Gore Vidal on the ‘National Security State’ of America

By: Sunday August 5, 2012 11:50 am

Gore Vidal gives a brilliant description of the cultural post-World War II climate that created the conditions where the powerful could pass the National Security Act. He says, “A novelty, television, had begun to appear in household after household, its cold, gray, distorting eye relentlessly projecting a fun house view of the world.” This is all a setup for why the powerful in the country felt they needed to launch a Cold War.

 

Best Obit Correction Ever: NYT on Gore Vidal

By: Thursday August 2, 2012 4:24 pm

I suppose it’s entirely possible that Gore Vidal’s spirit is somewhere laughing at Our Nation’s Premier Newspaper today, but barring that eventuality, I think we should all have a good chuckle on his behalf.

Chick-fil-hAte Hollywood Protest

By: Wednesday August 1, 2012 7:20 pm

There was a huge colon-clogging, gizzard glutting eat-in at Chick-fil-A on Sunset and Highland Wednesday for the Mike Huckabee-called, frothy Rick Santorum-embraced, Sarah Palin-endorsed, Rush Limbuagh-hyped “National Chick-fil-A Chick-fil-hAte Appreciation Day.” Two lines of cars snaked into the drive through ordering stations, backing up traffic onto Sunset Boulevard, and the parking lot was full. I wish I had been able to take a snapshot of the woman in a nose job bandage eating a frozen dessert cone as she drove out. Very L.A.

Gore Vidal, a Fierce Critic of US Empire, Dies

By: Wednesday August 1, 2012 6:40 pm

My first exposure to Gore Vidal came when I read the collection of essays he published in 2002 called Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace. He understood immediately after the September 11th attacks that the attacks would be used by the powerful to take away civil liberties and the country would turn into a “seedy imperial state.” A shortened version of a remarkable essay, which he wrote in the aftermath, was published by The Guardian. It boldly considered how Osama bin Laden had presented himself as a “liberator” to the Muslim world and how post-9/11 the powers that be were further transforming the US into a police state.

RIP: Gore Vidal

By: Wednesday August 1, 2012 7:50 am

Gore Vidal, author, intellect, anti-war activist, openly gay literary icon of leonine presence, has died in Los Angeles. He was 86.

RIP, Gore Vidal

By: Wednesday August 1, 2012 1:30 am

There are three definite things you could say about Gore Vidal. First, he was a tremendous writer; second, he was brilliant; third, and most importantly perhaps, he was interesting.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes James Wolcott, Lucking Out: My Life Getting Down and Semi-Dirty in Seventies New York

By: Sunday December 4, 2011 1:59 pm

Fondly nostalgic without ever descending into weepy misty water-colored memories, Lucking Out is populated with a who’s who of the 70′s culture explosion when a new breed of critics reinvented the rules, rock and roll collapsed inward upon itself and reemerged angry and raw, and porn stuck its head out from behind the peepshow curtains and found out that the time was right to come out and play with the non-raincoat crowd.

Beginning with the literary force of nature that was Norman Mailer whose letter of recommendation put Wolcott on the road to what should have been perdition, we also encounter Mailer’s bête noire Gore Vidal, Alfred Kazin, Groucho Marx (describing Marilyn Monroe as having “square tits”), Clay Felker, Robert Christgau ( the “self-proclaimed, scepter-wielding Dean of American Rock Critics” working the kitchen like June Cleaver while wearing only a pair of red sheer bikini underwear), Ellen Willis, Paulene Kael (whose presence permeates almost every page and to whom an entire section is devoted), Lucian Truscott IV, Joan Didion (wickedly eviscerated and hung out to dry by Kael), William and Wallace Shawn, Al Goldstein, Ed Asner, James Toback, Harold Brodkey, Andrew Sarris (whose entourage played the Sharks to Kael’s Paulette-Jets in a critics dance of death), David Lynch, Suzanne Farrell, Alene Croce, George Balanchine, Gelsey (“A name that falls in the mind’s ear like a sprig of mint”) Kirkland, Ugly George (a paleolithic Joe Francis armed with a shoulder-mounted camera and a perpetual hard-on), Tom Verlaine, John Cale, David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, The Ramones, Lester Bangs, and of course, Patti Smith.

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