imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Remembering Gore Vidal

by Stephen Lendman Friday, Aug. 03, 2012 at 3:55 AM

Gore Vidal

Remembering Gore Vidal

by Stephen Lendman

Many labels characterize him: distinguished author, essayist, playwright, historian, acerbic sociopolitical/cultural critic, freethinker, intellectual, and humanist.

In 2009, the American Humanist Association (AHA) named him honorary president.

On July 31, Gore Vidal died from complications of pneumonia at his Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles home.

He was 86. He'll be missed. Los Angeles Times writer Elaine Woo called him a "gadfly on the national conscience" and "literary juggernaut." He was that and much more.

New York Times writer Charles McGrath said he was "an Augustan figure who believed himself to be the last of a breed, and he was probably right. Few American writers have been more versatile or gotten more mileage from their talent."

Random House editor Jason Epstein called him "an American version of Montaigne."

As an essayist, New York Time Book Review writer RWB Lewis said he was "so good that we cannot do without him. He (was) a treasure of state."

London Guardian writer Richard Lea called him "one of the towering figures of American cultural and political life for more than six decades."

AHA said he was "a masterful humanist voice." He "added an enthusiastic, progressive and dynamic voice" to AHA's humanist movement.

AHA president David Niose said:

"The progressive and humanist values Gore Vidal repeatedly espoused moved the culture in a positive direction."

"He spent his life pointing out the places in society that needed the most attention without worrying who might be embarrassed or upset by his opinions."

Humanist magazine editor Jennifer Bardi added:

"He’s been called an iconoclast, a provocateur, and a misanthrope. And of course Gore occasionally said things that gave humanists pause. But he was forever dedicated to the cause of enlightenment and exposed injustice and hypocrisy at every turn."

On August 1, Bardi headlined "Goodbye, Mr. Honorary President," saying:

"It’s too hard to list all the appropriate adjectives and accolades that could proceed Gore Vidal’s name. Gore Vidal died tonight and the enlightened world mourns. But what a life he lived!"

He spent decades criticizing the religious right, US imperialism, perpetual wars, political extremism in the name of national security, America's military/industrial complex, and other political, social and economic injustices.

He succeeded Kurt Vonnegut as honorary AHA president. He accepted at the time, saying he would be "most honored to succeed my old friend as honorary president of the Association."

"Although he himself is hardly easy to replace, I will do my best to fill the great gap."

His official web site listed his accomplishments. They include 24 novels, five plays, many screenplays, over 200 essays, his memoir Palimpsest, his National Book Award winning "United States (Essays 1952 - 92)," and numerous other political books. They include:

• "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated"

• "Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta"

• "Imperial America"

• "The Decline and Fall of the American Empire"

• "Reflections Upon a Sinking Ship"

• "Rocking the Boat"

• "The Last Empire: Essays 1992 - 2000"

In 2003, PBS featured Vidal in its American Masters series. His career spanned six decades, it said. He reflected "uncanny unity, a tone of easy familiarity with the world of politics and letters, an urbane wit, and supreme self-confidence as a writer" and sociopolitical critic.

Born in 1925, his web site called his maternal roots "thoroughly political." As a boy, he lived with his grandfather, Senator TP Gore. His father, Eugene Vidal, served as FDR's Bureau of Air Commerce director.

His mother, Nina Gore Vidal, divorced when Vidal was 10. She married Hugh Auchincloss. He divorced her and married Jackie Kennedy's mother. It established a connection between Vidal and the Kennedy clan. It lasted through JFK's presidency.

In 1943, he enlisted in the Army at age 17. At age 19, he became a warrant officer JG and first mate of the army ship FS 35. On night watch in port, he wrote his first novel, Williwaw.

Colombian novelist/journalist/Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez praised Vidal's "magnificent series of historical novels or novelized histories." They cover American life from the 18th to the 21st century.

New York Times literary critic Harold Bloom called him "a masterly American historical novelist, now wholly matured, who has found his truest subject, which is our national political history during precisely those years when our political and military histories were as one, one thing and one thing only: the unwavering will of Abraham Lincoln to keep the states united."

He added he "demonstrates that his narrative achievement is vastly underestimated by American academic criticism, an injustice has has repaid amply in his essayist attacks upon the academy...."

Vidal's interest in politics wasn't limited to novels, essays, other writing, and commentaries. In 1960, he ran for Congress as a liberal Democrat in New York's Republican 29th district.

Publicly he supported recognizing Red China, cutting the Pentagon's budget, and spending more on education. He lost but won more votes in his district than JFK. He headed the 1960 Democrat ticket.

In 1982, he placed second in California's Democrat senatorial primary. He lost to current governor Jerry Brown.

Reflecting on Watergate, he called America "a nation of ongoing hustlers from the prisons and disaster areas of old Europe."

"I do not think that the America System in its present state of decadence is worth preserving."

"The initial success of the United States was largely accidental. A rich empty continent was....exploited by rapacious Europeans who made slaves of Africans and corpses of Indians in the process."

In his 1973 New Statesman essay titled "Political Melodramas," he said:

"In 1959 when I wrote ("The Best Man")....the character of the wicked candidate in the play on Richard Nixon, I thought it would be amusing if liberal politicians were to smear unjustly that uxorious man as a homosexual."

He was condemned for suggesting a "man could rise to any height in American politics if" so labeled. Ronald Reagan was one of the actors he auditioned for the lead role.

At the time, his film career was over. Vidal rejected him. He thought he couldn't play a credible president. He was right. In office, he faked it for eight years.

Obama's worse but hides it better.

At age 81, he visited Cuba. He headed a delegation of US intellectuals, historians and politicians. He suggested Bush could end up like Nixon. "We hope he will end up like Nixon, resigning the presidency," he said.

Comparing the two men, he added:

"When a building begins to fall to pieces, it is very difficult to stop its collapse."

"Everyone who listens to (Bush) knows he is a liar. It is frightening to have to constantly listen to a man repeating and repeating I am a" wartime president.

"Of all the human vices, the worst is to lie."

"When the people do not understand what the emperor is saying, what the government is saying, there is no communication" or trust.

He accused Bush of stealing the 2000 election and "high crimes against the Constitution of the United States."

"It gives me pleasure to be in a place full of hope," he told a University of Havana audience. In America, "people do not have the basic understanding of what they have lost. There has been a coup and the republic has died."

In September 2009, he was asked how Obama was doing. He was unsparing, saying:

"Dreadfully. I was hopeful. He was the most intelligent person we’ve had in that position for a long time. But he’s inexperienced. He has a total inability to understand military matters."

"He’s acting as if Afghanistan is the magic talisman: Solve that and you solve terrorism....we’ve failed in every other aspect of our effort of conquering the Middle East or whatever you want to call it."

On healthcare reform, he added:

"He f..ked it up. I don’t know how because the country wanted it. We’ll never see it happen."

On US politics, he said:

"There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party....and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat."

"Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt - until recently....and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand."

"But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties."

He called democracy a system "where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates" no different from each other.

"By the time a man gets to be presidential material, he's been bought ten times over."

On America's Middle East wars, he said "I don't see us winning. We have made enemies of one billion Muslims."

He called himself "a born-again atheist. "Once people get hung up on theology, they've lost sanity forever," he said. "More people have been killed in the name of Jesus Christ than any other name in the history of the world."

He called monotheism "the greatest disaster ever to befall the human race."

He said most people misunderstand the First Amendment's "free exercise of religion" clause. "Yes, everyone has a right to worship any god he chooses," but he does not have the right to impose his beliefs on others who do not happen to share" his views.

"This separation was absolute in our original republic." It's been misinterpreted and distorted. Extremists "got the phrase In God We Trust onto the currency, in direct violation of the First Amendment."

In his essay titled "Shredding the Bill of Rights," he wrote:

"It has always been a mark of American freedom that unlike countries under constant Napoleonic surveillance, we are not obliged to carry identification to show to curious officials and pushy police."

"But now, due to Terrorism, every one of us is stopped at airports and obliged to show an ID which must include a mug shot (something, as Allah knows, no terrorist would ever dare fake)."

He said what too few others dared. He followed in the tradition of Henry James, Oscar Wilde, and Mark Twain, among others. He was one of America's most astute chroniclers.

Friends said he combined an old-fashioned sense of honor and stubborn will to live as he pleased.

He said George Bush had advance knowledge of 9/11. Roosevelt knew about Japan's planned Pearl Harbor attack.

Both men took full advantage. Timothy McVeigh was no more killer than Dwight Eisenhower, and America one day will be subservient to China. Characteristically he framed it as "The Yellow Man's Burden."

He was mainly self-educated. Classrooms bored him. He skipped college. He acquired wisdom on his own. He admired Montaigne, Italo Calvino, Henry James and Edith Wharton.

He called his conservative rival, William Buckley, a "cryptofascist." He described The New York Times as the "Typhoid Mary of American journalism."

He labeled Ronald Reagan "The Acting President." He called his wife Nancy a social climber "born with a silver ladder in her hand."

He openly criticized Israel's treatment of Palestinians. He once called pro-Israeli ideologue/Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz and his journalist wife Midge Dector "Israeli Fifth Columnists."

At the end, he was wheelchair bound. His mind and wit stayed sharp. He called style "knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn."

In 2009, he said America is "rotting away at a funereal pace. We'll have a military dictatorship pretty soon, on the basis that nobody else can hold everything together."

Reflecting on his accomplishments, he said "I just played the game harder." He hoped to be remembered as "the person who wrote the best sentences of his time." He thought of himself as a modern-day Voltaire.

He's survived by his half-sister Nina Straight and half-brother Tommy Auchincloss. He'll be sorely missed.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"

Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Report this post as:

Local News

Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle O27 5:01AM

Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values O27 4:32AM

Contra Costa-Hawkins O25 3:48AM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Master list=====47 million american on foodstamp List State plus Federal N18 8:21PM

Cholesterol Medicine Causes Alzheimers N18 7:40PM

Lucifers Banker N18 7:38PM

Paraphysique du scientisme N18 9:19AM

USDA Withholds Names Of Turkey Companies Spreading Salmonella N17 7:51PM

Hebron, Ben-Gurion, and UNESCO N17 6:00PM

What Can Destroy Enclosure? N17 1:47PM

Please Help Mississippians Vote For Mike Espy On Nov 27th N17 7:42AM

The Incredible & Brilliant Work of Dr TOMO SHIBATA N17 5:19AM

October 2018 Honduras Coup update N16 9:22PM

Profit de guerre, guerre de profit N16 11:58AM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen Heads to Seattle N15 7:22PM

Paraphysique du prodrome oukase N15 12:39PM

President Trump: Hurricane Relief Should not Pay Puerto Rico Debt N14 8:54PM

94 Of Rick Scott's, Brian Kemp's, the Mississippi GOP's & Other Republican Campaign Crime N13 9:42PM

30 Of Brian Kemp's Felonious Racist Vote Suppression Crimes N13 8:42PM

Help translation of From Islam To Womanism book on IndieGoGo N13 12:04PM

COP 21, 25, 32, de l'écocide organisé N11 11:45PM

fbi & fmj are ' Lord of the Flies ' N11 8:26PM

Parangon d'une grande infestation N11 12:03AM

Video: Beautiful Country Burn Again, 39 min N10 10:19PM





Paraphysique de l'Etat d'urgence N08 4:24AM

Republican Vote Fraud Reached A New Level In Midterms N07 7:50PM

Lobotomisation populationnelle N07 7:28AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy