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.