Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Gore Vidal: Mascot of the Month as Tribute

I don't label Nincompoopery entries, so I am not sure if I have ever had Gore Vidal as Mascot of the Month before.  If not, my bad because I have loved his writing and lecturing forever.
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Gore Vidal 1925 - 2012
Gore Vidal was a man of letters.  Outspoken, fiercely independent and intelligent, he rarely tolerated fools - which is why he seemed so cantankerous in his old age.  He lived a long time in Italy - as distance gave him perspective, but moved home (to the Hollywood Hills!) when he got very sick.  Yes, once you live in the Hollywood Hills, it will always be home.
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For those of you that visited when you were in LA, and got the Scooter Tour, you might remember me pointing out his house on Outpost - even though he was (at that time) living in Italy.  I have one my parents to thank for getting me into Gore Vidal, but I don't remember which, both my mother and father were voracious readers.  Who knows, they both might have introduced me to one of his books.  The first book of his I read was "Burr".  Which was amazing!  And I was hooked.
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I read most of his historical series (Burr, Lincoln, 1876, Empire and even Hollywood - though I thought it was petering out by then).
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In my "gay lit" class at UCLA in 1979, after I was already familiar with his historical novels - I was introduced to The City and The Pillar - one of the first open and generally positive portrayals of homosexuality - at least "positive" at the context of the time, which meant someone died at the end (there was no happily ever after in those days for 2 boys).  In class we found out the dedication, To J.T., was to his lover that died in World War II - Jimmy (sm- I just checked Wikipedia - it says James Trimbell III who died at Iwo Jima.)
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I read Myra Brekenridge and Myron - but by then I think Gore was more interested in the essay format.  After 2 unsuccessful runs at Senator for New York (shades of William Randolph Hearst), Gore retired to the sidelines to comment on government, rarely hiding either his disdain for the players or his anger at the fact Politicians didn't promote the good of the populace.
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Mr. Vidal, related to Arron Burr, grew up in DC, reading to his Grandfather Senator Vidal, because the Senator was nearly blind.  By his high school days he was familiar the ins and outs of Washington.
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As a Warrant Officer in World War II (1944)  - and a 1980s pose
Gore Vidal was from the lineage that believed politics was a gentlemen's pursuit for the good of the country.
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He was, in many ways, a role-model for someone like me; someone that didn't fit in the current social construct.  He insisted he was above it, because he couldn't effect it.  I think he would have been amazed to know how much he did effect.
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Read Burr

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