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"Connoisseur of decline"

Author/playwright and cantankerous provocateur Gore Vidal (Julian, Burr, Lincoln) has died. The New York Times has an excellent long obit, including this quote which pretty much sums up why he annoyed so many people in his later years. (He wrote a piece on the 9/11 attacks that Vanity Fair actually refused to publish, which is pretty stunning for a writer of his stature):

As for literature, it was more or less over, he declared more than once, and he had reached a point where he no longer much cared. He became a sort of connoisseur of decline, in fact. America is “rotting away at a funereal pace,” he told The Times of London in 2009. “We’ll have a military dictatorship pretty soon, on the basis that nobody else can hold everything together.”

My favorite quote, though, is from CNN's obit:

Vidal would say he was a once-famous novelist who was relegated to going on television because people "seldom read anymore."

"All these literary prizes should go to the readers: 'Nobel Prize for the best reader in Milwaukee,'" he said. "And you know, we must honor them because they are so few."

Yes! Nobel prizes for readers! I love it...

On another (happier) note, the US Women's Gymanastics team won the gold: yay!! When they're all together in a bunch they're like a basketful of kittens, they're so little and adorable...

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reynardo
Aug. 1st, 2012 12:04 pm (UTC)
I adored his appearance in "Bob Roberts". I couldn't watch that movie through the Bush Jr years - it had gone from dark satire to too-close-to-the-truth.

Last year Tim Robbins came to a club very near us to play, and I got him to autograph my copy of "Bob Roberts" (*happy dancing still*)
droxy
Aug. 1st, 2012 05:24 pm (UTC)
My opinion of Vidal has been raised a notch. Very astute observer.

Sounds like a fellow pessimist.
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