No CrossRef data available.
The Voice of Paranoia: Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 July 2009
The facts are these: some time on the early morning of July 20, 1976, Gary Gilmore, barely three months after his release from a twelveyear sentence for armed robbery served in the federal penitentiary at Marion, Illinois, drove into a gas station in Provo, Utah, robbed Max Jensen, the station attendant, and demanded that he lie facedown on the ground. Gilmore then fired twice into Jensen's head at point-blank range with an automatic pistol; Jensen died immediately. In the evening, fourteen or fifteen hours after the first murder, Gilmore drove into a motel situated next door to the house of his relatives, Vern and Ida Damico, who had given Gilmore refuge and found him a job upon his release from prison. Gilmore demanded money from Benny Bushnell, the owner of the motel, asked him to lie face-down on the floor, and then pumped one bullet into his head; Gilmore had intended to shoot him twice, but his gun jammed, and it was several hours before Bushnell would die of his wounds. One day later, Gilmore was arrested for the murder of Benny Bushnell. He was tried and found guilty of murder in the first degree and sentenced to death: his choice of death was by firing squad. Though his mother and the American Civil Liberties Union attempted to block the execution, Gilmore demanded that the state of Utah carry out the sentence. On January 17, 1977, he was shot to death by a team of four handpicked riflemen, in the first public execution to have taken place in the United States in over a decade.
- Research Article
- Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1992
1. Tentatively titled, Always Connect: Cultural Paranoia in Contemporary American Fiction.
2. Bordieu, Pierre, The Logic of Practice, trans. Nice, Richard (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990), p. 53.Google Scholar
3. Pynchon, Thomas, The Crying of Lot 49 (1966; Rept. New York: Harper and Row, 1986), p. 24.Google Scholar
5. Mailer, Norman, The Executioner's Song (New York: Little, Brown, 1979), p. 23Google Scholar. All further references will be to this edition and are parenthetically cited in the text.
6. On probability, chaos, and order in the contemporary habitus, see Hayles, Katherine N.Chaos Bound: Orderly Disorder in Contemporary Literature and Science (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1991).Google Scholar
7. See Hutcheon, Linda, “Historiographic Metafiction: Parody and the Intertextuality of History,” in Intertextuality and Contemporary American Fiction, ed. O'Donnell, Patrick and Davis, Robert Con (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989), pp. 3–32.Google Scholar
8. On the process of “demonization,” see Rogin, Michael, Ronald Reagan, the Movie and Other Episodes in Political Demonology (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987).Google Scholar
9. Schaub, Thomas Hill, American Fiction in the Cold War (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991), p. 140.Google Scholar
10. See Pease, Donald, Visionary Compacts: American Renaissance Writings in Cultural Context (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987).Google Scholar
11. Deleuze, Giles and Guattari, Félix, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Massumi, Brian (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988), p. 112.Google Scholar
12. Zwinger, Lynda, Daughters, Fathers, and the Novel: The Sentimental Romance of Heterosexuality (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991), p. 140.Google Scholar