Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Gore Vidal...RIP

But for his irrepressible homosexuality Gore Vidal might have ended up as the Book Editor of the National Review.
His quaint Jeffersonianism, icy patrician demeanor and bottomless bon mots made him a good candidate for the Review's Editorial Board, nasty jewbaiting notwithstanding.
Deep down though, for all his one time democratic bona fides, Gore Vidal hated FDR, truly the portals of the National Review could have been thrown wide to him.
And the Kennedys his onetime patrons? He lived to tattle on them all, so many of the New Frontiersmen beat Vidal of to the grave that his side of the story threatened to become canon for a while there.
It all says a Friend of Bill Buckley to meeee-ee.
Of course in real life Bill Buckley and Gore Vidal hated one another, their famous confrontation on the air at the 1968 Democratic National Convention set the standard for fifty years of cable chat show bluster. Viewed today their exchange of bitter insults resembles two embittered sophomores impotently snapping wet towels at one another.
Oh I know to radicals of a certain age, Vidal is a savory fine wine, he is dragged out by the intellectuals when they want to get good and drunk on American Declinism.
And for the record, Vidal started predicting America's fall in 1967 and he went on and on predicting the past with a tedium that put the Manchester New Hampshire telephone directory to shame.
Eventually he fled this dying empire to the very hub of dying empires, Italy and doddered away in a villa, convinced of his status as the USA's own Edward Gibbon.
He was a very able writer and a very witty man, but sometimes wit is about as useful as tits are to a bull.
His historic novels are uniformly excellent, full of wry dialogue and unsubtle payback at various real persons and institutions, retaliation and vituperation were his watchwords when it came to fiction.
In the life after this one he'll sit two seats over from Ambrose Bierce and H.L. Mencken, one doubts they'll talk to one another much.

No comments :