Gore Vidal at Bat
I'm writing this on the spot, listening to Gore Vidal on the radio while I'm typing away (do you still call it "typing"?), and I've got my eagle eye on Gore Vidal, he's up at bat, and I know he's one hell of a brilliant mind, a big stick kind of mind, so I know he'll get a hit, he'll hit whatever he's talking about's nail square on its flat head. I've been following Gore Vidal's career for, hell, for most of my time in this old press box. He's one of the most brilliant human beings I've ever encountered and I've encountered him only via his appearances on television and radio, never having met him or seen him in public; knowing him because at one time he was a very public figure in Hollywood, on television, with bestselling novels, and bestselling collections of essays, and popular movies, most famous at the height of his fame for his battling old one-track-mind total-idiot Yale snob William F (F for Fhony/Fake) Buckley, Jr., in political debates and one year in covering both political conventions--during this convention coverage is when William F (F for Full of Shit) Buckley, Jr., called Gore a homo--blah, blah, blah.
Enough background for now, back to play, and at the moment Gore is saying Americans are hated all over the world mainly because we are so constantly boastful and so full of ourselves. At this point I must confess I quit traveling to other countries many years ago now--why? Because everywhere I traveled I found first I had my ass kissed because I was an American but then I got to noticing that each peck at my ass had a bit of bite in it. I thought, especially around Europeans, "You motherfuckers are mocking me because I'm an American, a boob, right, you bastards, I'm here to 'live' awhile in your country; I'm not here to be a loud-mouthed braggadocio American fool--fuck it, I'll just quit coming to your country--I live in the world's coolest city anyway--F all you all." Personally insulted by being forced to be an American tourist--it had to do with my being a white American, too, because I know many black people who have moved to Paris and Amsterdam, one in Germany, and they love it over there; don't feel American at all over there. Damn, I took my eye off Gore for a moment. A reflection in my reporter's eye--but dammit, this is important to me, because everywhere I've tried to live it's been ruined by me being constantly identified as a TURISTA--a word I hate--I lived in Mexico City, very comfortably as long as I stayed in the Zona Rosa, but when I went down into Garibaldi Square say and played with the mariachi bands there, I had to practically color my white skin with brown shoe polish--though I cheated because of my wife, the tricolored woman--Welsh, Choctaw, and Tex-Mex--and she was taken for a senorita Mexicana--for over a year and a half I lived in M.C.--I've visited seriously Venezuela, Trinidad & Tobago; I've gone down to the shores of the Amazon looking for a solitudinous place to write; I've tried to live in British Tortola; I projected, while I was married to a rich wife, moving to Paris and living on the Left Bank as a Latter Day Bohemian--I was always an admirant of the true Bohemians--unfortunately my "visit" to Paris was marred, hell, it was totally ruined by my immediate dislike of Parisian French! But now I understand what Gore is saying, the reason I found those Parisians such assholes is because I was an asshole myself with my impressive wife again taken for French but me being constantly treated like an American boaster--Oh, et vous etes de Texas, aussi!!
Gore just took a huge swing at a G.W. Bush slow ball--crushed it for a home run--Gore said when asked if he was going to write anything about Georgie Porgie Bush, hell no, that he'd already written enough about Bush and that to him now, Bush was a nonsubject.
Ben Franklin, however, is a quite a subject with Gore now. He's talking about how Ben Franklin had read Aristotle who said all republics of the USA type (landowners and the wealthy controlling everything) eventually will fall--that this republic, too, will fall because of the "corruption of its people." When asked if Gore sees any hope in the US's future, he slowly replies, "Hope? What do you mean?" "Do you see any hope for this country?" He right off the bat responds, "No. We're broke! It's as simple as that."
Now, Gore's revealing that JFK was a big pal of Joe McCarthy's. Gore was kin to Jackie O. Gore says Eleanor Roosevelt could speak six or seven languages and FDR couldn't even speak restaurant French. Gore's, I feel as I type this, like my big brother--he's about the same age now as my brother would have been had he lived--Gore's 82 now, my brother would be 85--so Gore's like my elder brother (the writer, screenwriter, and television commentator) in the sense of the life experiences he's had--parallel to my own except I was a baby and then a jerky teenager while Gore was already famous and writing books like a machine.
I remember when I found out Gore was a homosexual (I once heard him say he'd rather be called a "homosexualist") it didn't bother me at all. I've never been bothered by homosexuals. I've always appreciated several writers who were openly homosexual, like John Rechy, Truman Capote, James Baldwin, even my fav Paul Bowles liked having sex with young Moroccan boys though he liked sex with women, too, he claimed, though just like Gore, and I'm sure Gore knew Paul Bowles, because Paul Bowles who was married to Jane Bowles for twenty years and had a good relationship with her throughout their marriage--and Paul based on his marriage to Jane would agree with what Gore just said in answer to the question, "What's the secret to a good relationship [referring to his living with the same man for 50 years]?" "No sex. And that's something an American can never understand since sex is the main thing in most American's lives." And Paul Bowles just said amen to that and there's a great passage in one of Paul's essays where he describes the very last sex he and Jane had--it was good, Jane was a passionate woman, whether with men or women, preferably women, and they both came together and afterwards, while Paul was smoking a cigarette in the dark, he realized that that was the last sex he would have with Jane--and she agreed with him--otherwise, he said, their relationship couldn't last and he loved her too much to let that happen. Cut the sex out and everything'll be just fine--that's how these politicians live--their wives have long cut them off--that's why when the urge hits 'em, they head for a whorehouse or get their little white books out and call that young chick they met and fucked that night at that G.W. Bush fundraiser or that lobbyist party--remember that old geezer Congressman who was caught splashing naked in a Washington, District of Corruption, fountain on the Mall with that stripper? And I realize I should agree with that "No Sex" advice, too--Freud would agree with it, I'll bet.
We human nutjobs are destroying the only Paradise there is--it's called earth, the planet Earth--we live in paradise and yet we just aren't able due to our fears to believe it. We are never satisfied because of the sexual urges that drive us to being animalistic, that drive us to rape, to rape our workers of their wages; to rape homeowners of their homes and the land under their homes which is always worth more than the homes built on it; to rape the citizens of as much of their worth as can be stolen from them through taxes and fees and penalties and adjusted rates and raising prices and raising the cost of transportation and raising the cost of postage stamps and raising the cost of FOOD--and we are starving--and Gore Vidal has just said, "I could never have imagined during my lifetime that one day the world would run out of food." Think about that, folks--and I'm writing like the old baseball writers used to be writing their stories up in the press boxes high over the fields, typing at their portables as the game is played. And all around me today I hear the developers at work destroying what's left of my once "affordable living" New York City neighborhood as they are beginning the demolition, the rape, of two buildings just adjacent to my building on the east--I was awakened this morning at 6 a.m. by a noise that sounded like a helicopter was hovering directly over my apartment's windows--I even got out of bed and went to the window and searched the skies for the apparent noise. The skies were empty; yet the noise went on--deafening! I abandoned the apartment to go out and grab some coffee from my Muslim coffee man--to have our morning friendly calling of each other brother--it's a Muslim thing to call each other brother--it's a Christian thing, too--aha--I'll bet it's a Jewish thing, too--here I go extending on Paul Bowles's theory of "desert religions being dependent on what comes from the sky for their salvation"--anyway, we call each other brother--the Muslim fruit peddler is right there by the Muslim coffee man--they're making money hand over fist--but anyway--back to our story, as I exited my building and stepped into the street I immediately saw the origins of the helicopter noise--two huge Mack-type garbage-hauler trucks were there just a door down from my building unloading dumpsters in front of the buildings they are demolishing with a roar, and I am typing this with a roar, as though I'm rushing for a deadline--ahhhhhh.
Writing is such wonderful exercise. I don't understand college-trained writers and their woes and shit and their blocs and their Writer's Digest approach to writing, that writing has formulae--writing not being--oh hell--here I go with my improvisational shit again. I give up. The ballgame's over. Gore Vidal has retired to his "Outpost" [his L.A. neighborhood] home to write yet another book--and if you check out Gore's production in terms of writing, it will knock your literary socks off--this dude has written more books than all the gods and devils put together--he may be close to Isaac Asimov records he's written so many books--plus he wrote and produced a movie about Billy the Kid--it's called Billy the Kid--Gore said, "Hell, Billy was a murderer but he was a decent fellow really." And in reference to yesterday's Growler post, Gore Vidal wrote the screenplay for Bob Guccione's sleazebag movie, Caligula.
As "Moody's Mood for Love" says, "There I go, there I go, there I go...." So here I go.
for The Daily Growler