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Norman Mailer Disses New Wave, Reagan

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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AGED BEEF Mailer, Godard (inset)

Let it be known: 84-year-old godfather of new journalism, Norman Mailer, was no fan of French new wave filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. "He may be the second or third most horrible man I met in my life," Mailer said at a Film Society of Lincoln Center event in Manhattan on Sunday.

Oh, snap!

"I knew Godard would destroy any script I wrote for King Lear because he hated scripts. He considered them his personal antagonists. Godard and I got along for 24 hours before we split our ways."

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Who else shares tops the most horrible people list, an audience member wanted to know.

"Number two was Ronald Reagan. He was the second most ignorant president we've ever had," Mailer said to laughter and applause, taking the opportunity a bit later to deflate part of the Reagan legacy. "Communism died with a whimper," he said. "And so we had to replace it with something. And we've replaced it with terrorism. And bullshit mountain has grown again. We are a country that lives under the oppression of bullshit mountain, and none of our politicians have the power of grace, wit, or the simple lack of self-preservation to attack it." Fortified with red meat, the clearly liberal audience roared again.

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