Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vital Vidal

Before reality television there was....seminal television!  Talk about Outplay, Outmatch, Outlast. Have you caught this amazing spar match on the Dick Cavett Show from back in 1971? Must-see TV!

Writers Gore Vidal, Janet Flanner and Norman Mailer face off - and Mailer is completely out of his league vs. these three wits. Of course he didn't lead well with: "We all know I stabbed my wife..."

So just in case before now you didn't think Norman Mailer was a total douchebag:



It's like not only does he miss every barb, but all he's got is...finger bowls?  Reduced to the bellicose menace he truly was, Mailer personifies arrogance. Brutalized by quicker brains, he claims intellectual superiority?  BTW, what are finger bowls?

And can we all agree Janet Flanner wins this round gloved hands down?

It's funny to me how grown men, grown learned men, so easily race right back to playground to name call.  Or go for the easy ad hominem.  Gore Vidal is provocative, always taunting, needling the enemy. Here's a famous interview with conservative William Buckley getting so needled by Gore that Buckley resorts to calling him queer and threatening to smack him in the gob til he's plastered (?). I'm sorry, weren't we talking about the Vietnam War?

What do you think of gay grandpa Gore Vidal?  He's still spewing. 

Lately Vidal vitriol is aimed at American imperialism.  He's had choice words for Bush and of Ronald Reagan, who he once quipped was "A triumph of the embalmer's art." Recently, at 85, when asked if he had a better way of governing, Vidal said, "Give me a few days and I'll come up with something  better; it took one of my predecessors only seven".

The acid comes easy when you know you're right. He is always right, but is that all it is - being right?

Vidal lived with his partner Howard Austen for 53 years (until Austen's death), but Gore Vidal says he's not gay - that there are "homosexual acts" not "homosexuals" and if we put labels on it's too easy to scoop us all up and send us to Auschwitz. That's why you don't see him headlining Pride parades.

Unfortunately right is not might. Wouldn't it be nice if people didn't have to identify allegiances, take sides like they do on the Dick Cavett show.  I couldn't agree more with his philosophy. If I could I'd erase confines of sexuality, I would. I'd also erase the barriers of race, nationality, religion.  But we are not that advanced, so IMO, you had better step up and represent for advancement.
 
I'd like to live in a world where humans picked up books with the same alacrity they pick up weapons. That's not going to change until the next Cambrian extinction and a higher consciousness arises from our ashes. Until then, I am gay. I belong to a tribe, no matter logic that says we are all the same. No matter we know this should be the least interesting thing about us. 


He's not a hypocrite or an Uncle Tom. Gore Vidal just doesn't give a fuck. Let's face it - he never did. He wrote one of the first books with a gay love story "City and the Pillar" in 1948 and was pilloried for it. It's a harmless, sweet novel if you've read it - but the New York Times was so incensed it refused to review his next 7 books - because he dared once write about the love that dare not speak its name (in print or otherwise).  So what does Gore Vidal do? He becomes the a literary lion, a pundit, a polemic; he's in politics, and later he writes Myra Breckenridge, one of the first novels about a transsexual.

Yes he does represent, in action. So when I say Gore Vidal doesn't give a fuck, I'd wager he gives too much of a fuck and that's the drive to being right, disavowing every limitation with that trenchant acid.

I feel major ambivalence toward this anti-hero.  There always seems too much contention and too little love and aren't you scared of growing old this way? He exasperates me like he exasperates his adversaries and maybe that's because he is just flat out more intelligent. Listen to him if you care, ignore if you dare. Gore Vidal makes me wonder how maddening it must be to live seventeen generations before your time.



4 comments:

Yvie Jones said...

Well said gorgeousness. I like your use of WIHTLU (words I had to look up). XX

Jesse Archer said...

Yvie, thanks for intro-ing me to that video. i'm loving the profile pic and WWDYHTLU? ;)

peteracross said...

Dear Old Gore,
He can do no wrong - I read The City and the Pillar when I was 13 or 14 and quickly followed with the two Breckinridges.
I always assumed even at that young age that the famous film star was Rock Hudson. Also TCaTP made me take up tennis just on the off chance :)

peteracross said...

Dear Old Gore,
He can do no wrong - I read The City and the Pillar when I was 13 or 14 and quickly followed with the two Breckinridges.
I always assumed even at that young age that the famous film star was Rock Hudson. Also TCaTP made me take up tennis just on the off chance :)