Gore Vidal, Iconoclast, Writer, Actor, Playwright, Progressive, Dies
Gore Vidal, a celebrated, award-winningÂ writer, actor, progressive activist and acerbic socio-political commentator, style icon, and iconoclast, has died, in his Hollywood Hills home, at the age of 86. Vidal’s nephew, Burr Steers,Â announced he had passed around 6:45 PM Pacific Time, from complications of pneumonia, after being ill “quite a while.”
Eugene Luther Gore VidalÂ appeared in a dozen films and was the author of 26 essays and works of non-fiction, 25 novels, 14 screenplays, and eight plays. Vidal once calledÂ George W. Bush “the stupidest man in the United States.”
Vidal is believed to have had affairs with over 1000 men and women, andÂ met his long-term partner, Howard Austen, in 1950.
“The acerbic Vidal was known for such best-selling novels as Burr and Myra Breckenridge, the play The Best Man, and for essays on everything from politics and literature to sex and religion,” the London Evening Standard wrote:
In the 1960s and 70s he was a fixture on talk shows and other television programmes and feuded openly with Norman Mailer, William Buckley and others.
He also worked on screenplays and appeared in several films, including Bob Roberts and With Honors.
Some of Vidal’s most-celebrated screenplays includeÂ Ben HurÂ (1959),Â Suddenly, Last SummerÂ (1959), and Â CaligulaÂ (1979).Â
Vidal, often quoted, is believed to have said:
â€œWhenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies.â€
â€œI was halfway through Myra Breckinridge before I realized she was a man.â€
â€œIn America, the race goes to the loud, the solemn, the hustler. If you think youâ€™re a great writer, you must say that you are.â€
“The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country â€” and we haven’t seen them since.”
â€œBy the time a man gets to be presidential material, heâ€™s been bought ten times over.â€
â€œThe last time I sat on this stage, I was afflicted by a fly. An awful fly that kept buzzing around my head as I spoke [â€¦] After a while, I realized the fly was the late Truman Capote.â€
â€œFifty percent of people wonâ€™t vote, and fifty percent donâ€™t read newspapers. I hope itâ€™s the same fifty percent.â€
â€œWe have no war. We have acts of aggression by the president toward other countries. This is all illegal and unconstitutional.â€
â€œI am at heart a propagandist, a tremendous hater, a tiresome nag, complacently positive that there is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.â€
â€œIt is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.â€
â€œEach writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps 20 players, and Tennessee Williams has about 5, and Samuel Beckett one â€” and maybe a clone of that one. I have 10 or so, and thatâ€™s a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them.â€
â€œI am an obsessive rewriter, doing one draft and then another and another, usually five. In a way, I have nothing to say, but a great deal to add.â€
“Threaded throughout his pieces are anecdotes about his famous friends and foes, who included Anais Nin, Tennessee Williams, Christopher Isherwood,Â Orson Welles, Truman Capote,Â Frank Sinatra,Â Jack Kerouac,Â Marlon Brando,Â Paul Newman,Â Joanne Woodward, Eleanor Roosevelt and a variety of Kennedys. He countedÂ Jacqueline Kennedy OnassisÂ andÂ Al GoreÂ among his relatives,” the L.A. Times reports:
â€œStyle,â€ Vidal once said, â€œis knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.â€ By that definition, he was an emperor of style, sophisticated and cantankerous in his prophesies of Americaâ€™s fate and refusal to let others define him.
Noting that Vidal “could always be counted on for a spur-of-the-moment aphorism, putdown or sharply worded critique of American foreign policy,” the New York Times called Vidal, “the elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization.”
“Mr. Vidal was, at the end of his life, 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,” the Times noted:
Perhaps more than any other American writer except Norman Mailer or Truman Capote, Mr. Vidal took great pleasure in being a public figure. He twice ran for office â€” in 1960, when he was the Democratic Congressional candidate for the 29th District in upstate New York, and in 1982, when he campaigned in California for a seat in the Senate â€” and though he lost both times, he often conducted himself as a sort of unelected shadow president. He once said, â€œThere is not one human problem that could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.â€
He was a more than occasional guest on TV talk shows, where his poise, wit, looks and charm made him such a regular that Johnny Carson offered him a spot as a guest host of â€œThe Tonight Show.â€
Television was a natural medium for Mr. Vidal, who in person was often as cool and detached as he was in his prose. â€œGore is a man without an unconscious,â€ his friend the Italian writer Italo Calvino once said. Mr. Vidal said of himself: â€œIâ€™m exactly as I appear. There is no warm, lovable person inside. Beneath my cold exterior, once you break the ice, you find cold water.â€
Mr. Vidal loved conspiracy theories of all sorts, especially the ones he imagined himself at the center of, and he was a famous feuder; he engaged in celebrated on-screen wrangles with Mailer, Capote and William F. Buckley Jr. Mr. Vidal did not lightly suffer fools â€” a category that for him comprised a vast swath of humanity, elected officials especially â€” and he was not a sentimentalist or a romantic. â€œLove is not my bag,â€ he said.
By the time he was 25, he had already had more than 1,000 sexual encounters with both men and women, he boasted in his memoir â€œPalimpsest.â€ Mr. Vidal tended toward what he called â€œsame-sex sex,â€ but frequently declared that human beings were inherently bisexual, and that labels like gay (a term he particularly disliked) or straight were arbitrary and unhelpful. For 53 years, he had a live-in companion, Howard Austen, a former advertising executive, but the secret of their relationship, he often said, was that they had never slept together.
Image, top, Gore Vidal, 1948
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Fail’: Critics Blast Youngkin for Claim Trump Is a Victim of ‘Politically Motivated Actions’ Just Like ‘Parents in Virginia’
Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, a possible 2024 presidential candidate, is under fire after remarks he made Friday morning defending Donald Trump after the ex-president was indicted on what has now been revealed to be 37 federal felony counts related to the Dept. of Justice’s criminal probe into his handling of hundreds of classified and top secret documents.
Youngkin Friday suggested that the prosecution of Donald Trump, which includes Espionage Act charges, conspiracy charges, and obstruction of justice charges among others, was just like the alleged prosecution of parents.
Gov. Youngkin, often wrongly portrayed in the media as a moderate Republican, may have been attempting to invoke the false yet viral far-right claim that Attorney General Merrick Garland was investigating and prosecuting parents for merely speaking at school board meetings. That claim came about after Garland issued a letter asking the Bureau to come up with strategies to address violence and violent threats directed at school board members. Some who have promoted that erroneous claim, including Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, have falsely claimed Garland called ordinary parents “terrorists.”
On Friday, Youngkin tweeted about the Trump indictment, saying, “These charges are unprecedented and it’s a sad day for our country, especially in light of what clearly appears to be a two-tiered justice system where some are selectively prosecuted, and others are not.”
“Parents in Virginia know firsthand what it’s like to be targeted by politically motivated actions,” he added.
“Regardless of your party, this undermines faith in our judicial system at exactly the time when we should be working to restore that trust,” Youngkin concluded, remarks that themselves could undermine faith in our judicial system.
Days before his election, Youngkin also promoted the false Garland claim, even after the Attorney General that same day explained to the Senate Judiciary Committee his letter directed the FBI to investigate not ordinary parents, but people who were organizing attacks on school board members.
Candidate Youngkin appeared on Fox News in October 0f 2021 (video below) and falsely told Tucker Carlson, “What happened today was, of course, Merrick Garland doubled down. He said, ‘No, I’m absolutely maintaining my position that the DOJ and the FBI should be investigating parents.’ Parents who are trying to stand up for their children when there’s been a sexual assault in a school bathroom. We have a board of education and in Loudoun County that tried to hide it from parents, hide it from hiding from the public, and they move this child into another school and then that child again committed another sexual assault.”
READ MORE: DOJ Unseals 37-Count Trump Criminal Indictment – Legal Expert Calls It ‘Egregious’ and ‘Devastating’ (Full Text)
Youngkin made education and “parents’ rights” a campaign issue when he ran in 2021. His opponent, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, during a debate said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” While experts claim it didn’t swing the election for Youngkin, it at least established him nationally as focused on education and “parental rights,” a mantle Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis quickly co-opted.
The Washington Post, alternatively, on Friday focused on Youngkin’s “two-tiered justice” remarks, reporting: “Youngkin’s suggestion that a rich White man — he didn’t actually name Trump — had been victimized by a ‘two-tiered justice system’ drew fierce pushback, with many critics noting the governor’s opposition to the notion that racial and ethnic minorities face systemic racism. The Republican won the governorship on a promise to purge ‘critical race theory’ from K-12 classrooms, though it was not part of any curriculum. Once in office, Youngkin launched a tip line for parents to report on teachers discussing ‘inherently divisive’ concepts in schools.”
Youngkin, who technically is a “populist conservative” but swings far-right on social issues, was quickly chastised for his tweet.
“You know what you are staying is wrong and incendiary. Shame on you,” declared former CIA officer John Sipher. “These charges stemmed from a grand [jury] of Florida citizens. Trump will have access to a Fair process. But instead you spread information to anger and confuse people. You are stoking misinformation and violence.”
READ MORE: SCOTUS ‘Surprise’ Voting Rights Decision Could – and Did – Have Big Implications for Democrats, Legal Experts Say
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes took a different approach, mocking the Virginia Republican.
“It’s the pivot to ‘Parents in Virginia…’ in the third sentence that elevates this to art,” he wrote.
“The moderate, genial suburban dad in a fleece vest suggests that the only way to restore confidence in the justice system is to place Trump above the law,” wrote The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, also mocking Youngkin.
“Youngkin is pro-Trump, as usual–even though Virginia voted heavily AGAINST Trump in both 2016 and 2020. When it comes to Donald Trump, Liz Cheney has more courage in her pinky than Youngkin does in his whole body,” observed Larry Sabato, the well-known professor of politics, political analyst, and founder and director of University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
The vice president of research for the liberal super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, Liz Charboneau, called Youngkin’s tweet an “especially stupid statement when a large portion of your state has a security clearance, handles classified documents, and has never been charged under the espionage act.”
Conservative Mona Charen, a syndicated columnist and Policy Editor at The Bulwark: “So here’s our answer as to whether Youngkin is a man of character. Fail.”
The Lincoln Project’s Michelle Kinney tweeted, “Youngkin twisting himself into pretzel to weave a vaguebook repudiation of Trump indictment and his weirdo anti vaxx anti trans ‘parents rights’ obsession into one tweet. It reads like Veep dialogue.”
Historian, professor, Holocaust expert Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn tweeted, “Hey dude, the Pentagon is literally in your state. Maybe stop in and have a chat…”
Watch the video above or at this link.
Watch Live: Special Counsel Jack Smith Holds News Conference After Trump Criminal Indictment Unsealed
Special Counsel Jack Smith will hold a news conference Friday at 3:00 PM ET, after the U.S. Dept. of Justice unsealed its 49-page 37-criminal count indictment against Donald Trump. The indictment also names a Trump aide.
Legal experts reviewing the indictment were stunned at not only the level of detail but the manner in which Trump treated classified documents, including allegedly storing them in boxes on the stage at Mar-a-Lago, in a bathroom, a shower, and a bedroom.
Former Dept. of Defense special Counsel Ryan Goodman, now an NYU professor of law, calls the indictment “devastating,” and concludes: “Extraordinary risks to U.S. national security. Foreign adversaries would pay tens of millions for that info.”
READ MORE: ‘Disgraced’ Trump-Appointed Florida Judge Initially Assigned to Oversee Ex-President’s Criminal Case: Report
Smith, who was appointed by Donald Trump as an acting U.S. Attorney, also prosecuted war crimes cases at The Hague. he also was the head of the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section.
Watch video of his full news conference below or at this link.
WATCH: Complete statement from Special Counsel Jack Smith: “Today an indictment was unsealed charging Donald J. Trump with felony violations of our national security laws as well as participating in a conspiracy to obstruct justice.” pic.twitter.com/llUlrvpVe4
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 9, 2023
This article has been updated to include full video of the completed news conference.
'EXTRAORDINARY RISKS TO U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY'
DOJ Unseals 37-Count Trump Criminal Indictment – Legal Expert Calls It ‘Egregious’ and ‘Devastating’ (Full Text)
The U.S. Dept. of Justice has unsealed its 37-criminal count, 49-page indictment in its case against Donald J. Trump, which includes the previously unknown and damning charge that the ex-president showed classified information to people who were not authorized to see them. One legal expert says America’s enemies would pay “tens of millions of dollars” for the classified documents.”
The indictment includes a Trump aide known in previous news reports as Walt Nauta.
“Dissemination is a much more serious crime,” former top DOJ official Andrew Weissmann said on MSNBC, referring to even allowing someone to see classified information.
READ MORE: ‘Disgraced’ Trump-Appointed Florida Judge Initially Assigned to Oversee Ex-President’s Criminal Case: Report
Two of the critical passages alleging dissemination:
“In July 2021, at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey (‘The Bedminster Club’), during an audio-recorded meeting with a writer, a publisher, and two members of his staff, none of whom possessed a security clearance, TRUMP showed and described a ‘plan of attack’ that TRUMP said was prepared for him by the Department of Defense and a senior military official. TRUMP told the individuals that the plan was ‘highly confidential’ and ‘secret.’ TRUMP also said, ‘as president I could have declassified it,’ and, ‘Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.'”
“In August or September 2021, at The Bedminster Club, TRUMP showed a representative of his political action committee who did not possess a security clearance a classified map related to a military operation and told the representative that he should not be showing it to the representative and that the representative should not get too close.”
Politico’s Sam Stein points to this photo in the indictment that allegedly shows dozens of boxes of documents “stacked on the ballroom stage at Mar-a-Lago.”
Trump, for a period of time, stacked boxes from his time at the White House on a ballroom stage at Mar-a-Lago pic.twitter.com/uEO9WMrH2j
— Sam Stein (@samstein) June 9, 2023
Another damning passage of the indictment states:
“The classified documents TRUMP stored in his boxes included information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries; United States nuclear programs; potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack. The unauthorized disclosure of these classified documents could put at risk the national security of the United States, foreign relations, the safety of the United States military, and human sources and the continued viability of sensitive intelligence collection methods.”
Former Dept. of Defense special Counsel Ryan Goodman, now an NYU professor of law, calls the indictment “devastating.”
“I have looked at all prior prosecutions under the Espionage Act and have never seen egregious facts like this,” hew writes. “Trump ‘stored his boxes containing classified documents .. in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office space, his bedroom, and a storage room.'”
Goodman concludes, “Extraordinary risks to U.S. national security. Foreign adversaries would pay tens of millions for that info.”
Special Counsel Jack Smith will speak to the media at 3 PM ET.
Read the full indictment below or at this link.
The United States of Americ… by ABC News Politics
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
- ANALYSIS1 day ago
SCOTUS ‘Surprise’ Voting Rights Decision Could – and Did – Have Big Implications for Democrats, Legal Experts Say
- News1 day ago
House Freedom Caucus Republican: Trump Is Spinning Out of Control
- News6 hours ago
Trump Lawyers in Classified Docs Case Quit Hours After Indictment: Report
- News2 days ago
Pence Presidential Launch Mocked for Suggesting Drag Queens Are Assaulting ‘American Values’ – With No Mention of Trump
- CRIME3 days ago
Double Bombshell: Mark Meadows and Trump’s Secret Service Agents Have Testified, NYT Reports
- News1 day ago
Watch: Stunned Bill Barr Speechless After Fox Host Asks Why DOJ Is Pursuing Trump ‘In the Middle’ of an Election
- 'DISTURBING SURGE IN VIOLENT THREATS'1 day ago
Biden Launches Major Initiative to Protect LGBTQ Community Ahead of Massive White House Pride Celebration
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM2 days ago
Fox News Anchor’s Bad Week: Slammed for ‘Complete Lie,’ Accused of Making Up Story During Primetime Guest Hosting Gig