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Ed Driscoll

On Experiencing Gore Vidal’s Favorite Word

October 11th, 2010 - 10:41 pm

Matt Drudge highlights the usual rambling Gore Vidal interview, spotlighting Vidal’s worn-out épater le bourgeois tactic of saying that there’s a dictatorship looming just around the corner:

Melvyn Bragg has interviewed the American author Gore Vidal many times over the years – including for three separate South Bank Show films. For his guest-edit of this week’s New Statesman, Bragg called Vidal at his home in Los Angeles, where Vidal claimed to be working on perfecting “the telephone essay”.

The resulting interview is a wide-ranging conversation, replete with Vidal’s usual wit, that covers his life and career. But perhaps — as always — his political views are the most striking. Here’s what he had to say on the Republican Party:

These are the small-town enemies of everybody. They just dislike everyone. They couldn’t come out and say: “We don’t want a black president” — we’ve finally got past that roadblock. So what they did was set out to slaughter the opposition party, the Democrats.

Vidal’s contention is that Obama’s opponents, motivated by racism, have set out to discredit him:

Repetition. They keep saying he’s really a terrorist and they even deny he’s black. He’s obviously brown in some way — a vicious way — because we know what they are like; those are terrorists.

This febrile political atmosphere, combined with economic turmoil, is a recipe for disaster:

I should not in the least be surprised if there were a kind of dictatorship at the end of the road, which seems to be coming more and more quickly as we lose more and more wars.

But Vidal said in June 0f 2008 that we were already in a dictatorship:

It will take the United States a century to recover from the damage wreaked by President George. W Bush, US writer Gore Vidal said in an interview published on Saturday.

“The president behaved like a virtual criminal but we didn’t have the courage to sack him for fear of violating the American constitution,” Vidal told the El Mundo newspaper.

The author, a trenchant critic of the US-led invasion of Iraq, said it would take the United States “100 years to repair the damage” caused by Bush.

“We live in a dictatorship. We have a fascist government …which controls the media,” he said.

Vidal also said presidential aspirant Barack Obama was “intelligent” adding that it would be a “novelty” to have an “intelligent” person in the White House.

Has the novelty worn off yet for Vidal?

Incidentally, according to Vidal, the Civil War was fought by the “Tragic vision of Lincoln as Orphic dictator,” Reagan was a dictator, America in the 1980s was a “heterosexual dictatorship,” Richard Nixon was also a dictator, and FDR was “the first American dictator.” (Never mind Lincoln the Orphic dictator. And of course, there was his infamous run-in with William F. Buckley, whom Vidal dubbed a crypto-Nazi, in-between losing his libel suit to WFB.)

Don’t bother trying to connect the dots — no one in the MSM ever will, otherwise they wouldn’t keep running his proto-Oliver Stone conspiracy theories so blindly over the decades.

Update: More on the 85-year old Gore and other “Liberals at Twilight” from Andrew Klavan at Ricochet, who adds:

Lefty celebrities of the sixties age badly. Really badly. Once their wit or talent or gift for invective is gone, they have nothing left but crotchety and unreasoned distaste for the Others who disagree with them. They have become, in fact, conservative in the pejorative sense of that word: inflexible, immovable, cantankerously defiant of change.

I’m not sure if conservative is the right word here — but reactionary certainly seems like a perfect fit.

Related: “You American intellectuals — you want so desperately to feel besieged and persecuted!”

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