November 19, 2010
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Talk Show

Louis Menand has a wonderful piece, looking back on the late-night talk show through the ages.

Vidal feigned perplexity at Mailer’s distress, joined forces with Flanner (who clearly found him très gentil), and made Mailer look ridiculous the way a cat makes a dog look ridiculous.

Mailer’s fatal insult, though, was to Cavett. “Why don’t you look at your question sheet and ask a question?” Mailer said to him at one point, after the swords had been drawn all around. “Why don’t you fold it five ways and put it where the moon don’t shine?”