Gore Vidal has died. Perhaps you most treasured him for mixing it up with awful racist William F. Buckley, as above. (The aesthete Buckley called Vidal “a queer.”) We loved him best for (okay, Burr, but also) this:

He and brute Norman Mailer were at a party when Mailer laid him out with one punch. From the floor, Vidal looked up at him, and (the precise quotation varies) intoned like a total catty bitch, “Words fail Norman Mailer once again.”


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  • Mojopo

    "Write something, even if it's just a suicide note." Loved that.

  • Beowoof

    Documenting the decline of American Civilization. As the Florida shooting post shows, it won't be long now.

  • Gore Vidal was a world class cunt. In the very best sense of the word.

  • Barb_

    "…….. I'll sock you in the goddamn face and you'll stay plastered."
    That just sounds sexy when said with an accent.

    • Fare la Volpe

      It sounded sexier from Buckley's grave.

    • rickmaci

      Project much WFB?

    • CapnFatowls

      I'll bet Buckley's blow-up doll thought it sounded sexy too.

  • Anyone perceptive enough to call Buckley a fascist prick decades before it became a well-known fact is alright in my book. RIP, Mr. Vidal.

    • Mojopo

      I wish to hold a vigil on your up-fist all day.

    • rickmaci

      Actually it was "crypto Nazi." Such a precise user of words.

  • FakaktaSouth

    "All in all, I would not have missed this century for the world."

    I liked everything better before the year 2000 too.

    • Fare la Volpe

      Before 2000, I lost internet connection when someone called the house and my balls were still smooth.

      I'll take this new century, thanks.

      • FakaktaSouth

        I feel ya, young fella, but I still can't go thru a door without my stupid call getting dropped, maybe by 2100. Also, my whole self was way way smoother 12 years ago. But mostly I just liked Pre-Bush-Pre-Iraq-Pre-we-are-so-fucked anything.

        • Fare la Volpe

          This is true. Buffy was also better back then.

  • Monsieur_Grumpe

    Between the three of them I found Buckley the most punchable.

  • Baconzgood

    You always get more with Gore!

  • viennawoods13

    This news saddened me. He is one of the greats in my book. I was lucky to see him at an event in Toronto several years back. Just listening to him for an hour discuss the current state of the United States was an incredible experience. Okay… time to pull out my copy of Burr and start reading.

  • Goonemeritus

    He will be missed but I morn more for the state of our culture. When I view these old clips you can’t help but see how far we have fallen.

    • FakaktaSouth

      Yeah. I miss people smoking on TV.

      • Goonemeritus

        Not to mention the surprisingly comfortable twin beds.

    • right. pointy heads engaged and enraged and the vocabulary!


    Mailer headbutted him. He was holding a drink and would never have risked spilling a drop.

    • glasspusher

      makes me think that the way the folks in "Midnight in Paris" behaved was not hyperbole.

      • BerkeleyBear

        If anything, probably tame – I mean, no one got shot or gored by a bull.

        • glasspusher

          Really. Maybe they toned it down to keep it PG?

  • freakishlywrong

    The only good thing about this is that Gore lived long enough to see teabirchers and fascists fully take over William FBuckley's Conservative "movement"

  • SexySmurf

    Why does William F. Buckley have his finger in his ear? I thought he usually kept it up his ass?

    • Fare la Volpe

      His head took up too much room back there.

    • rickmaci

      WFB was constantly nervously poking a digit somewhere, and that incessant sucking on the pencil. Always wondered what that was all about.

  • Best Vidal Quotes

    Most insightful:
    "Democracy is supposed to give you the feeling of choice like, Painkiller X and Painkiller Y. But they're both just aspirin."

    Most prescient:
    "As the age of television progresses the Reagans will be the rule, not
    the exception. To be perfect for television is all a President has to
    be these days."

  • prommie

    I haz a big sad. Hitchens and Vidal now. Oh fucking well.

    • FNMA

      They're both with Jeebus now.

  • Hitchens can go stuff his dick in Mailer's ass for all I care. He betrayed progressivism and one might be tempted to blame his aneurysm but the simple fact is, he butt-fucked us all.

    Now, Vidal is a loss.

    • thatsitfortheother1

      Agree on Vidal. The man could write AND speak.

    • prommie

      I just can't dismiss a brilliant and bold intellectual on ideological purity grounds.

      • BerkeleyBear

        You could – but thank you for refraining.

    • Many felt betrayed by Hitch for his Iraq shenanigans. Many felt Vidal had completely betrayed reason when he became a 9/11 Truther. Fine. But in the end, both, with their wit, intellect, humor and humanity, stand head, shoulders and balls over most who grasp at their stature.

  • prommie

    I wish our fascists were still crypto.

  • Limeylizzie

    When I was a child I used to dream of coming to America because I thought it would be peopled by cowboys, movie stars and wonderful intellectuals like these two , I read "Burr" as a pre-teen, now we have the Tea Party, Steve King and the Kardashians.

    • freakishlywrong

      Don't be sad, Limey, we DID elect Barack Obama..

      • Limeylizzie

        OK, that was a wonderful thing, wasn't it?

      • Geminisunmars

        Someday soon I hope to amend your statement with the word "twice".

    • Goonemeritus

      But America got you so it all balances out.

      • Limeylizzie


  • IncenseDebate

    I liked when Mailer and Vidal mixed it up on the Cavett show. Cavett got off one of the best go to hell lines ever at Mailer. Those were quaint days when intellectuals mixed in up on teevee. Those days are gone.

    • DahBoner

      Charlie Rose libel!

    • tessiee

      "Cavett got off one of the best go to hell lines ever at Mailer."

      Care to share it with us, please?

      • IncenseDebate

        Mailer: Why don’t you look at your question sheet and ask a question?

        Cavett: Why don’t you fold it five ways and put it where the moon don’t shine.

        This after a barbed conversation as a drunk and irritating Mailer tried to get Vidal to apologize for alluding to Mailer's wife-stabbing incident. Mailer was rude to everyone there, Vidal, Cavett, and Janet Flanner.

    • unclejeems

      I would be happy just to witness a couple of run-of-the-mill smart persons mix it up. Oh well.

    • Are you saying that David Gregory and John McCain are not intellectuals?

      • IncenseDebate

        Not if it means people of exemplary intellect who like to discuss ideas and have profound, witty, or interesting things to say.

        • I assure you, my tongue was firmly planted in my cheek when I typed that.

      • IncenseDebate

        We Wonketteers are more intellectual than McCain and Gregory.

        • HistoriCat

          Ouch – talk about damning with faint praise …

          • IncenseDebate

            I left out a word. Sorry.

            We Wonketteers cats and dogs are more intellectual than McCain and Gregory.

    • Bodeburu

      "Conservative intellectual" is an oxymoron.

  • Didn't he invent the internet? I can't keep these people straight.

    • MadBrahms

      I think Vidal would appreciate the credit, if only for the porn.

  • Limeylizzie

    OT But Team GB just won our first Gold Medal in…wait for it…the Women's Cox-Less Pairs!

    • IncenseDebate

      G.B.! G.B! God Save the Queen!

      Cox-less pairs? Seedless fruit, right?

    • BigSkullF*ckingDog

      "Women's Cox-Less Pairs"

      That's made up, right? Like cricket and quidditch? You brits make up all the best fictional sports.

    • Scissoring is an Olympic event now?

    • MadBrahms

      And here I thought most women were cox-less.

      • thatsitfortheother1

        Soooo, you have never been to Great Britain…

      • prommie

        Most are, but some get lucky.

    • This is good news for Mitt, the guy from Great Britain.

    • prommie

      As an experienced cox, I offer my services.

    • It's socialism that has let them go Cox-less. The invisible hand of the free market would have seen to it they got more Cox than they could handle.

    • BerkeleyBear

      They've dropped almost all references to coxswains in the official Olympic designations. Could be because at this point eights is the only sport at the games with the little fuckers. But I like to think it is to cut down on the puns.

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        Who do you toss into the drink, then, if your four wins a race?

        • BerkeleyBear

          Yourself, your coach, any member of the team smaller than you. All seems to depend on the situation.

          • Biel_ze_Bubba

            We always got the most yardage out of our cox.

  • RIP Gore. Nothing will ever describe Republicans better than the term "Crypto-Fascist."

  • Tundra Grifter

    My favorite Gore Vidal book is "Lincoln." His "warts and all" presentation just made Old Abe even more impressive.

    While reading it I visited the Chicago Historical Society, and there was the chair Lincoln sat in when in the Illinois legislature. The front of each arm was worn down to the wood.

    I looked around – no guard. I turned around, bent my kness a bit (NO – I didn't sit in the damn thing – that would have been too much!) and put my hands were Lincoln had put his.

    • IncenseDebate

      I'm reading Susan Jacoby's book on free thinkers. Lots of evidence that old Abe, founder of the Republicans, was agnostic.

      • Tundra Grifter

        ID: I think a horrific event such as the American Civil War would drive an intelligent person into either an utter belief in religion or an absolute rejection of it.

  • SnarkoMarx

    This quote of his is one of my favorites:

    "There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. "

    Gore Vidal changed my life. When I was young and very stupid I bought into a lot of the right-wing rhetoric of the time (Reagan days). Vidal was the first person I ran across that got me looking at things from a very different perspective and boy, have I changed since then.

    Thanks, Gore. The world is going to be a lot duller without you.

  • smitallica

    Two notes to the late, but just late William F. Buckley.

    1. No one from New York City talks like that, you affected snob.

    2. The difference between calling someone a "crypto-Nazi" and a "queer," is that one is a choice. Fuckface.

    • As a native Noo Yawkah and Manhattanite lemme just say:


    • Guppy

      I believe the medical establishment at the time insisted that both were a choice.

    • Tundra Grifter

      As fake as Ann Falter's accent – and Sheer InSannity's laugh?

    • BoroPrimorac

      I know exactly how you feel about the man's accent. A few years back, I and several aspiring recreational sailors had to watch a three hour series he.did on celestial navigation in order to pass a course on coastal cruising. Let's just say that I will not be sad to see that WASP twang die out.

  • didgen

    Why can't we have cool debates anymore? Our news programs actively discourage thinking, or processing information in anything more than 45 second bites. I blame MTV and poprocks.

    • SoBeach

      I blame the Fox-ification of politics, AKA Politics As A Spectator Sport. We pick sides like people pick their favorite NASCAR driver, and don't allow anything more complicated than driving fast in a circle so as not to confuse the fans.

    • 24 hour news cycle, too. For whatever reason, programs that attempt to have calm debates on cable get swept away. Hell, what does it say that about the only place you can watch reasoned and structured debate is on the Daily Show? And that's for five minutes or so.

      • thatsitfortheother1

        And debates that nobody wins. They need to score the damn things like a heavyweight fight.

        "Hey, you are stupid. You lose."

  • TootsStansbury

    Sad. He's coming off of my wish list and into my kindle tonight.

    • freakishlywrong

      That sounds dirty. Gore would approve..

      • TootsStansbury

        Heehee I almost wrote "ONTO" which sounds even dirtier.

    • coming off of my wish list and into my kindle tonight.

      That sounds almost sexy. If I can foist off my intrusive Billy Ocean associations with similar structurals long enough, I may try that on my beau next time I need to indicate to him something more suggestive than a proposition but more sensual than an email memo.

  • chascates

    "Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies."

  • eggsacklywright

    Favorite Vidal quote:

    "We have one party – we have the party of essentially corporate America. It has two right wings, one called Democratic, one called Republican. So in the absence of politics, with a media that is easy to manipulate and, in the hands of very few people with interests in wars and oil and so on, I don't see how you get the word out, but one tries because there is nothing else to be done."

  • elviouslyqueer

    A classmate, the writer John Knowles, later used him as the model for Brinker Hadley, the know-it-all conspiracy theorist in “A Separate Peace,” his Exeter-based novel.

    Wait. How did I not know this? The English major in me is embarrass.

    • I just reread that, A Separate Peace, this summer.
      I usually prefer to conjure up characters' visages etc., bring-them-to-life in mind's eye by my own means of imagination… but somtimes I admit it's intriguing to learn of a real-life inspiration behind the character occupying a fictional world.

      • elviouslyqueer

        If you can find it, watch the 1972 movie version. It is absolutely one of the gayest movies in the history of gay, and not just because it stars Parker Stevenson (yes, the former hub of Kirstie Alley) as an incredibly fappish Gene.

  • prommie

    Misguided egalitarianism is whats really destroying culture. Culture was only ever the artifact of an elite minority. Culture is inherently elitist, yes, Virginia, some art is better, some ideas are better, and noone has the right to get a self-esteem award for trying.

    But Amurrican anti-intellectualism and this dumb notion that equality requires equal recognition for ugly and stupid as for smart and beautiful, has led to a popular culture that is anti-culture, nekulturny, maybe.

    Forrest Gump was the moment I despaired, the elevation of stupidity to a virtue. I still think this movie was a psy-op brainwashing operation to get the US public to accept an idiot president, W Bush.

    • thatsitfortheother1

      “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ign0rance is just as good as your knowledge.'”

      ― Isaac Asimov

      • Ducksworthy

        Thank you for that. Asimov is somewhat redeemed in my opinion. Was it him or Heinlein who thought society would be more civil if everyone was armed with needle guns?

        • Biel_ze_Bubba

          Heinlein, Beyond This Horizon

          Prolly had the Swiss in mind. The Afghans, ehhh, not so much.

    • That explains Forest Gump–I thought it was just another artifact of moral and intellectual collapse washed up on the shore but it makes sense that it was the John the Baptist forerunner to prepare us for GWB Jesus.

    • tessiee

      "Culture is inherently elitist, yes, Virginia, some art is better, some ideas are better, and noone has the right to get a self-esteem award for trying. […] Amurrican anti-intellectualism and this dumb notion that equality requires equal recognition for ugly and stupid as for smart and beautiful, has led to a popular culture that is anti-culture"

      Sometime during the Reagan ere (ironically, since Reagan was the one who abolished the law mandated equal time for opposing viewpoints), the ideas of racial and gender equality got appropriated by the "Christian" "Right" and other dumbasses, and used to argue that their "ideas" should be accepted without question, and treated equally with ideas that actually had facts and logic to support them.

  • thatsitfortheother1

    "Mr. Veedle, you owe us a balance of $23.64. When may we expect payment? Pardon? When what freezes over? I don't see why you're kicking up such a ruckus when according to our files your present bank balance, plus stocks, securities, and other holdings, amounts to exactly … Pardon? Privileged information? Oh! (snort, snort) Mr. Veedle, that's so cute! No, no, no, you're dealing with the telephone company. We are not subject to city, state, or federal legislation. We are omnipotent."

    Lily Tomlin

    • eggsacklywright

      Reminds me of The President's Analyst.

  • DahBoner

    "A good deed never goes unpunished"

  • fuck that. we won gold. we are back baby! USA! USA!! USA!!!!

  • An_Outhouse

    I really needed his trilogy: Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Dreaming War, and Imperial America during the Bush Mis-Administration. Peace, Mr. Vidal.

    • viennawoods13

      Yes, those were a great read. (Looks for them on bookshelf).

  • Amazing that TeeVee used to have intelligent people speaking in complete sentences.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      The internet was that way once as well, for a very brief period.

  • AlterNewt


    That is all.

    • Diabeetis

      Julian is one of my favorite novels.

      It's a pity Vidal got really screwy in the last years of his life, though (defending Timothy McVeigh, buying into 9/11 trutherism, calling Samantha Geimer a hooker).

  • tessiee

    I miss the days when it was OK for Americans to be intelligent, articulate, and learn-ed.

    • Lazy Media

      And to sock people in the face without facing a felony assault charge.

  • Nostrildamus

    Buckley's in a crypt, so of course he's a crypto-Nazi. The rest of the National Review is not in a crypt.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba


  • "Shut up a minute."

    Nothing more should have ever needed to be said to William Buckley.

  • OneYieldRegular

    Wait, come back! We need you!

    I'll miss Gore greatly. I'm ashamed to say I can't remember which one of you was responsible, but to this day perhaps my favorite Wonkette comment ever came just after Buckley's death: "Vidal wins!"

    Anyway, now that Gore, Truman Capote and Orson Welles are all gone, I have a feeling The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson is going to go right in the toilet.

  • owhatever

    Never mind the intellectual stuff. My favorite Gore line was "I want to eat your pussy." Somewhere in Myra Breckenridge. When all other pickup lines fail, that one would either get you a slap, or something nice and furry.

  • MiniMencken

    Where Gore Vidal chose to live: La Rondinaia. Where George W. Bush chose to live: a dry neighborhood in Dallas. Life is about choices, people.

  • poorgradstudent

    I am genuinely sad by this. He was an inspiration to me as both a writer and an academic, and he was a better chronicler of our decline that the United States deserved.

    On a lighter note, it's also good he had enough of a sense of humor about "Caligula" that he lent his face to a trailer for a fake remake.

  • johnnymeatworth

    “Did you invite one of your friends?”
    “Friends? Ha! These are my only friends: Grown-up nerds like Gore Vidal. And even he’s kissed more boys than I ever will.”
    “Girls, Lisa. Boys kiss girls.”

  • ttommyunger

    So much intellect, so little ego. Sadly, that trend is reversed all too often today.

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