Andrew Marzoni

Added on by Andrew Marzoni.
Mailer thought the new political parties of the Left ought to have names like motorcycle gangs and block athletic clubs had on their jackets: George Street Jumpers, and Green Dolphins, Orange Sparrows, Gasoline Ghosts, Paragon A.C., Purple Raiders, Silver Dragons, Bughouse Beasts—he had known immediately that neither Stokely Carmichael nor Black Power were insignificant phenomena on the day he heard that in Lowndes County, Alabama, Negroes were organizing into the Black Panther Party. Mailer, while a dilettante in Left Wing politics, was nonetheless free with his surgery; left to him, he would have cut out all middle-class protest movements like SANE and Women Strike for Peace because they derived, not genealogically he was certain, but spiritually, from the worst aspects of the American Communist Party, that old dull calculation that the apathetic middle-class organizations with middle-class leaders and abstract Everyman names like Women, Students, Artists, Professionals, Mothers, Veterans, Grandmothers, yea why not Babes? Yes, had reasoned the Communists, large bloc names could bring large even gross increases in recruitment among the middle class. Vulgar gross increases were the result. It is one thing to call a factory hand a worker—that is good for his sense of reality—he is married to his machine more than to anything else, the name helps to remind him. But for a middle-class married woman to think of herself politically as a Mother, or worse, a Woman, could only indulge a sense of self-pity. Mediocrities flock to any movement which will indulge their self-pity and their self-righteousness, for without a Movement the mediocrity is on the slide into terminal melancholia. Most such political movements served as piping systens for the brain, and flushing systems for the heart, bringing in subsistence rations of ego and do-it-yourself compassion, all very well as social plumbing to keep mass man alive, but the Participant wasn’t so certain that there weren’t too many people alive already, certainly in America, that hog’s trough of Paradise. The horror of mediocrities in a Left Wing movement was that cadres of the best young people used too much breath trying to illuminate one glint of the ideal in material mediocre hearts. The Ruminant was by now convinced that technology land was the real capitalist bastion, and the mediocre middle-class middle-aged masses of the Left were—we have visited this station already—the first real champions of technology land: they could not conceive of a revolution without hospitals, lawyers, mass meetings, and leaflets to pass out at polls.
— Norman Mailer, The Armies of the Night (1968)