex and that women, as well as men ah, bugger the living juices out of it, then we have nothing to talk about, again. MODERATOR Anatole Broyard.

MAILER Anatole Broyard will give the final question. ANATOLE BROYARD Now, I would like to ask Germaine Greer, as having a peculiar aptitude for this question. To describe perhaps in the form of a one act play, what would it be like to be a woman and, ah, to have the initiation and consummation of a sexual contact, so that now, we can get down to the particulars of the evening, what would it be like after liberation ideally? GREER (angry) Why do you ask this question? BROYARD Because I don't find it anywhere in the literature. GREER Why do you expect to find anywhere in the literature? Norman describes the state of affairs that exists. You ask me to describe a state of affairs that doesn't exist. It's a perfectly unreasonable demand. What makes you suppose that liberation has happened? BROYARD Well, ah, I tried to make my question non-polemical. Well, all right, perhaps, I didn't succeed. Ah, I really don't know what women are asking for. Now, suppose I wanted to give it to them. GREER Listen, you may as well relax, because whatever it is they're asking for, honey, it's not for you. AUDIENCE (laughter) MAILER Thank you all for an incredible evening. I'd also like to thank the four women who contributed nine-tenths to the discussion. [The audience gets up and begins to mill around] CEBALLOS (standing up and shaking Mailer’s hand) You're great. You really are. It, it was worth being on this panel with you. [Audience members flood the stage to talk to Mailer.]