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Gore Vidal Takes on The World – Again

Gore Old

God, I can’t help but love the old bastard.  Another tour-de-force from Gore Vidal (interviewed by Tim Teeman) appeared in The London Times last week, in which, as usual, he said so many things, so very loudly that so many people know to be true but daren’t begin to mumble.

This frail, crippled, diabetic, alcoholic, eighty-three-year-old man repeatedly and energetically Gores Obama, for his ‘dreadful’ performance as President, decries how he has ‘fucked up’ healthcare, and most particularly how he has allowed himself to be railroaded by the military into continuing the American Imperialist project, something Vidal has heroically dedicated his life to attacking. He also expresses his deep regret over dumping feisty Hillary, his first choice, for this smooth-talking ingenue during the Democratic Primaries:

“Hillary knows more about the world and what to do with the generals. History has proven when the girls get involved, they’re good at it. Elizabeth I knew Raleigh would be a good man to give a ship to.”

Vidal suggests that he was beguiled – as many clearly were in the Democratic Party – by the historic if not actually romantic appeal of a black man as President of the United States.  Particularly one that was much more intelligent than his white predecessor; but seems to have been disappointed even in that department.

Vidal originally became pro-Obama because he grew up in “a black city” (meaning Washington), as well as being impressed by Obama’s intelligence. “But he believes the generals. Even Bush knew the way to win a general was to give him another star”.

He also discusses, or rather, disses, gay marriage – a subject I wasn’t alas able to cover when I interviewed him earlier this year for Arena Hommes Plus. When Teeman asks, ‘Has love been important to him?’ he responds blisteringly:

“Don’t make the error that schoolteacher idiots make by thinking that gay men’s relationships are like heterosexual ones. They’re not.”

This one, simple, obviously true statement is of course complete heresy for modern American gays – who aren’t listening anyway since most of them probably don’t even know who Gore Vidal is.  Which is in itself damning enough.

Vidal puts on a scornful, campy voice. “People ask {of he and Austen, his life-long companion who died last year}, ‘How did you live together so long?’ The only rule was no sex. They can’t believe that….

No, because if you wish to pretend that two men living together is just like a man and woman living together you have to pretend to the same lies and illusions heterosexuals do.

He is single now. “I’m not into partnerships,” he says dismissively. I don’t even know what it means.” He “couldn’t care less” about gay marriage. “Does anyone care what Americans think? They’re the worst-educated people in the First World. They don’t have any thoughts, they have emotional responses, which good advertisers know how to provoke.” You could have been the first gay president, I say. “No, I would have married and had nine children,” he replies quickly and seriously. “I don’t believe in these exclusive terms.”

They certainly don’t make ’em like that any more.

11 thoughts on “Gore Vidal Takes on The World – Again”

  1. The dilemma seems to be that the U.S. has been so far gone so far down the track of world global control /imperialism that only a miracle will pull it back from the abyss. The Right wing Neocon powers in the U.S. are so frighteningly overblown that the most Obama can do is to make a courageous & frustrated stand against them, so that Americans know what is happening. He came in looking like that person who could at least take a stand against the power mongers and is sitting back like a retiree.

    Vidal as an historical chronicler kept careful track of the number of unprovoked conflicts the U.S has engaged in since WW2 , i. e. major onslaughts: 80, minor invasions over 200.The U. S has a military presence in 150 countries at the cost of 1/2 our annual taxes.
    The U.S. military buildup is something which even the most liberal Senators has an investment in: the ultimate goal, relative to the 1992,” Wolfowitz Doctrine”, is (no exaggeration) to dominate the world, by PREEMPTIVE action ; get them before they get us. Iraq is an example . The only hope for Obama was to stand up to the military and the correlative goal of Corporate globalization, to reduce their outrageous size and influence and start closing them down, especially in Iraq and Afganistan which he has failed in every way to do. His election was a mandate to do so.
    You would have the most liberal legislators like Nancy Pelosi shredding their underwear if they lost all of the military bases and armament manufacture in their states.

    Despite the explicit warning of almost every major political figure up until Eisenhower against the dangers of a “standing army, “they have one; well installed. Worse yet, the whole establishment of private War contractors: mercenaries, can render the U.S. populous de facto ineffectual. We already are servants to the the corporate/military elite. The media is; the deterioration of education is no accident. An educated populace isn’t malleable; but is required in a democracy. As Vidal rightly claims Americans are the absolutely worst educated in the developed world.
    Obama would undoubtedly put his life at risk and certainly his presidency if he stood up the the “military -industrial complex”. At least, I think Vidal and some of us believed that he would have the balls to do something, while it can be done. Granted he had a lot of harm to undo but he needed to start somehow at least. It seems as if he’s been way laid between the Church and the golf course somewhere, like a pretty place holder. Maybe he needs a sex change, or some hormones or a new set of gonads.

  2. For some reason I’m struck by a resonance, if not frank parallels, between Obama and one of Vidal’s favorite over-educated fools, the Emperor Julian. His assassins will be Christians.

    For what it’s worth, to say Obama had his work cut out for him on health-care and the military is putting it mildly: he may be too little too late. Vidal may be a sibyl: the age of Barracks Emperors may soon be upon us.

  3. The history of the U.S in South/Latin America is even more disturbing than this gay fiasco in the U.S because so many people died and suffered in the name of American Corporatism. These gays havn’t been able to kill us as nasty as they become in their comdemnations of free thought..

    Milton Friedman, the mind behind the economics that drove U.S policy also got a Nobel Prize! The fact that the enemies or truth are hailed and the real heros disregarded and villified becomes a form of “groupthink” (MS). Lets hope that people like Vidal , Chomsky and Zinn eventually find a proper place in history.

    Thanks for the comparison. I guess we can never allow dispair to creep in. Your father and countrymen had to have amazing courage.

  4. Yes Mark – “First they ignore you, then they mock you, then they fight you, then you win.” M. Gandhi

    People who say ugly truths right now are experiencing the first three all at once…. and waiting patiently for the “win” bit.

    But, eventually, things do correct themselves.

    For example, I’m from Uruguay – we were forced into exile in 1973 (I was just a baby) because dad was a member of Los Tupamaros, who were rounded up, tortured, murdered and disappeared (dads names was on a hitlist) by a US backed dictatorship. Fast forward 3 decades and those that were hunted down due to US Imperialism are now in power and very popular (Frente Amplio Party). The same thing has happened right throughout Latin America with strong leftist Countries taking back control of their natural resources.

    But in the US A warmonger like Obama gets a peace prize, while people like Chomsky and Zinn are ignored and ridiculed.

    I’ll end on an even more positive note – To quote the title of a song by the recently passed Mercedes Sosa “Everything Changes”

    Even homos.

  5. p.s. I think , Marcelo, that we’ve got some hybred 15 year old 80’s LA Valley Girls and boring right wing conservative wankers; more like thelater than the former.
    This instance points to a corruption in American “democracy” which may well be the countries’ undoing. Along with having the worst educational system in the developed world, as Vidal remarked, there is no freedrom of press regarding much of anything. Note that the interview was in the London Times, something that even a normative paper like the New York Times would not carry, despite Vidals fame and respect. Only Mark Simpson is giving this issue a fair Internet hearing. And the Net is supposed to be the voice of freedom: not in America, sadly.

  6. At the time Mark wrote this article I was deeply disturbed. It provided a much needed salve for the shock anger I’ve nursed for the obscenity directed at Mr. Vidal by the American blog, “Queerty.” I should apologise to other bloggers who, despite their bizarre status quo politics, refrained from embarrassing themselves strangely-in a free country by failing to say anything at all-pretending that there is no legitimate gay controversy. That is curious, since a ” free press “ would have engaged a dissident voice of such notoriety. It is freedom of the press in America. When Mark or Core Vidal tell the truth it is sometimes heard and they are slashed.

    The dimwits at Queerty, who couldn’t even keep their malicious maw shut , flayed Vidal with all the self-righteous indignity at their summoning. They have made themselves the poster children of gay fascist intolerance towards all things intelligent. I can attest that they censor anyone who promotes notions which differ from their regular flock of very right wing assimilationists, who oppose anything or any concern but the piety of monogamous gay marriage, and all forms of American mediocrity. They don’t condone (even safe) sex out side of relationships or even the validity of creatively constructed relationships (,e.g., three men), ignorantly pushing the idea that there is some Constitutional precedence to their “rights’. Vidal, one of the most noted writers of American History knows that there is none. While he has has the most apt current attitude toward Obama, Queerty has relentlessly condemned the President for not putting the gay agenda (as they see it) before Public Health Care, the Recession or any other truly immanent issue to the country.
    I grew up with the example of Gore Vidal as one of the few intelligent living gays. He is a hero to any gay man with self respect, particularly if you’re American. I also grew up believing that we had fredom of the press. Shame on Queerty, what an embarrassment! Thanks Mark, it’s ironic that a Brit would have to dig Americans out of their shit. King George might just be happy.

  7. I love Gore Vidal… there are just so few intelligent non straight men saying this kind of stuff.

    Frankly, there are just so few intelligent non straight men, period.

    The Gay community has turned so many men into 15 year old 80’s LA Valley Girls. Or they go the opposite way and become boring right wing conservative wankers.

    Keep the fires burning Mark – love ya.

  8. He was one of the first people to show Americans that people could be gay and intelligent at the same time, one of the only ones beside Burroughs and a few others.
    Since this last interview all of the marriage fiends are pissing all over themselves, claiming that he’s gotten senile and making general asses out of themselves; undoing all of the positive work that he has done to promote a worthy image for gay people.

    Of course the Gay political groups are only concerned about marriage which is an idiots cause.. That at a time when the the U.S is literally on the edge of pursuing the greatest disasters in history, Vidal is so sadly right about Obama, who is caving in to the most insidious aspects of U.S Imperialism & Corporatism. Just when we placed hope in Obama to reverse the right wing efforts to destroy hopes of a healthcare system and deflate our illegally huge bloated military, he’s gotten weak knees.

    I was truly ashamed to be an American (more than ordinary, which isn’t saying much) when I saw the inane coverage on some blogs. It’s disturbing to see the very last people in this country with any wits at all on their last legs.

    Thanks ,Mark , for a great write up.! They just don’t make them like Vidal in America.

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