(from Arts & Opinion)
Are we really all doomed to become cynical old geezers like Gore Vidal? After reading his musings on the shortcomings of contemporary culture, I’m not sure if he’s the light piercing through the thick smog of media saturation or a burnt out bulb in the lighthouse.
His intellect is renowned, as his knowledge of history and culture. As effusive as reviews and profiles have been of his work, few articles seemed sympathetic to the man as a human being.
This interview, which folows the publishing of his latest memoir, Point to Point Navigation describes in detail his relationship with his partner, Howard Auster, who died in 2003. His first memoir, Palimpsest, 1995, covers first forty years, 1925 to 1965.
The interviewer is John Esther, a writer and critic living in Los Angeles.
“JOHN ESTHER: You’ve often contended that “homosexuality” is not a noun but instead a verb, an act -- so one can only be a homosexualist or same-sexualist.
GORE VIDAL: Only a country like this one could have thought up [the idea] that sexual tastes, whatever they may be, dictate identity. Only a bunch of morons would have come to that conclusion.
JOHN ESTHER: In what way can we apply this same principle to other behaviors such as religious beliefs, race, and gender?
GORE VIDAL: I always find that to use religion or race or sex as identification is folly. After all, once you isolate yourself in a category, Adolf Hitler will come along and say, “I don’t like this category. They’re not voting right so we better get rid of them.”
JOHN ESTHER: Is there anything positive you can say about the Bush administration?
GORE VIDAL: Yes, it’s all over.
JOHN ESTHER: What should we do about the inherent corruption in our system?
GORE VIDAL: There’s nothing to be done. It’s like asking somebody in Paraguay, “Why do you keep putting generals in office?” “Well, we put them in because they take the office.” “When are you going to stop the corruption?” “Well, when we stop having generals.” It’s circular.
Our politics became totally corrupt with the invention of television and the cost of TV advertising. And the only great art form we ever created was the TV commercial. So everything’s merchandising. Anything that comes out of the Neoconservatives is going to be more lies and more hyperventilating and more and more grotesque details, because that’s all they do is lie. I think that’s what the Bushites learned -- how to lie on a grand scale.
JOHN ESTHER: You write about power and privilege from what many would perceive as a powerful and privileged viewpoint or position in life.
GORE VIDAL: Well, you write what you know. As Iago says to Othello, who asks why, “You know what you know.” One of the great mysteries of Shakespeare, that line. “
“Does age bring wisdom?" a questioner asked Gore Vidal?
There was a short pause.
"No, it brings senility."
I think he just needs a hug or just a little “Stewie”.
Stewie loves Gilbert & Sullivan
Stewie is Gore Vidal!