Gore Vidal -

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    Nov 06, 2008 4:51 PM GMT
    I went searching for the now infamous BBC-twit dressing down of Mt. Vidal on YouTube and I ran across this. Since I apparently live in a crater on Mars I don't know who the interviewer is, but I think he is wonderful. Anyway, I just wanted to invite other people to post bits from Mr. Vidal (maybe leaving aside Bill Buckley because he is dead and it seems like a moment to look to the future). Terry

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    Nov 06, 2008 5:01 PM GMT
    Here it is - the BBC thing. Well, it pretty much explains why I have extremely mixed emotions about life in merry-old England.


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    Nov 06, 2008 5:58 PM GMT
    I have not seen Vidal treat an interviewer as nicely as he did in the first clip in decades (decades of clips that is). It was kind of nice to see him not be a miserable old crank.
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    Nov 06, 2008 6:35 PM GMT
    I must admit I love Gore Vidal's acerbic wit and refreshingly non-worshiping view of his home country. He can be very cynical, but considering his life experiences, and refusal not to be bamboozled by BS, I am not surprised by his cynicism. A very talented and brave man (he wrote a novel that featured a same-sex affair in 1948, which resulted in him being blacklisted by many).
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    Nov 06, 2008 10:54 PM GMT
    This is the most recent interview of Vidal I've heard -- with David Bender on Air America's "Politically Direct":

    http://airamerica.com/node/87176

    He takes calls from listeners.
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    Nov 06, 2008 11:29 PM GMT
    Interesting interview, and I didn't know he was in a wheelchair now. Perhaps why his notoriously evil queeny remarks were missing. But still the Yankee aristocrat to the end.

    One of my favorite writers. I first read "Julian" when I was 21 in 1970, and felt an immediate bond with Vidal. It wasn't until much later I learned what a flaming old queen he was. And still later, when I realized I was one, too, I had a big "Uh-huh!" moment.
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    Nov 07, 2008 9:12 AM GMT
    Supposedly one of the characters in John Knowles "Separate Peace" was based on the young Gore Vidal. I have read all of his American history novels, my favourites being "1876", "Lincoln", and "Empire". The dinner party in "Empire" that has both Henry James and Teddy Roosevelt in it is priceless. Vidal is right though "Creation" maybe his most fascinating book. Then of course there is "Myra Breckinbridge" which is hilarious. His essays are also very good. A very good "clean" writer. The Canadian writer Robertson Davies' writing is also very "clean" (ie well-written but easy to read if that makes any sense)..
  • tokugawa

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    Nov 12, 2008 6:41 PM GMT
    Vidal has had a very unique political education: his grandfather was a blind U.S. Senator from Oklahoma, and when Gore was a child, he would read his letters to him.

    In 1960, he ran as a Democrat for the U.S. House of Representatives from an upstate district in New York state and lost.

    During the 1968 Democratic national convention in Chicago, ABC news hired Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley to provide commentary. Vidal called Buckley a "pro-crypto-Nazi," a modest slip of the tongue, he later said, because he was searching for the word "fascist" and it just didn't come out. Inflamed by the word "Nazi" and the whole tenor of the discussion, Buckley snapped: "Now listen, you queer," he said, "stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I'll sock you in you goddamn face and you'll stay plastered."

    He is a cousin of the 2000 Democratic candidate for President, Al Gore.

    Vidal knows where the bodies are buried, and U.S. history has had quite a few. His warnings about why we should not invade Iraq have been vindicated.

    If Vidal has become cynical, it is because he has seen that instead of us always being the "good guys," often it's just the opposite.

    Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara has estimated that during the war in Vietnam that 2,000,000 (two million) Vietnamese were killed. Rather than being an exception, the massacre at My Lai was in a "free fire zone" where the orders for the U.S. military were to "kill anything that moves." How evil is that? While we are told that we fight overseas to promote Democracy, in Vietnam we prevented the free elections which were promised to be held in 1956, because, as President Eisenhower said, "Ho Chi Minh would have received 80% of the vote."
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    Nov 12, 2008 7:02 PM GMT
    I'm a huge fan of Gore Vidal's books, articles etc. I am often turned off by his consistent negative comments on the United States. But he's got great talent, good genes, and we both adore the Amalfi coast. I love Positano.