Author Topic: Gore Vidal and all things Vidal  (Read 1649 times)

skdadl

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Gore Vidal and all things Vidal
« on: October 10, 2009, 03:49:12 PM »
Boom Boom mentioned that Bill Maher had recently done a good interview with Vidal, so I hope someone can find us a YouTube connection soon.

George Stroumboulopoulos did a wonderful long interview with Vidal a year or so ago, part of which is at that link. You might have to sail around CBC archives a bit to find the whole thing, but that at least is a priceless ten minutes. Notice that Vidal is in a wheelchair.

Boom Boom

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Re: Gore Vidal and all things Vidal
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2009, 04:00:13 PM »
Try this, skd:

 http://adap2k.blogspot.com/2009/04/real ... vidal.html

oops - copyright protected - I'll try another link. :oops:

ETA:

Damn. HBO has forced the interview off YouTube.

Toedancer

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Re: Gore Vidal and all things Vidal
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2009, 04:14:39 PM »
An interview at Huff Post with Johann Hari

Re: Sarah Palin he says - He joined the army at the age of seventeen, glad to escape his mother. He spent the war posted in Italy and, for three years, Alaska. He is not surprised that this "frozen hell" has produced Sarah Palin, "the latest idol in America's long cult of stupidity." Alaska was, he says, "The place where all the crooks in America went to hide. And they produced her."  :lol:

I'm never sure if he is a hard-boiled realist or if he minimizes such things as his mother. Once asked if his mother was a drunk because of jer jealousy over Amelia, he replied probably, then no 'you've read too much Freud', she was Irish!! Apparently that's all one needs to be a drunk.
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

Croghan27

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Re: Gore Vidal and all things Vidal
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2009, 05:23:18 PM »
Vidal's first hit as an author, and the first thing crogh read by him, was Williwaw, a story about a 19 year old on a small naval ship off Alaska.

A couple of years after the initial reading I went back to the book - had not cared for it then. His name was beginning to become well known and I wondered if there was something I had missed.

Nope - still did not care for it.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

deBeauxOs

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Re: Gore Vidal and all things Vidal
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2009, 06:48:35 PM »
Would trivia about Gore be called Vidalia?

skdadl

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Re: Gore Vidal and all things Vidal
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2009, 08:12:10 PM »
Quote from: Croghan27
Vidal's first hit as an author, and the first thing crogh read by him, was Williwaw, a story about a 19 year old on a small naval ship off Alaska.

A couple of years after the initial reading I went back to the book - had not cared for it then. His name was beginning to become well known and I wondered if there was something I had missed.

Nope - still did not care for it.

I've never read Williwaw, Croggy, nor The City and the Pillar, although I know their place in the biographical romance Vidal constructed for himself, commemorating a great love lost in youth. In fact he lived for over fifty years with his partner Howard Austen, by all accounts a deeply committed relationship that ended only with Austen's death.

There are novels of Vidal's that simply swept me away -- I'm sure he'd snort to hear that I was crying by the end of both Julian and Burr, but I was. He says we should read Creation, so I will at some point -- it sounds to be of the same sort, although maybe not the same vintage.

Above all, though, I have loved him as an essayist. If you're a student of the C17-C18, you get over genre prejudice very quickly since the greatest writers of the period wrote just about anything and everything, as Vidal has. I've never read a Vidal essay I didn't love, never, and I've read a lot of them. I once ordered forty copies of an Italo Calvino novel for students in a course I was about to teach, me never having heard of Calvino before, just on the strength of an overview Vidal wrote in the NYRB in the mid-seventies. It takes a special kind of writer to make an entirely new audience fall in love with a writer they've never read before, but Vidal did that with that essay.

And his politics are, for me, a lover of democracy as the great thinkers of the Enlightenment understood and dreamed of it, spot on. He understands where tyranny comes from, has always come from, and he knows how to fight it. He's one of the greatest senators the U.S. never had, which is their tragedy, not his.

I've seldom respected anyone as much as I do Gore Vidal, and beyond that, I just plain love the way he writes and the way he talks, and I think he is a beautiful human bean.

Croghan27

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Re: Gore Vidal and all things Vidal
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2009, 09:15:51 PM »
I goggled Vidal to see if there were any more of his books that I read. I did read Burr and found it interesting - not earth shaking. (I think someone on Gzowski recommended it.)

I must agree with you about his essays - as I claim about Ray Bradbury and John Le Carre he should be read out loud just to revel in his prose. While poking about I came upon an interview with him in the British Independent.

This most quotable of writers says of Obama:
Quote
When he compares Obama to his old friend Jack Kennedy, he shakes his head. "He's twice the intellectual that Jack was, but Jack knew the great world. Remember he spent a long time in the navy, losing ships. This kid [Obama] has never heard a gun fired in anger. He's absolutely bowled over by generals, who tell him lies and he believes them. He hasn't done anything.

But then he says of his mother:
Quote
As a child, Vidal loved spending time with his Senator-grandfather, not least because it meant he could escape for a time from his alcoholic mother Nina. When I raise the topic, he adopts the nasal whine of a mock-interviewer again and says: "'Oh Mr Vidal, your poor mother can't have been as awful as you say [in your memoirs].' She was a lot worse. I don't go after other people's mothers, but my own was quite enough to attack."

He feels that America, as a country, is much too good for Americans. (and quotes Ben Franklin to back it up.)

It is a long and fascinating look at an aged and fascinating man - his mind is still sharp, even if he reminds me of our little 'ol feller:  :age:

Not a biography, but perhaps the genesis of one, it explores his whole life, his politics, and his family. It shows appreciation without becoming obsequious: acceptance and humour without becoming condescending.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

 

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