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Old 07-09-2002, 05:22 PM   #1
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Gore Vidal talks about terrorism and the American Empire

The Last Defender of the American Republic?
An interview with Gore Vidal
by Marc Cooper


HE MIGHT BE AMERICA'S LAST small-r republican. Gore Vidal, now 76, has made a lifetime out of critiquing America's imperial impulses and has -- through two dozen novels and hundreds of essays -- argued tempestuously that the U.S. should retreat back to its more Jeffersonian roots, that it should stop meddling in the affairs of other nations and the private affairs of its own citizens.

That's the thread that runs through Vidal's latest best-seller -- an oddly packaged collection of essays published in the wake of September 11 titled Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got To Be So Hated. To answer the question in his subtitle, Vidal posits that we have no right to scratch our heads over what motivated the perpetrators of the two biggest terror attacks in our history, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and last September's twin-tower holocaust.

Vidal writes: "It is a law of physics (still on the books when last I looked) that in nature there is no action without reaction. The same appears to be true in human nature -- that is, history." The "action" Vidal refers to is the hubris of an American empire abroad (illustrated by a 20-page chart of 200 U.S. overseas military adventures since the end of World War II) and a budding police state at home. The inevitable "reaction," says Vidal, is nothing less than the bloody handiwork of Osama bin Laden and Timothy McVeigh. "Each was enraged," he says, "by our government's reckless assaults upon other societies" and was, therefore, "provoked" into answering with horrendous violence.

Some might take that to be a suggestion that America had it coming on September 11. So when I met up with Vidal in the Hollywood Hills home he maintains (while still residing most of his time in Italy), the first question I asked him was this:



L.A. WEEKLY: Are you arguing that the 3,000 civilians killed on September 11 somehow deserved their fate?

GORE VIDAL: I don't think we, the American people, deserved what happened. Nor do we deserve the sort of governments we have had over the last 40 years. Our governments have brought this upon us by their actions all over the world. I have a list in my new book that gives the reader some idea how busy we have been. Unfortunately, we only get disinformation from The New York Times and other official places. Americans have no idea of the extent of their government's mischief. The number of military strikes we have made unprovoked, against other countries, since 1947-48 is more than 250. These are major strikes everywhere from Panama to Iran. And it isn't even a complete list. It doesn't include places like Chile, as that was a CIA operation. I was only listing military attacks.

Americans are either not told about these things or are told we attacked them because . . . well . . . Noriega is the center of all world drug traffic and we have to get rid of him. So we kill some Panamanians in the process. Actually we killed quite a few. And we brought in our Air Force. Panama didn't have an air force. But it looked good to have our Air Force there, busy, blowing up buildings. Then we kidnap their leader, Noriega, a former CIA man who worked loyally for the United States. We arrest him. Try him in an American court that has no jurisdiction over him and lock him up -- nobody knows why. And that was supposed to end the drug trade because he had been demonized by The New York Times and the rest of the imperial press.

[The government] plays off [Americans'] relative innocence, or ignorance to be more precise. This is probably why geography has not really been taught since World War II -- to keep people in the dark as to where we are blowing things up. Because Enron wants to blow them up. Or Unocal, the great pipeline company, wants a war going some place.

And people in the countries who are recipients of our bombs get angry. The Afghans had nothing to do with what happened to our country on September 11. But Saudi Arabia did. It seems like Osama is involved, but we don't really know. I mean, when we went into Afghanistan to take over the place and blow it up, our commanding general was asked how long it was going to take to find Osama bin Laden. And the commanding general looked rather surprised and said, well, that's not why we are here.

Oh no? So what was all this about? It was about the Taliban being very, very bad people and that they treated women very badly, you see. They're not really into women's rights, and we here are very strong on women's rights; and we should be with Bush on that one because he's taking those burlap sacks off of women's heads. Well, that's not what it was about.

What it was really about -- and you won't get this anywhere at the moment -- is that this is an imperial grab for energy resources. Until now, the Persian Gulf has been our main source for imported oil. We went there, to Afghanistan, not to get Osama and wreak our vengeance. We went to Afghanistan partly because the Taliban -- whom we had installed at the time of the Russian occupation -- were getting too flaky and because Unocal, the California corporation, had made a deal with the Taliban for a pipeline to get the Caspian-
area oil, which is the richest oil reserve on Earth. They wanted to get that oil by pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan to Karachi and from there to ship it off to China, which would be enormously profitable. Whichever big company could cash
in would make a fortune. And you'll see that all these companies go back to Bush or Cheney or
to Rumsfeld or someone else on the Gas and Oil Junta, which, along with the Pentagon, governs the United States.

We had planned to occupy Afghanistan in October, and Osama, or whoever it was who hit us in September, launched a pre-emptory strike. They knew we were coming. And this was a warning to throw us off guard.

With that background, it now becomes explicable why the first thing Bush did after we were hit was to get Senator Daschle and beg him not to hold an investigation of the sort any normal country would have done. When Pearl Harbor was struck, within 20 minutes the Senate and the House had a joint committee ready. Roosevelt beat them to it, because he knew why we had been hit, so he set up his own committee. But none of this was to come out, and it hasn't come out.



Still, even if one reads the chart of military interventions in your book and concludes that, indeed, the U.S. government is a "source of evil" -- to lift a phrase -- can't you conceive that there might be other forces of evil as well? Can't you imagine forces of religious obscurantism, for example, that act independently of us and might do bad things to us, just because they are also evil?

Oh yes. But you picked the wrong group. You picked one of the richest families in the world -- the bin Ladens. They are extremely close to the royal family of Saudi Arabia, which has conned us into acting as their bodyguard against their own people -- who are even more fundamentalist than they are. So we are dealing with a powerful entity if it is Osama.

What isn't true is that people like him just come out of the blue. You know, the average American thinks we just give away billions in foreign aid, when we are the lowest in foreign aid among developed countries. And most of what we give goes to Israel and a little bit to Egypt.

I was in Guatemala when the CIA was preparing its attack on the Arbenz government [in 1954]. Arbenz, who was a democratically elected president, mildly socialist. His state had no revenues; its biggest income maker was United Fruit Company. So Arbenz put the tiniest of taxes on bananas, and Henry Cabot Lodge got up in the Senate and said the Communists have taken over Guatemala and we must act. He got to Eisenhower, who sent in the CIA, and they overthrew the government. We installed a military dictator, and there's been nothing but bloodshed ever since.

Now, if I were a Guatemalan and I had
the means to drop something on somebody in Washington, or anywhere Americans were, I would be tempted to do it. Especially if I had lost my entire family and seen my country blown to bits because United Fruit didn't want to pay taxes. Now, that's the way we operate. And that's why we got to be so hated.



You've spent decades bemoaning the erosion of civil liberties and the conversion of the U.S. from a republic into what you call an empire. Have the aftereffects of September 11, things like the USA Patriot bill, merely pushed us further down the road or are they, in fact, some sort of historic turning point?

The second law of thermodynamics always rules: Everything is always running down. And so is our Bill of Rights. The current junta in charge of our
affairs, one not legally elected, but put in charge
of us by the Supreme Court in the interests of the oil and gas and defense lobbies, have used first Oklahoma City and now September 11 to further erode things.

And when it comes to Oklahoma City and Tim McVeigh, well, he had his reasons as well to carry out his dirty deed. Millions of Americans agree with his general reasoning, though no one, I think, agrees with the value of blowing up children. But the American people, yes, they instinctively know when the government goes off the rails like it did at Waco and Ruby Ridge. No one has been elected president in the last 50 years unless he ran against the federal government. So, the government should get through its head that it is hated not only by foreigners whose countries we have wrecked, but also by Americans whose lives have been wrecked.

The whole Patriot movement in the U.S. was based on folks run off their family farms. Or had their parents or grandparents run off. We have millions of disaffected American citizens who do not like the way the place is run and see no place in it where they can prosper. They can be slaves. Or pick cotton. Or whatever the latest uncomfortable thing there is to do. But they are not going to have, as Richard Nixon said, "a piece of the action."



And yet Americans seem quite susceptible to a sort of jingoistic "enemy-of-the-month club" coming out of Washington. You say millions of Americans hate the federal government. But something like 75 percent of Americans say they support George W. Bush, especially on the issue of the war.

I hope you don't believe those figures. Don't you know how the polls are rigged? It's simple. After 9/11 the country was really shocked and terrified. [Bush] does a little war dance and talks about evil axis and all the countries he's going to go after. And how long it is all going to take, he says with a happy smile, because it means billions and trillions for the Pentagon and for his oil friends. And it means curtailing our liberties, so this is all very thrilling for him. He's right out there reacting, bombing Afghanistan. Well, he might as well have been bombing Denmark. Denmark had nothing to do with 9/11. And neither did Afghanistan, at least the Afghanis didn't.

So the question is still asked, are you standing tall with the president? Are you standing with him as he defends us?

Eventually, they will figure it out.



They being who? The American people?

Yeah, the American people. They are asked these quick questions. Do you approve of him? Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh yeah, he blew up all those funny-sounding cities over there.

That doesn't mean they like him. Mark my words. He will leave office the most unpopular president in history. The junta has done too much wreckage.

They were suspiciously very ready with the Patriot Act as soon as we were hit. Ready to lift habeas corpus, due process, the attorney-client privilege. They were ready. Which means they have already got their police state. Just take a plane anywhere today and you are in the hands of an arbitrary police state.

Don't you want to have that kind of protection when you fly?

It's one thing to be careful, and we certainly want airplanes to be careful against terrorist attacks. But this is joy for them, for the federal government. Now they've got everybody, because everybody flies.



Let's pick away at one of your favorite bones, the American media. Some say they have done a better-than-usual job since 9/11. But I suspect you're not buying that?

No, I don't buy it. Part of the year I live in Italy. And I find out more about what's going on in the Middle East by reading the British, the French, even the Italian press. Everything here is slanted. I mean, to watch Bush doing his little war dance in Congress . . . about "evildoers" and this "axis of evil" -- Iran, Iraq and North Korea. I thought, he doesn't even know what the word axis means. Somebody just gave it to him. And the press didn't even call him on it. This is about as mindless a statement as you could make. Then he comes up with about a dozen other countries that might have "evil people" in them, who might commit "terrorist acts." What is a terrorist act? Whatever he thinks is a terrorist act. And we are going to go after them. Because we are good and they are evil. And we're "gonna git 'em."

Anybody who could get up and make that speech to the American people is not himself an idiot, but he's convinced we are idiots. And we are not idiots. We are cowed. Cowed by disinformation from the media, a skewed view of the world, and atrocious taxes that subsidize this permanent war machine. And we have no representation. Only the corporations are represented in Congress. That's why only 24 percent of the American people cast a vote for George W. Bush.



I know you'd hate to take this to the ad hominem level, but indulge me for a moment. What about George W. Bush, the man?

You mean George W. Bush, the cheerleader. That's the only thing he ever did of some note in his life. He had some involvement with a baseball team . . .

He owned it . . .

Yeah, he owned it, bought with other people's money. Oil people's money. So he's never really worked, and he shows very little capacity for learning. For them to put him up as president and for the Supreme Court to make sure that he won was as insulting as when his father, George Bush, appointed Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court -- done just to taunt the liberals. And then, when he picked Quayle for his vice president, that showed such contempt for the American people. This was someone as clearly unqualified as Bush Sr. was to be president. Because Bush Sr., as Richard Nixon said to a friend of mine when Bush was elected [imitating Nixon], "He's a lightweight, a complete lightweight, there's nothing there. He's a sort of person you appoint to things."

So the contempt for the American people has been made more vivid by the two Bushes than all of the presidents before them. Although many of them had the same contempt. But they were more clever about concealing it.



Should the U.S. just pack up its military from everywhere and go home?

Yes. With no exceptions. We are not the world's policeman. And we cannot even police the United States, except to steal money from the people and generally wreak havoc. The police are perceived quite often, and correctly, in most parts of the country as the enemy. I think it is time we roll back the empire -- it is doing no one any good. It has cost us trillions of dollars, which makes me feel it's going to fold on its own because there isn't going to be enough money left to run it.



You call yourself one of the last defenders of the American Republic against the American Empire. Do you have any allies left? I mean, we really don't have a credible opposition in this country, do we?

I sometimes feel like I am the last defender of the republic. There are plenty of legal minds who defend the Bill of Rights, but they don't seem very vigorous. I mean, after 9/11 there was silence as one after another of these draconian, really totalitarian laws were put in place.



So what's the way out of this? Back in the '80s you used to call for a new sort of populist constitutional convention. Do you still believe that's the fix?

Well, it's the least bloody. Because there will be trouble, and big trouble. The loons got together to get a balanced-budget amendment, and they got a majority of states to agree to a constitutional convention. Senator Sam Ervin, now dead, researched what would happen in such a convention, and apparently everything would be up for grabs. Once we the people are assembled, as the Constitution requires, we can do anything, we can throw out the whole executive, the judiciary, the Congress. We can put in a Tibetan lama. Or turn the country into one big Scientological clearing center.

And the liberals, of course, are the slowest and the stupidest, because they do not understand their interests. The right wing are the bad guys, but they know what they want -- everybody else's money. And they know they don't like blacks and they don't like minorities. And they like to screw everyone along the way.

But once you know what you want, you are in a stronger position than those who can only say, "Oh no, you mustn't do that." That we must have free speech. Free speech for what? To agree with The New York Times?

The liberals always say, "Oh my, if there is a constitutional convention, they will take away the Bill of Rights." But they have already done it! It is gone. Hardly any of it is left. So if they, the famous "they," would prove to be a majority of the American people and did not want a Bill of Rights, then I say, let's just get it over with. Let's just throw it out the window. If you don't want it, you won't have it.
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Old 07-09-2002, 06:02 PM   #2
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I've got to hand it to you Danno- you never fail to post the wackos and Mickael Morons of this country and their paranoid ramblings

keep up the good work
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Old 07-09-2002, 06:06 PM   #3
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I've got to hand it to you Danno- you never fail to post the wackos and Mickael Morons of this country and their paranoid ramblings

keep up the good work
I think you're the first person I've heard call Gore Vidal a "Wacko". Do you know who this man is? Are you familiar with his writings? I think you'll want to rethink you're opinion when you investigate his biography.
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Old 07-09-2002, 06:11 PM   #4
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Here's an adequate biography on Vidal. It may shed some light for those of you who do not know much about him.


Prolific American novelist, playwright, and essayist, one of the great stylists of contemporary American prose, who has been active in politics. Vidal made his debut as novelist with WILLIWAW at the age of 19, while still in US Army uniform.

"One understands of course why the role of the individual in history is instinctively played down by a would-be egalitarian society. We are, quite naturally, afraid of being victimized by reckless adventurers. To avoid this we have created a myth of the ineluctable mass ('other-directedness') which governs all. Science, we are told, is not a matter of individual inquiry but of collective effort. Even the surface storminess of our elections disguises a fundamental indifference to human personality; if not this man, then that one; it's all the same, life will go on." (from 'Robert Graves and the Twelve Caesars', in Rocking the Boat, 1963)
Gore Vidal grew accustomed at an early age to a life among political and social notables. He was born at the military academy in West Point, New York, where his father was an instructor. He was raised near Washington, DC, in the house of his grandfather, Thomas P. Gore, a populist Democrat senator from Oklahoma. Vidal learned about political life from him and when he was a teenager he adopted the first name of Gore. Vidal also spent time on the Virginia estate of his stepfather, Hugh. D. Auchincloss. After graduating from Philips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, he served on an army supply ship in the Aleutian Islands, near Alaska. Much of his time in the Enlisted Reserve Corps he devoted to writing. Upon his discharge he worked for six months for the publishing firm of E.P. Dutton. From 1947 to 1949 Vidal lived in Antigua, Guatemala. His first novel, Williwaw, was based on his wartime experiences as first mate on Freight Ship 35 in the Alaskan Harbour Craft Detachment. The conventional seafaring story was written in the spirit Ernest Hemingway.

The novel was praised by the critics like the following books, although THE CITY AND THE PILLAR (1948) shocked the public with its homosexual main character. However, he became known as a serious writer at the age of 21, and the novel also 'broke the mold' of gay American fiction. The book was reissued in 1965 with a different ending. THE JUDGEMENT OF PARIS (1953) was about a young man travelling with jet-set and wondering how to satisfy his own part-cynical, part-romantic outlook. Several of his following novels did not gain critical approval and Vidal started to write plays for television, motion pictures and stage. Among his best-known works from the 1950s is VISIT TO A SMALL PLANET (prod. first for television in 1955).

In the 1960s Vidal returned to the literary scene by producing historical or contemporary novels, including JULIAN (1964), written in the form of a journal by the eponymous Roman emperor, WASHINGTON, D.C. (1967), a political thriller spanning the years 1937-52, BURR (1974), in which its title character rises above the other Founding Fathers, 1876 (1976), DULUTH (1983), and LINCOLN (1984), a carefully reconstructed account of the life of the US president. Vidal sees Lincoln as a tyrannical character who is "almost diabolically unknowable in his use of power". CREATION (1981) was the memoir of an imaginary grandson of Zoroaster who travels the world in the service of Persian kings and plays with the ideas of Confucius, Gautama Buddha, Anaxagoras and other thinkers. In LIVE FROM GOLGOTHA (1992) Vidal portrayed events in the Bible as though they were reported on television. Among Vidal's finest works are two novels which deal with power and sex. MYRA BRECKENRIDGE (1968) was a transsexual comedy parodying the cult of the Hollywood film star, dedicated to Christopher Isherwood. Its sequel, MYRON, appeared in 1974. Myra is a feminist and her alternate self, Myron, is her mirror image and bitter antagonist.

The hero of Washington, D.C., Peter Sandford, apperared again in THE GOLDEN AGE (2000), in which the reader meets a number of real, historical people, Eleanor Roosevelt, Joseph Alsop, Tennessee Williams, and the author himself. '"Vidal's big sprawling novel about America's transformation during and after World War II coats its ethical inquiries with plenty of narrative sweeteners: the sweep of history, celebrity walk-ons, conspiracy theories and reams of conversation, much of it witty, some lumbering. But the issue of power and who should hold it is never far form the surface. Sanford confronts the scheming and ambitious Congressman Clay Overbury, who also appeared in Washington, D.C., and asks, "Why must you be President?" To Overbury, the answer is obvious: "Some people are meant to be. Some are not. Obviously you're not."' (Curtis Ellis in Time, Nov. 6, 2000)

As the grandson of the politician, T.P. Gore Vidal has been active in liberal politics. In 1960 he ran unsuccessfully for the US Congress as a Democratic-Liberal candidate in New York. Between 1970 and 1972 he was co-chairman of the left-leaning People's Party. In 1982 Vidal launched campaign in California for the US senate. He came second out of a field of nine, polling half a million votes.

"Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies."
In the 1960s and 1970s Vidal lived in Italy and appeared as himself in Fellini's Roma (1972). Vidal's house in Ravello, La Rondinaia, is perched 60 m above the Amalfi coast. During the Reagan years, Vidal published a collection of essays, ARMAGEDDON (1987), in which he explored his love-hate relationship with contemporary America. In 1994 Vidal co-starred with Tim Robbins in the film Bob Roberts. His collected essays, UNITED STATES (1993), won a National Book Award. It is a valuable introduction for those interested in American politics and literature. In PALIMPSEST (1995) Vidal wrote of his early life and friends, among them President Kennedy's family.

"Yet the myth that JFK was a philosopher-king will continue as long as the Kennedys remain in politics. And much of the power they exert over the national imagination is a direct result of the ghastliness of what happened at Dallas. But the though the world's grief and shock were genuine, they were not entirely for JFK himself. The death of a young leader necessarily strikes an atavistic chord. For thousands of years the man-god was sacrificed to ensure with blood the harvest, and there is always an element of ecstasy as well as awe in our collective guilt." (Vidal in 'The Holy Family', from Collected Essays, 1974)
As an essayist Vidal has dealt with a wide range of subjects from literary to issues of national interest, and people he has known. Vidal's family have provided him with a wealth of material, starting from his maternal grandfather, former senator Thomas Pryor Gore and his relation to Jackie Kennedy through one of his mother's marriages. Vidal has also met and worked with prominent people, using freely these connections in his essays. Readers learn the habits of such persons as John F. Kennedy - 'not much interested in giving pleasure to his partner - Henry James, Tennessee Williams, Anaïs Nin, and many others. He once Ronald Reagan as "a triumph of the embalmer's art." Often Vidal has been pointedly controversial, as when he supported legalization of illegal drugs - it would remove the Mafia from the drug market. "It is possible to stop most drug addiction in the United States within a very short time. Simply make all drugs available and sell them at cost. Label each drug with a precise description of what effect—good or bad—the drug will have on the taker." (The New York Times, 1970; from The Last Empire, 2001) In Prague Vidal attacked in the spring of 2001 his home country's bureaucracy, health care, and educational system and so fiercely that Václav Klaus, Chairman of the Czech Parliament, considered it improper. In The Nation Vidal suggested that the white race of Europe, Russia, Canada, and the United States should form a defensive alliance against "more than one billion grimly efficient Asiatics" (see The Last Empire, 2001).

For further reading: Gore Vidal by Fred Kaplan (2000); Gore Vidal: A Critical Companion by Susan Baker (1997); Gore Vidal by Robert F. Kiernan (1982); Gore Vidal, or, A Vision from a Particular Position by Stephen Macaulay (1982); Views from a Window by R.J. Stanton (1980); The Apostate Angel by Bernard F. Dick (1974); Gore Vidal by R.L. White (1968) - Suomeksi julkaistu myös kolme novellia kokoelmassa Naiset kirjastossa ja muita kertomuksia (1986). - Trivia: Vidal's attack on sexual norms have brought him into conflict with such macho writers as Norman Mailer. - According to some sources (Ruumiinkulttuuri 2/1993: Pentti Kirstilä...) Vidal has always wanted to be the President of the United States. - James A. Michener on Vidal: "Gore Vidal, who wrote Williwaw at only nineteen, was another whose early book could well have been his last, but instead he wrote a series of books that varied in subject matter from the critical days of early Christianity to the dramatic eras of American history to outrageous sexual games. I envy him two novels on whose subjects I also did a great deal of work: Julian, which deals with the apostate who tried to turn back Christianity in ancient Antiochea, and 1876, which covers the amazing incident in American history that year when the Republican Rutherford B. Hayes stole the presidential election from the Democrat Samuel J.Tilden. Vidal knows how to make the most of his material, whatever the source, and I would have been proud to have written either these books I've cited." (from The World is My Home, 1992) - Gore Vidal's film scripts & detective novels: Tennessee Willams: Suddenly Last Summer (1958) - Äkkiä viime kesänä - film 1959, dir. by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, script Gore Vidal - Is Paris Burning? - film 1965, dir. by René Clément, written by Francis Ford Coppola and Gore Vidal, based on international bestseller Paris, brûle-t-il? by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre - In the 1950s Vidal published three detective novels under the name of Edgar Box, which didn't gain any kind of success, from critics or readers. - Death in the Fifth Position (1952); Death Before Bedtime ( 1953); Death Likes It Hot (1954)

Selected bibliography:

Williwaw, 1946
In a Yellow Wood, 1947
City and the Pillar, 1948
The Season of Comfort, 1949
Dark Green, Bright Red, 1950
A Search for the King, 1950
The Judgement of Paris, 1953
Messiah, 1955
Visit to a Small Planet, 1955
The Catered Affair, 1956 (film script)
The Left-Handed Gun (teleplay basis only)
I Accuse!, 1958 (film script) - based on Dreyfus affair, SEE: Émile Zola
A Thirsty Evil, 1958
The Scapegoat, 1959 (film script - based on novel by Daphne du Maurier)
Suddenly Last Summer, 1959 (film script)
The Best Man,1960 (play)
Rocking the Boat, 1962
On the March to the Sea, 1962 (play)
Romulus, 1963 (play)
Rocking the Boat, 1963
Julian, 1964
Is Paris Burning? 1966 (film script)
Washington D.C., 1967
Sex, Death, and Money, 1968
Myra Breckinridge, 1968 - suom. Myra
Reflections upon a Sinking Ship, 1969
The Last of the Mobile Hotshots, 1969 (also: Blood Kin, film script, dir. by Sidney Lumet, based on Tennessee Williams´s play)
Myra Breckinridge, 1970 (novel basis only)
Two Sisters, 1970
Homage to Daniel Shays, 1972
An Evening with Richard Nixon, 1972
Burr, 1974
Collected Essays, 1974
Great American Families, 1975 (with others)
Matters of Fact and Fiction, 1977
Caligula, 1977 (film script)
Kalki, 1978
Sex is Politcs and Vice Versa, 1979
Creation, 1980
The Second American Revolution, 1982
Duluth, 1983
Pink Triangle and Yellow Star, 1982
Lincoln, 1984
Empire, 1987
At Home, 1988
Armageddon? 1987
Hollywood, 1989
A View from the Diners Club, 1991
Screening History, 1992
Live from Golgatha, 1992
Screening History, 1993
United States: Essays 1952-1992, 1993
Palimpsest, 1995
The Smithsonian Institution, 1998
Gore Vidal Sexually Speaking, 1999 (ed. by Donald Weise)
The Essential Gore Vidal, 1999 (ed. by Fred Kaplan)
The Golden Age, 2000
The Last Empire, 2001
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Old 07-09-2002, 06:31 PM   #5
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Yeah, Gore Vidal has SUCH a great reputation among conservatives...

Let's see what writers of National Review Online (the website for the foremost conservative magazine in the U.S.) think of the guy.

Larry Kudlow, Editor of NRO Financial, refers to his typical work as "left-wing political gibberish." NROnline Editor Jonah Goldberg asserts that Vidal "still believes Antonin Scalia is operating on direct orders from John Paul II" and calls him a "gay rape literary voluptuary." And NR Senior Editor Richard Brookhiser calls him a "vain old chatterbox."

Not exactly universal praise for the guy.

And why not?

Well, over 30 years ago, he called William F. Buckley a "crypto-Nazi" on television, and more recently, Timothy McVeigh chose Vidal to witness his execution.
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Old 07-09-2002, 06:34 PM   #6
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I think you're the first person I've heard call Gore Vidal a "Wacko". Do you know who this man is? Are you familiar with his writings? I think you'll want to rethink you're opinion when you investigate his biography.
Pardon me, perhaps senile would have been a better term.
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Old 07-09-2002, 06:50 PM   #7
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LOL....

Senile....well, he is getting pretty old. Nevertheless, Vidal is wiser and more astute than ever.

Bubba:------> The biography I posted in the most bland, unbiased one I could find. If you want to raid the National Review library looking for criticism I'm sure you'll find plenty. But remember that your source will bash anyone that claims to be a registered Democrat. I don't think that's a fitting definition of Vidal's reputation. I think you know this as well.
We must remember that Vidal is just like all other political commentators. He will occassionally make snide remarks about everyone if you listen long enough. I doubt Justic Scalia is taking orders from the Pope, but I do know he's a devout Catholic and goes to church every Sunday. If the Pope told Scalia to do something, do you think he'd question him? Maybe, but I doubt he would if he were pressured.
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Old 07-09-2002, 06:53 PM   #8
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I was just attempting to establish that Gore Vidal is not universally loved; I personally don't know whether I'd put him in the same smelly, newspaper-lined box as Michael Moore, but it does seem that reasonably mainstream conservatives don't have a great deal of respect for the guy.
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Old 07-09-2002, 07:13 PM   #9
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Bubba: Understood.
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Old 07-09-2002, 07:21 PM   #10
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Great article, Dano--thank you. I'm not the biggest Gore Vidal fan but I do think he knows what he's talking about. He doesn't have friends in mainstream conservative or mainstream liberal circles....because he isn't trying to protect anything or anyone. And when you cling to either a liberal or a conservative viewpoint, you're never going to get at the truth. An old mystic saying, 'the truth is what the opposites have in common' is worth contemplating.

You might like John Pilger's "New Rulers of the World" (http://pilger.carlton.com/)--his investigative reports on the U.S.'s role in East Timor will make your skin crawl (just one example). And if you aren't already listening to Amy Goodman on "Democracy Now!" on Pacifica Radio (www.pacifica.org) I highly recommend her. Independent media is the only place we're going to get anywhere near the truth of anything. Amy Goodman is a national treasure. Again, forget about "liberal" vs "conservative"-- I urge everyone to just give her a listen sometime.
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Old 07-09-2002, 07:24 PM   #11
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Security measures taken after 9/11 are "draconian, really totalitarian laws"?

So the government has tightened border controls and detained a number of US denizens who are suspected to know something (maybe it will someday be revealed that they were completely innocent, but maybe they'll also be convicted of abetting the attacks). I'd love to hear which civil liberties Mr. Vidal has had taken away from him though.
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Old 07-09-2002, 07:28 PM   #12
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And yet Americans seem quite susceptible to a sort of jingoistic "enemy-of-the-month club" coming out of Washington. You say millions of Americans hate the federal government. But something like 75 percent of Americans say they support George W. Bush, especially on the issue of the war.

- I hope you don't believe those figures.



I'd love to hear how many people here have participated in one of Bush's popularity ratings polls. Anyone? Anyone know anyone who's been polled?
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Old 07-09-2002, 07:58 PM   #13
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I've never been polled in my entire life. Never. Not once. Nor have I known anybody who's ever been polled about their political stances. Isn't that weird that I wouldn't know one person? Hmmmm....
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Old 07-09-2002, 08:36 PM   #14
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I remember Bono making a comment about Gore Vidal I think at Bos #3.
I thought in my drunken haze who is this Gore Vidal? I recalled a McViegh conection at that time and Hillary C liking him.

Altho I think he is wrong in a lot of those comments of the interview...he is a learned man I will not discount everything he says.:idea:


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Old 07-09-2002, 09:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Danospano
I've never been polled in my entire life. Never. Not once. Nor have I known anybody who's ever been polled about their political stances. Isn't that weird that I wouldn't know one person? Hmmmm....
There are 200,000,000 Americans who are eligible (not necessarily registered) to vote in this country. What's your point?

I've never participated in one of these polls, but if I were polled right now, I'd register as a positive vote for President Bush (although this might change if more details about Bush's business transactions are revealed).

These polls are generally run by news organizations or Gallup and have in the past turned up popularity ratings less than 50%. Why would you suspect them of selective polling? Funny how Gore Vidal and the yes-man who's interviewing him both claim that these polls are rigged but don't bother to corroborate that claim with any evidence at all, as if it's a perfectly obvious statement.

As for whether sampling 1,000 to 20,000 people out of 250,000,000 is really meaningful, I'll leave that to the statisticians (or maybe I'll work it out myself once I get back to the math department and can use Matlab).
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