Sometimes I wonder if the internet is costing us another Norman Mailer. What Mailer was doing in the 60s - as were people like Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe - would be done on a blog today; instead of being considered and compiled, the events that make up Armies of the Night - Mailer's recounting of the 1967 March on the Pentagon and his subsequent arrest and night in jail - would be parsed out in blog posts and Twitter updates, turned into real time recountings as opposed to novelistic retellings that have simmered in the writer's brains. There are no Mailers but there are plenty of guys writing books about their year spent without toilet paper or whatever.
I reread Armies of the Night last year, inspired by the current political moment, and the book is as incisive and funny and honest as I remembered, and as effective as I'm sure it was in 1968. I never once imagined that this book would make a movie, but thats' why I don't make movies, I guess - Joe Berlinger, director of Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 as well as some documentaries about a bunch of kids who were wrongfully accused of killing someone, will be making the book into a film, using verite shooting styles, archival footage and a full script. There's casting happening right now, but nobody has been named to play 44 year old Mailer, a man at the height of his powers and assholishness, or any of the myriad historical personalities who appear in the book.
Mailer's book acts as an overview of a complete moment in protest history, and I think it's incredibly relevant at this particular moment as well. I just hope there's someone out there, somoene at the Mailer level, soaking up the Ferguson and I Can't Breathe protests for a definitive work as powerful as Armies of the Night.