a CIA officer named Carmel Offie, andnthe man was fired from the CIA as anbad security risk. McCarthy made hisncases “from FBI reports, the right-wingnpress, Washington rumor, the leaksnof disappointed men, and pure innuendo.”nEven such a sedate statementnwould have been improbable in a booknpublished in New York a few years ago.nBut in the very next paragraph Powersntells a good true story: that CarmelnOffie got the “finest furs available,”ncourtesy of the Soviet rulers, “by thenbale” (the italics are Powers’s). Doesnthis mean that the Soviets love the CIAneven more than the New York Times,nand thus supply its officers with thenfinest furs available—by the bale? Surelynby selling a bale of such furs the recipientncan make hundreds of thousandsnof dollars. Even if Offie were not a badnsecurity risk, all the same, is it propernfor an American official to accept thenfinest furs~by the bale—imm a powerfulntotalitarian, military, aggressivenregime.’ Or does Powers imply that Mc­nCarthy was naive and unsuspectingnwhen he merely alluded to Offie as anbad security risk? If only poor, simplemindednJoe had known this good truenstory as retold by Tom Powers in 1979′.nThe explanation is that New Yorknfashion is changing. The book conforms.nAnd no one can tell whether McCarthynis, according to Powers, a demon ofnpersecution or an unsuspecting simpletonnwhose hair Powers could have raisednwith a good true story.nOtherwise, except for some irrelevantntrivia about Helms, Powers’s effortnis merely a rehash of hundreds of previousnbooks of the same kind. RichardnHelms is simply a pretext for the authornand the publisher to grind out anothern”CIA book” without communicating ansingle new fact, not to mention anconcept.nPowers announces that the CIA filencan “pop out the 1934 graduating classnof Sverdlovsk High School at a moment’snnotice.” Those who have readnmany “CIA books” will immediatelynrealize that the sentence has been cop­nied, word for word, from a previousn”CIA book,” and the author of thatnbook had copied it from his predecessor.nThe CIA and “CIA books” havenbeen stewing smugly in their own parochialnjuices for decades—wrapped inntheir own world of their own fictionsncopied from each other.nThe CIA never knew that Egypt wasnpreparing the Yom Kippur War untilnthe newspapers reported the war itself,nand the CIA assured the U.S. governmentnthat there was no movement capablenof overthrowing the Shah in Iran—nThe Scavenger’s NovelnNorman Mailer; The Executioner’snSong; Little, Brown & Co.; NewnYork.nby Edward J. WalshnWn April 1976, Gary Gilmore wasnreleased from prison in Marion, Illinois.nNine months later, he was executed atnthe Utah State Prison, having chosennnot to appeal the death sentence imposednfor the murders of two men he hadnnever met. Of his thirty-five years, morenthan half were spent behind bars. Hisnlife, had he never committed murder,ncould most gently be described as subhuman.nYet he is chosen for near-sainthoodnby Norman Mailer.nMailer’s latest reinforces his standingnin the world of contemporary culturenin the eyes of two groups: those whonare fascinated by people like Gary Gilmore,nand those who are not. To thenformer. Mailer’s work is an occasion forncelebration: The Executioner’s Songnhas been hailed by everyone from Timento the New York Times reviewer, tonJoan Didion. But to the second group,nwhich presumably includes the 71 percentnof the American people who believednGilmore deserved to be executed,nMr. Walsh is a frequent contributor tonthese pages.nnnwhen the movement had already comenout into the open, and the Shah was allnbut overthrown. And some smart newsmannonce invented the “fact” that thenCIA knows who was graduated fromnwhat high school in Sverdlovsk, and ansuccession of “CIA authors” have beenncopying this musty nonsense ever since.nWhat an insulated, stale, provincialnworld. Will Americans break out of it,nor will the mass media keep them innuntil the D-day of American surrender.’nDnMailer’s book is a sordid echo of endlessntape recordings, newspaper clips andnhalf-literate third-hand recollections;njuxtaposed with leachings of Mailer’snimagination at its most prurient, and hisntaste at its crudest, for nearly 1100npages.nNow, Mailer has been around a longntime, and The Executioner’s Song offersnlittle that has not been seen in his pastnproductions. But this book will stand forna long time as a case study in pseudojournalisticnpornography. Technically,nit is just that; even reviewers whoncoughed up the adulation that is addednautomatically, like salad dressing, tonanything from Mailer’s cultural ghettonfussed a bit about the tape recorder asnPrimary Source. For this book is thenproduct of a lazy man with a dirty mind,nwho now relies solely on crudity andncontacts with others like himself to getnhis books written. “I’m all diarrhea,”nsays main source Larry Schiller, thenseeker after epitaphs of such notablesnas Susan Atkins, Jack Ruby and Mrs.nLenny Bruce.nMailer begins with the assumptionnthat the thoughts and writings of anminor criminal are touchstones of contemporarynAmerican life. To give us thenepic scope he feels is called for, he tellsnthe story of Gilmore’s entire life, andnthe lives of dozens of people who camenmmmmmm^m^WnMarch/April 1980n