Gore Vidal, No Greater a Hater Than He

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“Of course, I’m always sad about Gore [Vidal],” Truman Capote once quipped. “Very sad that he has to breathe every day.” Vidal, who caustically dubbed Capote’s 1984 death “a good career move,” has taken his last breath. Born at West Point in 1925, Eugene Luther Gore Vidal died on Tuesday in the Hollywood Hills. The journey between the contrasting locales was substantive and symbolic.

A novelist more famous as a character than for his characters, Vidal feuded physically with Norman Mailer, and feuded famously with Anais Nin, Bobby Kennedy, and William F. Buckley. The latter figure Vidal called a “crypto-Nazi.” “Now, listen, you queer! Stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in your goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered,” Buckley, reflecting the temper of the times, lashed out live on network television in 1968. “Let the author of Myra Breckinridge go back to his pornography and stop making allusions of Nazism.”

Buckley’s taunts merely scratched the surface of his nemesis’ predilections. Vidal boasted of a thousand sexual encounters by age twenty five, finding “both a beauty and fulfillment in sex with strangers that one seldom enjoys with people one knows.” He paid and was paid for sex. When a waitress he knew carnally but otherwise not at all became pregnant, he paid to abort their child. Otherwise, he was quite fond of children. “Naturally, like most men, I am attracted to adolescent males,” Vidal matter-of-factly confessed in his over-the-top honest autobiography. He preached what he practiced and practiced what he preached. In the 1950s he wrote in praise of pederasty and in the 1970s he spoke in favor of it at the founding meeting of the North American Man-Boy Love Association. Hollywood couples—Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon—nevertheless tapped such a man to play godfather to their children.

It doesn’t take a psychiatrist to glean that much of the writer’s hatreds stemmed from his hatred of himself. There was so much to dislike.

Vidal, who had compared Buckley to Adolf Hitler and Mailer to Charles Manson, certainly didn’t spare family members from his venom. His autobiography Palimpsest—a ten-cent word meaning TMI?—tells of his father’s three testicles, his stepfather’s impotence, and his mother inseminating herself with a spoonful of material that would become his “demi-siblings.” He refused to see his own mother for the last twenty years of her life. He externalized supersized self-loathing.

Senator Thomas Gore’s grandson hated his country more than he hated his family. In 1958, he judged Americans “a people ripe for dictatorship.” The expat aristocrat lamented “this mark of Cain I bear with the rest of my unlucky countrymen,” regarding the United States as a rube backwater devoid of civilization. So, in 1972, after exiling himself in several European countries, Vidal settled in Ravello, Italy, where he called home for the next 33 years. He did this as much to avoid taxes as to protest the Vietnam War.

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  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    Bore Vidal?

    Now he's a Good Socialist.

    • Ham Sandwich

      The only good socialist is a dead socialist. Preferably with its 'brains' caked all over the wall behind it.

  • Larry

    I will admit I read Vidal's "American" novels in high school. I also grew out of them by the time I was 18.

    Some of the novels I read in those high school years, however, I return to again and again as good reads.

    Vidal was the Golden Arches of American novelists, but rarely if ever, provided a lasting meal.

  • Terry

    Gore Vidal had nothing to say when he was alive, and the less said about him now he's dead, the better.

    • Looking4Sanity

      Amen! I've already heard more than I care to!

  • mlcblog

    He was a real putz in my book.

  • Lady_Dr

    Yawn.

  • ★FALCON★

    In my opinion, Vidal symbolizes all that went wrong with the leftist literary indoctrination. Stringing words together simply because you can does not make one Plato, nor does it make the reader any more intelligent.

    • Kevin Stowell

      Pretty much the poster child for all the dysfunction of the Left–self-loathing redirected at all people/things around him yet not understanding that the destruction/demonizaton of others does not equate to reconstruction/sanctification of self.

  • mrbean

    Gore Vidal and Sandusky have alot in common with young boys.

  • tagalog

    Traditionally, the job of a godparent is to insure that the deceased parents' children are raised in the appropriate religion; was there any such issue with regard to the children of Paul Newman-Joanne Woodward and Tim Robbins-Susan Sarandon? I shudder to think of the interpretation Mr. Vidal would have put on that role had he actually been called upon to fill it.

  • BigSkyCountry

    He was also married to a "traitor" by the name of Jane Fonda (the one who said she dreamed of having sex with Che Guevara) ….. birds of a feather hang together

    • Looking4Sanity

      I'm not Fonda Hanoi Jane.

    • Chiggles

      Gore Vidal never married anyone.

  • prman100

    Gore Vidal never wrote a thing in his entire life worth reading. He was a sour, snotty old queen, even as a young man, afflicted with a permanent scowling rictus and a perverted view of life and people.

    • Ham Sandwich

      Agreed.

  • Chiggles

    He never married Jane Fonda or anyone else. After all, he was a poofter.

  • Chiggles

    Vidal Sassoon was Jewish and fought in the Arab-Israeli War of 1948 as a member of the Haganah. Really.

  • Ron Lewenberg

    To think that the isolationist dhimmi at "The American Conservative" {sic}, are lauding Vidal.

  • Ghostwriter

    I've never read ANY of Gore Vidal's books. The above article lessens my enthusiasm to read any of his books.

  • Pablo

    You know nothing of Gore Vidal's intellect, Mr. Flynn, because you are obviously unable to conceive of it.

    • Ham Sandwich

      Intellect? A raving old queen who hates eveything?

  • JakeTobias

    Gore Vidal was godfather to Paul Newman's son? Who died of substance abuse problems?

    And godfather of other children as well? I shudder to think. I never read the man. But remember him from TV. I did see "Myra Breckinridge" on TV once, as well. I remember it's message being, buggery is good for you, and feeling the heat of hate for straights. It's like Gore wanted all straights to be forcibly buggered, to teach us a lesson. What he thought that might teach us, I have no idea.

  • janel

    I pity the man, dod he ever know joy or happiness ? Did he ever smile ? Did he ever jump out of bed glad to be alive and eager to live one more day ? Did he ever know God ?

    He seemed bitter and angry, self-concerned, deviant and pornographic. He lived a very sad gloomy depressing life.

    I pity him.

  • rockman

    Vidal fell through his own rather loose sphincter into the void long before he died.

  • mburu

    Was he not a fine anti-zionist?

  • g_jochnowitz

    Gore Vidal and Mahatma Gandhi were both anti-Semites. http://www.jochnowitz.net/Essays/AntiSemitism.htm
    Both were in love with Jewish men. Gandhi, unlike Vidal, never had sex with the man he loved. http://world.time.com/2011/04/01/gandhi-lelyveld-

    • g_jochnowitz

      I have learned new information about "vaseline and cotton wool" that lead me to believe I should reconsider my statement that Gandhi never had sex with the man he loved. http://www.fravahr.org/spip.php?breve1116

  • Mburu

    Too bad I m only seeing shallow insults thrown at Gore's person and works but no reasonable refutation……mudslinging can never replace coherent reasoning!

    • anor277

      Vidal's historical novels, about Lincoln, Burr, and especially Julian the Apostate, are all readable and compelling works. Maybe he wrote a lot other work that some find distasteful, but to dismiss him entirely is a mistake.

    • JakeTobias

      He was a self-admitted pedophile. What coherent reasoning are you talking about?

    • CTFC

      If you are talking about his pedophilia and warped view on sexuality, he owned up to those. If you are talking about his whacky 9/11 theories, no refutation is necessary, just as no refutation is necessary when telling a Flat-Earth Society member that they are wrong.

      • Mburu

        can you really refute his compelling anti-zionist works!

        Dwelling on his sexuality is cheap distraction from the essential Gore….he was one fine anti-zionist!

        he didnt take the polemical gibberish that are incessantly being churned out by brainwashed zionists!

  • Michael J. Casey

    Happily the world is now a better place!

  • stevefraser

    Well said.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Gee whiz, I will just have to go on not missing him……………………………..William

  • Earl Greys

    Gore Vidal…a Truly disgusting maggot if ever there was one.
    Glad he is gone!!!

  • Western Spirit

    So the haughty Gore Vidal has joined the grand march we'll all participate in one day. Huddled in dirt the thinking engine lies that once was so witty and so wise. At least that's how I remember Pope's poem and how fitting it is for this man.

  • TnMom

    You know what is so sad? He now knows the truth.

    • Ham Sandwich

      It's not so sad, for Vidal is now where he should be all the time. And that ain't in Heaven.

  • Jimmy Pheromone

    Judging by the description I'd have to say I don't like him.

  • porkcfish

    An American citizen cannot avoid taxes by living in a foreign country.

  • BuskeyBlue

    What a stinking neocon treatment of the subject. Vidal was complicated and sometimes repellent, yes, but to trash his conspiracy work this way lowers Frontpagemag yet further into the neocon sewer and leaves Flynn reeking of it.