Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia


One of the most towering literary figures in American history, Gore Vidal was the real deal.

Long before the great American novel devolved into a werewolf vs. zombie series, novelists held great powers of observation and insights into their societies. The demise of these intellectual leaders prompts the inevitable fall of this empire of brainwashed fools.

Writers unfamiliar with Vidal should definitely watch this film. His irascible truth-telling influenced millions. He never shied away from controversy, nor from honestly assessing the country as a bloodthirsty empire ruled by the rich, of, by, and for.

Every utterance of Vidal’s was like a performance piece. He didn’t converse so much as proclaim. A child of politics, the Second World War opened his eyes to the mercenary nature of US foreign policy, even those alleged “good” wars.

Always close to power and fame, his is a mind-blowing tale of America’s transformation into the technological empire we see today. You’ll see him palling around–and/or battling it out–with people as varied as John F. Kennedy, Truman Capote, Paul Newman, Norman Mailer, Christopher Hitchens, William F. Buckley, Tim Robbins, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, and Mikhail Gorbachev!

And then came 9/11.

I found Vidal a combination of cynical mastery and eternal optimism to the point of gullibility. As when Obama was elected, the contradictions are reflected as he suspected corruption put Barack in the White House, as it always does, but Vidal’s choice of words was odd indeed.

Vidal presents the “conspiratorial view” of history, all the while disputing the term, as those in power don’t need to conspire, he said, they simply all think alike.

Unmentioned was Vidal’s cameo as a senator in Bob Roberts, a Tim Robbins political satire that is one of my all-time favorites. Another “conspiratorial view” of history.

History is nothing but a series of conspiracies, in my view. I am one of the millions Vidal influenced.




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