I have no wish to commit literary patricide, or to assassinate Vidalâ€™s characterâ€”a character which appears, in any case, to have committed suicide.
Good you had no such wish, Charlie Brown, since you have failed.
Well, that's pretty much what I expected it would be. For any of the flat phrases he's composed over the last decade, and I've seen a few, Vidal at least has the excuse that he's over eighty and clearly very tired and frail. Hitchens' excuse for rhetorical progressions like "awful, spiteful, miserable" would be ... what?
Hitchens ruined himself by hitching his wagon to the star of American imperialism, and he must know it. He's never produced anything approaching the literary value of dozens of Vidal's works, and he must know that too. Few have, but then few care in the jealous -- "awful, spiteful, miserable" -- way that Hitchens does.
Vidal has taken positions that bother me. I understand why he was interested in McVeigh, and I can even understand why and how he might empathize, in a Capote sort of way, with a young man he got to know through their interviews and correspondence. He must have been outraged by McVeigh's execution -- I was. But he went further than all that sometimes, to what sounds like semi-endorsement of what McVeigh did, and I still can't get my head around that.
While I know for sure that the 9/11 commission investigation and report was seriously flawed -- even the commissioners think so -- I really don't have time for the truthers, who don't work as careful detectives but as sensationalists, which ruins any serious criticism. I don't know whether Vidal was really a truther, but some of the things he's said appear to give them support, which I think is a shame.
He is 85, though, and frail and heartbroken.