Thursday, June 26, 2008

More from the great curmudgeon...

To follow up my June 15 post, here is an Esquire Magazine "What I have learned" offering from Gore Vidal that my colleague Jim Steakley alterted me to. A few selections:
God has been expelled. I think he knows when he’s on a losing wicket.
I went into a line
of work in which jealousy is the principle emotion between practitioners. I don’t think I ever suffered from it, because there was no need. But I was aware of it in others, and I found it a regrettable fault.
There was more
of a flow to my output of writing in the past, certainly. Having no contemporaries left means you cannot say, “Well, so-and-so will like this,” which you do when you’re younger. You realize there is no so-and-so anymore. You are your own so-and-so. There is a bleak side to it.
You hear
all this whining going on, “Where are our great writers?” The thing I might feel doleful about is: Where are the readers?
Some of my father’s
fellow West Pointers once asked him why I turned out so well, his secret in raising me. And he said, “I never gave him any advice, and he never asked for any.” We agreed on nothing, but we never quarreled once.
Every fool
I knew had gone to university. I didn’t think it necessary. I’d seen some of the results, you know?
When I was young,
I was bored shitless with being desired by others. I don’t look in the mirror anymore.
I lived with Howard
for fifty years, but what we had was certainly not romantic love, not passionate love. And it certainly was nonsexual. Try and explain that to the fags.
Nonprofit status
is what created the Bible Belt. The tax code brought religion back to this country.
When she was running for the Senate,
Hillary’s psephologists discovered that the one group that really hated her was white, middle-aged men of property. She got the whole thing immediately -- I heard she said, “I remind them of their first wife.”
“You got to meet everyone -- Jackie Kennedy, William Burroughs.” People always put that sentence the wrong way around. I mean, why not put it the true way, that these people got to meet me, and wanted to? Otherwise it sounds like I spent my life hustling around trying to meet people: “Oh, look, there’s the governor.
For a writer, memory is everything. But then you have to test it; how good is it, really? Whether it’s wrong or not, I’m beyond caring. It is what it is. As Norman Mailer would say, “It’s existential.” He went to his grave without knowing what that word meant.
We’re the most captive nation
of slaves that ever came along. The moral timidity of the average American is quite noticeable. Everybody’s afraid to be thought in any way different from everyone else.
Get rid of religion.
It’ll do you no good.
As the Greeks sensibly believed,
should you get to know yourself, you will have penetrated as much of the human mystery as anyone need ever know.
I wasn’t like everyone,
you know. What everyone did, I was sure not to do.

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