Monday, August 24, 2015

Perhaps more than you needed to know about Gore Vidal

Life out loud | The Economist

This review of a biography of Vidal notes this:
“NEVER lose an opportunity to have sex or be on television” is a
familiar Gore Vidal quip—and, as Jay Parini notes in a marvellous new
biography, Vidal enthusiastically followed his own advice. The sex was
almost always homosexual; invariably “on top”; and usually in the
afternoon, to allow for disciplined writing in the morning and
extravagant socialising in the evening. For Vidal, television meant a
show of eloquent punditry projected on both sides of the Atlantic, but
most memorably—as any trawl through YouTube will confirm—in the form of
confrontations on American chat shows with William Buckley, editor of
the conservative National Review, and with a pugnacious fellow writer, Norman Mailer. ...
Vidal, knowing everyone who was anyone (from Princess Margaret to
Rudolf Nureyev), was certainly a snob. He was also delighted to be rich,
having as a young man not known “where the next bottle of champagne
might come from,” Mr Parini writes. It mattered immensely to Vidal that
he could live well, whether in huge homes in America and Italy or in
comfortable suites at the best hotels in London, Paris and Bangkok.
Yet Mr Parini’s Gore Vidal is a man hiding his shyness with a mask of
suave sophistication and with viper-like scorn for his enemies (he
called Buckley a “crypto-Nazi” in one TV clash, and said Truman Capote’s
death was “a wise career move”). Though Vidal accused Buckley of being a
“closet queen”, this was not the retort of a militant homosexual:
Vidal, a “pansexual”, always saw “homosexual” and “heterosexual” as
adjectives, not nouns.
Update:  some far more extreme details of the Gore-ian sex life may be found in this article.   Mind you, I'm mildly dubious about some of the actors he claimed to have slept with.    Gives the impression it was hard to find an actor in the 50's who was not bisexual.

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