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Farewell to Gore Vidal, the everlasting gadfly

At 86, he was claimed today by pneumonia.Here’s a fine assessment of his critical and political writing from Open Letters Monthly.

The City and the Pillar was the first gay novel that I read, unaware that it had practically killed his career in the 1950s, forcing him to work under pseudonyms. The New York Times refused to review his next five books.

What I remember best of Gore Vidal was a chat show in the thick of the Watergate scandal (he once said, ‘I never miss a chance to have sex or go on television’). Nixon was stonewalling in the White House and it looked as if he might survive. Gore, a descendant of Senators and distant member of the Kennedy clan, was asked by the TV host about the president’s prospects.

‘This time next year,’  he drawled with the air of one who has seen it all before, ‘when Richard Nixon is sitting on his hacienda in Argentina…’

The illusion of presidential power vanished in that instant.

Here’s his view of JFK.

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  1. Greg Hlatky says:

    Vidal on Roman Polanski’s sex abuse victim: “I really don’t give a fuck. Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she’s been taken advantage of?” His death is the best news I’ll hear all day.

  2. Norman,

    Thanks for the post on Gore Vidal and the video link. What he said then is still true today here in the U.S. and In spite of his rather crass comment, as posted by Mr. Hlatky, I still admired the man and thought he’d go on forever. He was the bete noir of the conservative right, and that’s how i’ll remember him.

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