Laboring mightily in the crack of philosophy’s buttocks

Norman Mailer on Jean-Paul Sartre, in The Nation:

SartreI would say that Sartre, despite his incontestable strengths of mind, talent and character, is still the man who derailed existentialism, sent it right off the track. In part, this may have been because he gave too wide a berth to Heidegger’s thought. Heidegger spent his working life laboring mightily in the crack of philosophy’s buttocks, right there in the cleft between Being and Becoming. I would go so far as to suggest Heidegger was searching for a viable connection between the human and the divine that would not inflame too irreparably the reigning post-Hitler German mandarins who were in no rush to forgive his past and would hardly encourage his tropism toward the nonrational.

Sartre, however, was comfortable as an atheist even if he had no fundament on which to plant his philosophical feet. To hell with that, he didn’t need it. He was ready to survive in mid-air.

More here.