Skip to comments.Famous For His Hates: The Cool, Witty Gore Vidal
Posted on 08/01/2012 6:46:02 PM PDT by Drango
Chris Bram is the author of the novel Gods and Monsters.
Gore Vidal was famous for his hates: academia, presidents, whole portions of the American public and, most notably, Truman Capote. Yet he could be incredibly generous to other writer friends. He wrote beautiful, appreciative essays about Tennessee Williams and Dawn Powell.
He was a man of many facets and endless contradictions.
He achieved his first notoriety in 1948 when he was only 22, for his novel, The City and the Pillar. It was the fullest, most frank portrait of gay American life at that time. The book wasn't autobiographical but anyone reading it could safely assume its author knew this world firsthand. Homosexuality was still illegal throughout the country. The book was a best-seller, but both book and author were viciously attacked. Vidal later claimed he had expected this response, but how many 22-year-olds can anticipate such public humiliation?
He backed away from the topic afterward and wrote first for TV and then for the movies. But he still wanted to write fiction, and he was too honest not to want to explore his sexuality. He hit upon an ingenious strategy, arguing that "homosexual" was an adjective, not a noun. There was no such thing as a homosexual person, only homosexual acts. In 1968 he published Myra Breckenridge, where transsexuality leaves the gay/straight question in the dust. Later that year he got into a battle with William F. Buckley, which began with Buckley calling him a queer on national television during the Democratic convention. It ended with the two fighting it out in the pages of Esquire and later the law courts.
More important than sex to Vidal was politics and history. He wrote several best-selling novels about the two. My own favorites are Julian and Burr. But his best writing was in his essays. He hated hearing this, but his essays are witty, informed, surprising, covering a broad range of topics: sexuality, of course, politics and history, but also literature and the movies.
As a teenager, I first knew him as a TV personality, then as an essayist and only later as a novelist. His public persona had such authority that I once dreamed we spoke. He told me the novel I was working on was a mess. I should put it aside and start a new one. I woke up in a cold sweat, thinking, 'No, no, I can fix it, I can make it work' before I remembered I had never met Gore Vidal and it was only a bad dream. (Incidentally, he was right: I never was able to publish that novel.)
Vidal lived for 53 years with Howard Austen, but spoke about him only late in his life. He joked that the secret of their longevity was that they never had sex with each other, only other people. Yet his account of Austen's death in 2003 in his memoir, Point to Point Navigation is heartbreaking.
Gore Vidal did not want to be known as a gay writer. And he was much more than that. But he was also the godfather of gay literature, in spite of himself. Gay men of my generation and older used him as an example, even a role model. If this cool, witty, outrageous man can succeed with American readers, maybe we can, too.
NPR is rewriting history. (typical)
Vidal called Buckley a nazi. Buckley responded. Role the tape.
Mr Buckley is deceased and cannot defend his reputation. NPR is filth.
NPR - for those who cannot possibly earn their living from actual sponsors.
NPR - we’ve got what it takes to take what you’ve got.
NPR - Don’t worry, we’re not at the bottom of the SAT barrel - that’s for our close democrat politician keepers.
NPR is absolutely pathetic save the classical music. There is no reason why that operation should be under the exclusive control of Leftwing, sniveling hacks.
Gore Vidal was filth personified. Why didn’t he like Truman Capote? They were birds of a feather.
Yes and we the taxpayers help pay for it. They expect us to pay for their filthy agenda even as they try to suppress our voices.
It’s a sick world where “witty” and “sophisticated” are synonyms for “sodomite”. What’s so witty about short life expectancies thanks to the disgusting and unnatural acts they commit and the promiscuity of that lifestyle?
The Queen is dead!
I thought the vile creature was already dead. He won’t be missed.
NPR had better hire some sales reps, We just do not have the money. Were broke and just don’t know it yet. But we will soon, and so will they.
To paraphrase Mark Twain “I can’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice card saying I approved.”
Really? To me he was a meat gazing pole smoker.
The funny thing is that Vidal is actually the homosexualist who first coined the term ‘homosexualist.’ His point was that using ‘sexual’, heterosexual, or ‘homosexual’ as a noun didn’t make sense, if I recall.
My fingers are worn to the bone typing ‘Defund NPR/PBS’. But then, you knew that.
Vidal was a snarky, nasty, puffed up, homosexual leftist.
He was another darling author of the left even though many others found his writing biased and pedantic.
The Cool, Witty, COMMIE SOB, Gore Vidal. RIH!
He seems to have been just a twisted pathetic ‘wit’ who understood nothing.
A thinner Michael Moore.
Lizzie Warren can be a homosexual male.......if it helps her get a job.
Both were/are Castro-loving communists.
“Author Gore Vidal used the occasion of 9/11 to observe that the USA is the most corrupt political system on the earth, and to suggest that America’s highest authorities had foreknowledge about the impending attacks but had chosen not to intercede so as to gain a pretext for thereafter invading Afghanistan and Iraq.”
“After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Vidal lent his name and support to a number of anti-war organizations and campaigns. For instance, he was a signatory to the Statement of Conscience crafted by Not In Our Name, a project of C. Clark Kissingers Revolutionary Communist Party. This document condemned not only the Bush administrations stark new measures of repression, but also its unjust, immoral, illegitimate, [and] openly imperial policy towards the world.
Vidal also endorsed World Cant Wait (WCW), another Revolutionary Communist Party project that sought to organize people living in the United States to take responsibility to stop the whole disastrous course led by the Bush administration.
A longtime supporter of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, Vidal in May 2007 said:
Weve seen all the bad side of Cuba because were fed nothing else by the media . Theyre turning out thousands of doctors . Castro has been generally benign. The bloodcurdling stories that weve been told by our government seem not to be true at all . This is contrary to the American way. Everything we do, we do in bad faith. Were always out to get somebody, particularly anyone foolish enough to put themselves in the hands of our government.
That same year, Vidal signed a letter calling on President Bush to cease his continuing hostility towards Cuba and to normalize U.S. relations with Castros island nation. Other signatories included such notables as Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, Alice Walker, Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, and Sean Penn.
Do not think I EVER read any of his tripe....
I saw this live when I was a kid and NEVER forgot it.
Vidal calls Buckley a “crypto-Nazi” and Buckley calls Vidal a “queer.”
Vidal is scared poopless by Buckley...watch him blink...and Buckley’s gaze is as steady as a hound’s on its prey.
Same here. There was no question of the real intent of Buckley and the real poofery of Vidal.
Nothing for Marxism and slanted news delivered by insufferable bores like Nina Totenberg (Ger for "Death Mountain"), the inane Mara Liasson, and the smarmy lib gay men. Ya wanna bet the Chick-filet demonstration is NOT covere d tomorrow ... but the Queer Kiss-In will be?
In my area, they have moved the classical music and the jazz to another tower that is unreachable by any FM set I know! The old station is 24/7 OWS hosshiite.
No more fed money. You can bill me for the music, or I'll get online from overseas, or spotify..
It's quite simple.
He was a Queer.
Buckley was not a NAZI.
“I can understand companionship. I can understand bought sex in the afternoon, but I cannot understand the love affair.” Gore Vidal
Today’s corrosive morality was promoted by Mr. Vidal - as vile an individual as America produced in the last century.
” most notably, Truman Capote”
Wrong. “Most notably” himself. A bitter, self-hater if there ever was one.
So much for it being a "lifestyle" or genetic. The Supreme Court men in black dresses F***ed up.
Lavender mafia in newsrooms continue their campaign.
Less than 2% of the general population, their ranks are beyond 10% in the media.
Wouldn't a more objective article on this hater (or is that h8er) be written by an IMPARTIAL author?
Was it AIDS? Old age? Or did he call the wrong guy a crypto-Nazi and get socked in the face?