City Desk

Why Not Post the Norman Mailer Files?

Buried in today's Style section is a story about what the Post dug up when it filed a FOIA request on author Norman Mailer, who died last year. There's not a whole lot of shocking news in the files, which may explain why it's buried in the Style section—Feds impersonated friends to extract Mailer's whereabouts, but otherwise the file seems largely stuffed with press clippings.

There's a big missed opportunity here, though. There are plenty of Mailer scholars—or just garden-variety lit nerds like myself—who'd love a peek at the file. So why won't washingtonpost.com, which prides itself on pioneering new ways to make stories sticky and engaging online—post a few jpegs or PDFs from it? If nothing else, I'd like to see the FBI agent's attempt at a review of Mailer's book about the '68 conventions, Miami and the Seige of Chicago. "It is written in his usual obscene and bitter style," the agent explained.

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