RIP: Gore Vidal

All in all, I would not have missed this century for the world.–Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal, author, intellect, anti-war activist, openly gay literary icon of leonine presence, has died in Los Angeles. He was 86. I remember reading about him as celebrity–at Studio 54, seeing him on TV, long before I read Myra Breckenridge– and read about Caligula in Penthouse. I kinda thought making a movie for Bob Guccione, Penthouse’s publisher was slumming for him, but I still admired and respected him for his wit, insight, use of language and utter charm.  I was also fascinated by his pedigree, his ancestry which contained so much of America’s history.

Plus he believed in:

the ancient American sense that whatever is wrong with human society can be put right by human action.

USA Today’s obit is beautiful. And not just because we like the same quote.

As election time draws near, ponder Gore Vidal’s words:

Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.

14 Responses to "RIP: Gore Vidal"
Teddy Partridge | Tuesday July 31, 2012 11:48 pm 1

Best novelist, and thinker, the American Century ever produced, bar none. He will be greatly missed, but in a way I’m glad he won’t be around to see our nation’s further decline into irrelevance.

cmaukonen | Wednesday August 1, 2012 07:58 am 2

Gore Vidal and Kurt Vonnegut. Two of the best thinkers and writers we have had.

Will miss them both.

newcarguy | Wednesday August 1, 2012 08:00 am 3
In response to Teddy Partridge @ 1

I’m glad he won’t be around to see our nation’s further decline into irrelevance

I wish I was gonna miss the ride too.

bulldogliberal | Wednesday August 1, 2012 08:06 am 4

I guess I’d forgoten what a special type of coward Buckley was….and his intellectual counterpunching of threatening with a real punch; do we really need to wonder who won that round?

easyrider1969 | Wednesday August 1, 2012 08:17 am 5

Gore Vidal’s BURR and CREATION are among the best books I’ve ever read. A great human being. RIP.

marymccurnin | Wednesday August 1, 2012 08:28 am 6

We are in bigger trouble now.

Phoenix Woman | Wednesday August 1, 2012 08:30 am 7

Ave atque vale, Mr. Vidal.

mafr | Wednesday August 1, 2012 09:00 am 8

Amy Goodman did a great interview with him. It revealed a tremendous sense of humour.

newcarguy | Wednesday August 1, 2012 09:01 am 9
In response to marymccurnin @ 6

And I didn’t think that possible.

AitchD | Wednesday August 1, 2012 09:23 am 10

Vidal’s writing energies and publishing declined coincidentally as blogging and online journalism rose. Almost all progressive and left-leaning blogging or commentary has been outright plagiarism of Vidal’s insights, and where they aren’t so flagrant, they are elaborate footnotes of his mind. All of it.

He had to be happy to have buried the more popular Buckley and Mailer.

ottogrendel | Wednesday August 1, 2012 09:37 am 11
In response to bulldogliberal @ 4

I suspect it was not so much that Buckley was a coward as it was a case of there just not being that much upstairs. Buckley was not a smart man. He was educated beyond his intelligence; filled with more ideological testimony than reason. And so far as I can tell in all his debates that I have watched, the only thing he really cared about was asserting his socioeconomic status. The give away was that wry, half-cocked, smug, owning class smile that he would flash to the audience as an aside every time he scored a “point” in a debate. If you ever saw Buckley debate Ira Glasser (a genuine intellect) you know that the former was not a thinker. Buckley was a clueless, upper class fundamentalist with almost no knowledge of how those below his privileged and financially insulated position lived, which is why his positions were invariably narrow, unrealistic and ideological.

Vidal, on the other hand, was a lion among men. He was one of the few US intellectuals unbeholden to rank, station or institution who therefore saw things clearly and stated them accurately. “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace” is one of my favorite of his books.

Starbuck | Wednesday August 1, 2012 10:16 am 12
In response to newcarguy @ 3

Depending on where you are age wise, we all will miss the entire ride from some specific point.

acmerecords | Wednesday August 1, 2012 10:55 am 13

“The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along, paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return”


holeybuybull | Wednesday August 1, 2012 01:32 pm 14
In response to marymccurnin @ 6

Vidal accurately described our current situation in IMPERIAL AMERICA: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia. It was published in 2004, but contains essays from as far back as 1980.

A little known fictional work by Vidal, KALKI is an interesting take on the future of mankind.

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