It goes without saying that if Norman Mailer had made it into his late 90s and was alive and lucid in 2017, there’s no way he’d be invited to present an Oscar due to his reputation for chauvinism and that one awful instance of brutality with his wife, Adele Morales, in the mid 1950s. He would, in today’s climate, almost certainly be ostracized, reviled, shunned. And if by some odd twist of fate Mailer was invited to present an Oscar anyway, that Voltaire joke he told at the Oscar podium on 3.28.77 would have never been told today, and if it had would be greeted with embarassed silence.
Note to Twitter banshees: I happened upon this clip a half-hour ago and was simply struck by the stark differences in the socio-political climates of 1977 vs. 2017. I didn’t post this to indicate any sort of admiration for Mailer’s chauvinism, which was difficult to process even back in the day, or to suggest that his Voltaire joke is amusing to me today. I’m just saying “wow, things were really different back then” — nothing more.