Gore Vidal (1926-2012)
My mother introduced me to Gore Vidal in 1967. Not in person but to his novel, Washington, DC. She had checked it out from the library and was a fast reader so I picked up copy before it was due and rolled right through it. I was home after my first year of college and a budding intellectual snob so I quickly found Vidal's work appealing. That appeal never diminished although Myra Breckinridge and Duluth weren't nearly appealing as Vidal's historical novels and his essays. Or his famous feuds, barbed comments, and refreshing iconoclasm.
The last Gore Vidal work I recall reading is Imperial America, Reflections on the United states of Amnesia, a collection of his essays from the 1980's under Reagan-Bush I. Re-released in 2004, the essays were as pertinent to America under CheneyBush in the first decade of the 21st century as when originally written. Rampant fundamentalism, rapacious capitalism, and acceleration of the National Security State that has governed this nation since 1981, including Bill Clinton's eight year interregnum and now under Obama. Witty, acerbic, informed and thoughtful, they were everything I expect from Gore Vidal. Only the dollar values seemed quaint.
Aside from his work, Gore Vidal's long life provided some balance to a world were Frank Zappa lived only 52 years while Ronald Reagan lased into his 90's.
Lawyers, Gun$ and Money has the video of the Vidal-Buckley shouting match as ABC commentators during the 1968 convention.
Godspeed, Gore. And thank you for all of those fine words.