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‘This Place Is Broken’: The Gore Vidal Interview Part II

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Posted on Mar 8, 2006
Gore Vidal
Zuade Kaufman

By Sheerly Avni

(Page 2)

This is old news now, but in terms of terrorism, there was a lot of protest against the Palestinian Oscar nominee, “Paradise Now,” with a 36,000-person petition to get the film dropped from the roster because it sympathized with “terrorists.”

Never forget there are 1 billion Muslims on Earth. The United States is far too small a country to play big boss - and now far too insolvent a country; we have no revenues, we can’t repair our own infrastructure, much less rebuild the cities that we’ve just knocked down in the Middle East. I think we should learn a little modesty, we’re not number one! At invoking terrorism, yes, we’re pretty good at provoking people to hate us. In fact we’ve been quite successful at that. But we live in a small country, a vulnerable country, a country with no defenses, only “homeland security.” But there’s no true security here - anyone can do anything he wants and will! 

Right, so now we have these proposals to build a wall on the Texas/Mexico border, to fill in the tunnels….

Oh it’s just Looney Time, but you see, we have no educational system for the general public. If you come from a well-to-do family, you get a fairly good education, but you get a lot of propaganda along with it. And we have a media that is quite poisonous and only echoes what the administration—and corporate America, which owns the administration—wants us to hear. So the average person has no information, or what he has is so distorted. How can he make up his mind intelligently on any subject? 

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As far as the American media goes, though, you’ve spoken out strongly against The New York Times, but I’m thinking now of a Bush-voting friend of mine who gets most of his information from Bill O’Reilly and Fox News.  The reason he won’t read The New York Times is that he thinks it’s a left-wing mouthpiece.

Ignorance is an epidemic in our country, and it’s kind of virulent. No, they don’t have any information, they don’t have access to it, and the newspaper they like to hate, they might very well hate for other reasons if they had any other reasons, but they don’t have any. They have no evidence.

Or if they’re told about the lies of Judith Miller—it would take you 10 years to explain who she was and how she got to tell lies. And what the lies were about. There’s no such time for us. By the time you are grown and able to read The New York Times without moving your lips, you’ve been had. 

So how can the media get to my red-state friend?

I don’t think you can get to him. You can get to him if something blows up somewhere—he certainly grasps that. I think what’s most apt to be getting to him these days is the firing of people at Ford, and General Motors, and people being out of work. He’s no fool when it comes to his own welfare. If he sees that jobs are drying up, he may be inclined to think “well, we’d better get another war” because he’s learned from experience that when we have a war we have full employment….

In 1940 the Depression had returned. It had not been defeated in ‘33 by Roosevelt: alas, it was back, so Roosevelt put 8 billion dollars into defense to build up particularly our air force, and we had full employment for the first time in 50 years. By the time Truman got to be president we were totally militarized, which was a very bad thing for us, but he had thought it was for a good reason. I mean, he feared, as did Dean Acheson and the others, that we would slip back into the Depression unless we had all this fueling, with federal money, of the military-industrial complex, as General Eisenhower so nicely advised us. Having served it all of his life, so he knew what he was talking about.

And the need for war now is systemic. There’s no going back. You can’t just say OK, we’re just stopping and we’re going to cut down the Pentagon budget by 50%, we’ll build some hospitals, we’ll do this, we’ll actually try to educate people.

[If you do] you’ll find a huge movement against it. Look, there are all those enemies out there: The Mexicans are armed with anthrax, and they’re entering El Paso even as we speak though hidden tunnels. Isn’t that good for conspiracy theorists? Those tunnels are great symbols.

And then there are the Canadians. Who knows what they’ll do to us from up north!

[sotto voce] They’re the most vicious of all, because they pretend to be quiet and orderly. 

Altogether, this is not a very optimistic prognosis.

Well, I’m not very optimistic. This place is broken. It’s going to take a generation to repair what’s been done to the Bill of Rights, what has been done to the legal system.

Meanwhile, they’ll get a chance to add a couple more Supreme Court justices giving us, for a generation, a very, very right-wing interpretation of our liberties, because they don’t like them.

Quite openly they don’t like the freedoms we have, particularly freedom of speech, so they classify it - Top Secret. Don’t speak, whisper. 

What will it take?

Organization, there will be quite a few demagogues who will say let’s burn Lawrence,  Kan., like Quantrill, but there will be others, like Huey Long:  Every Man a King. Make the Standard Oil pay—which is what he did in Louisiana. Built Tulane, built hospitals, siphoned all that money right into the state so everyone could benefit.

Roosevelt was scared to death of him in 1936, because Huey was going to run on a third ticket. And he could have denied Roosevelt a second term, and Huey’s plan was that he himself would be—in 1940—he would be the Democratic nominee and Roosevelt would be finished. And then we would get Huey Longism, which was true populism. The money was going to go to the people for the things that would make the people’s lives better. Then he was killed in the state capitol at Baton Rouge, by a crazy MD, a doctor, who wasn’t political at all. 

Then there were rumors that Roosevelt had hired people to kill him. Seems to me a little far-fetched since I’m pro-Roosevelt.

FDR gave a presidential address from the Academy Awards thanking them for being so patriotic. How much has Hollywood changed since you first started working there, in terms of its relationship to the government?

The change had started much earlier than Roosevelt. The change began with Woodrow Wilson…. The whole country did not want to go to war in Europe, nor did we care about whether Germany organized Europe or whether France organized Europe. It was not a matter of concern to the average American. Nor should it have been. There was no Hitler in Germany. Those days, there was the Kaiser, he was no worse than the French leaders, so it was just a continuation of that long war that had gone on and off and on for centuries between [the] French and Germany. Who’s the heir to Charlemagne? That’s what it was about. 

Wilson wanted to go to the war very early, and the American people didn’t. So he found a great public relations man called George Creel….  And George Creel, he sent out to Hollywood to get people to make anti-German movies. So we had nothing but blind nuns being raped by German soldiers. “The Huns are coming! The Huns are coming!”  A lot of those movies were made, and then others to show how great the British were, how great the French were. And Wilson, he was shameless; he went so far as to put himself into a number of movies.

That’s how it all started, the marriage between Washington and Hollywood. And I remember when I was first under contract to MGM, in about ‘54, I had nothing but dj vu every time I looked around the Thalberg Building. I said, “What does this remind me of?” These little offices, these whitewashed walls and powerful producers on every other floor, talented people like Scott Fitzgerald working in little cubbyholes….

And I said, “This is the White House. This is the White House West, the Thalberg Building. And the White House itself is the Thalberg Building East. And they’re bound to marry.

With an oligarchy bureau chief on each side.

Yes, and George Creel was the bridge.


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By John Doraemi, December 17, 2006 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Vidal,

Run for president, as a Democrat.  Please, just to raise hell on prime time tv and shame the bastards for just a brief moment.

Hell, you might even win.

Keep up the good fight.

John Doraemi publishes Crimes of the State
http://crimesofthestate.blogspot.com/

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By ciro iuorno, November 21, 2006 at 4:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

greetings from poor Lucania : a land in southern Italy ... bye-bye .....

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By LilyMaskew, October 25, 2006 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I always enjoy reading Gore Vidal’s insightful comments.  I fear, in many cases, he is all too correct.

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By Bill Chen, April 1, 2006 at 11:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Typical left-wing drivel,” Francois Lafleche? How typically left-wing is Vidal’s criticism of Wilsonian liberal-interventionism, whose spectre is currently ruining this country and endangering the rest of the world with its “remaking the world with democracy” ideology?

Gore Vidal is one of our last true republicans (that’s with a small r). “Left-wing” and “Right-wing” are just lazy, and dated, categories.

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By Mark, March 31, 2006 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oddly enough, this fellow (with whom I share many a dark view of the future) inspires me. He shows me that wisdom, wit, and humanity still exist in this land, even as a new Dark Age seems to lurch closer by the hour.

After having been exposed through the years to mainstream history tomes and endless, mind numbing “news reportage,” Vidal’s prose has never failed to brush the stink of bootlicking authors from my insulted person. To say he doesn’t stick to the facts is perhaps true… if one believes that the facts are inscribed in stone tablets or perhaps read at the daily White House prayer meetings.

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By Druthers, March 18, 2006 at 2:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“I think, therefore I am.”  Mr. Vidal invites us to think, that is to question, to develop reason.  It would seem we are retreating, like medevial monks, to the safe sites of the net that are becoming our mountain santuaries.  The public domain, now devoted exclusivly to propanganda and commerce, battered and crumbling is being abandonned and in the cracks grow the Fox outlets and their like.
We do not yet know how long this new dark ages will last but it casts a dark cloud over our present. Most historic rebellions were crushed, the others recuperated, I fear because people don’t like to think—they want to believe.
Fortunately there seems to be a strong force that time after time fights its way to the surface, the need for truth and justice.
After “No,” one of the first remarks of outrage in small children is “That’s not fair.”

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By Jeff, March 15, 2006 at 9:54 pm Link to this comment
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If you think he makes sense then you obviously don’t follow history, stay current on actual events or follow real world politics….. He makes no sense at all, is inaccurate in his comments, expresses opinion the majority of the time and out right lies and has misrepresentations at other points. It would take about three pages here to point out his inaccuracies and blatant opinion over actual fact….. I love it when people reference another speaker who supports there views and instead of researching whether what he says has any merit, they instead say see look here he said it so it must be true….............. Get your facts straight, do some research both on a historical perspective and current events and then come back and read this article and see how much sense it makes….......... Too Funny…...

Don’t get me wrong…. I am not supporting current events in the world….. Just pisses me off when people quote psycho babble bullshit as fact without ever doing any research. We live in a world of headline facts….. In other words if it’s printed somewhere whether it be in a left wing correspondence or right wing periodical, than of course it must be fact!!

People take the time to do research and see what is true and what isn’t…. We wouldn’t have the f’d up politicians we have today if people took more time to research the facts and issues behind the candidates and where the stand….. I am tired of the ten second blurb that becomes the truth that others argue over and defend without ever really knowing the facts….....................Tired tired tired tired….....................

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By Max Gross, March 12, 2006 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank god (if you believe in that sort of thing) for Mr Vidal. One can only hope that perhaps, one day, Americans will wake up to the fact that the Bush regime is NOT pursuing the best interests of the average working (or unemployed) Joe.

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By Chev, March 12, 2006 at 7:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Canadians are vicious not only because they pretend to be quiet and orderly, but because they aim at good government: their Constitution starts with raspberryeace, Order and Good Government.

Makes me shiver…

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By chromatius, March 12, 2006 at 6:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One correction, Gore, but an important one. Mussolini did define fascism in a way that is very relevant to today’s US:

“Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.”—Benito Mussolini.

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By cognitorex, March 11, 2006 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

MY FUNNY VALENTINE 04’

Thugs in suits,
wearing crosses,
speaking Jesus,
doing trash.

Blood of Inquisitors,
long cold,
warms

Thugs in suits,
wearing crosses,
speaking Jesus,
doing trash.

(Feb 04’)


‘TOKYO AND TEXAS’*

I recently went to Tokyo,
gosh, they all speak Japanese!

In Rome, in church, guess?
people praying on their knees.

In West Texas, oil men, so friendly,
saying, “I’m honest” with a drawl.

and, “Shucks son, I’m so sorry,
it didn’t work out for y’all.”

*(a prophecy?/June 20, 2004 -
cognitorex.blogspot.com)

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By Matthew J. Crouch, March 11, 2006 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let us get our perspective straight here - it is what Vidal says that is remarkable - His balls to say with wit what the rest of the nation is incapable of even admitting is the National treasure this man embodies. But an Oligarch is an Oligarch and you can’t exactly trust someone to look out for your own best interest when they have the luxury to sell off some extra real estate in the form of a villa in Italy for what was it 23 million euros (before or after taxes to Berlusconi)? Personally I have always lived in a Nickled and Dimed squalor so it’s hard to idealize a fellow man in some incomprehensible reality of extraordinary American privilege. Hell yeah I think he should have been President but maybe the consolation is Vidal is something of an accidental Hero. I’d turn down an invitation to the White House at present (not that I’m expecting any) but I sure would enjoy meeting Vidal for a cup of tea and conversation (which is about as likely as the other invitation).
Let’s not delude ourselves it is the American people as a whole who will be the Hero’s when and if we ever wake up. Vidal is nothing more than our collective National alarm clock with a snooze button.

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By Bruce Colquhoun, March 10, 2006 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think 911 felt like an act of war by another country but I agree that it was done by a fanatic few.  I first thought they were crazy.  Mr. Vidal’s fresh perspect is the kind that we have had so little of since.  On my mind was, who are these people and what do they want; if they wanted a war with us what were they to gain. 

Comon to the dialogue was that “they are part of the down with America crowd,” and everyone nods in understanding.  That doesn’t explain anything.  Took two years for Bin Laden to say something about why, he said it was because the US bombed a hotel in Beruit while US peacekeepers were there.  Could he muster any elaboration? a favorite army, friend, relitive?  Could we?—down with America crowd.  I guess we assume Laden didn’t like Isreal being in Lebonon even though armys were in mass assembling what looked like an invasion force against Isreal.  Leave that as it appears, it’s everybody’s business though Interpol might have been the better route as Gore states.

Clinton tried to kill Bin Laden with a cruise missle, that was after the two embassys and the Navy ship were hit by the Bin Laden camp. 

This is a good question, what is the suicide bomber thinking because they’ve been around before, Iran/Iraq war, and it’s not just strategy it’s religion—poor shmucks out of work get suicide duty, the women wear disguses, the children get sacraficed to save a family reputation; it’s not that we’re that bad, just got too commited in one strategy.

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By commandante che, March 10, 2006 at 3:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

once again (after his hilarious take on the oscars last week) mr vidal demonstrates he is a man to lead the country as president of the second american republic.  we may go completely down the tubes at the hands of necon reactionary forces, but it’ll be a refreshingly honest journey none the less. And the path well lined with many a clever comment by President Vidal.
by the way how are the flags for the VRF (Vidalsitas Revolutionary Front) coming along?
make haste. we can’t wait for the next generation to fix things.  the time has come to say, ‘Ah fuck it!’ and lay down in the roads en masse and shut this country down!
oh, sorry, i forgot, that was the sixties.  nobody has the balls for that anymore. 
forget it, we’re screwed. 
but many thanks, mr vidal, for trying.

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By Jim Slater, March 10, 2006 at 12:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank You again Gore Vidal!

Jesus Christ, what does it take?. ..The “Dubai” question is done, Bush will not be hurt in the least—He’ll pacify the general public but he will not be deferred. If you think he will lose anything, monetarily, make no mistake, that simply will not happen.  He has fooled us again!He has nothing to loose now.  His actions today will gain his own future endevours. He shall rest on his laurels “thinkng” he ruled just and knowing with the people as secondary nobodies, who don’t NEEd to know anyhow!  We let this happen!  Impeach before it’s too late!  Clinton got it for getting his cock sucked and lying—How many people have to die befor Bush gets his ‘comeuppance’?!!!!

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By Jim M. Slater, March 9, 2006 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gore Vidal, oh what do we do?

Where does all this evil leave us all?  You give a great analysis but what is to be done? I’m asking, because I want to know where to begin. This administration has fucked up sooo much and there is so much to mend. Where do we begin?
I will follow!  As will others, but only tell us where to pick up the torch!

I have a great faith in your integrity and wisdom, as you have led the great fight. You are correct, “if it hadn’t been for the ‘queer thing’ I’d have been President!”  You should’ve been President!  Your understanding is universal.  They can’t have us as we are—That will not do!  The sadness of the ‘queer’ agenda is something we can not seem to overcome—Why is that?  Oh Gore help me, as I don’t know where to turn!  WE NEED TO WIN——NOW!!! Your friend, Jim Slater !

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By GUY FALGOUT, March 9, 2006 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We have, in this country, two real tell-the-truth writers, namely KURT VONNEGUT and GORE VIDAL. Thanks to both of you and please continue your brilliant work.

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By Susan Gronemeyer, March 9, 2006 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Once again an excellent article.  It’s a shame that the American populace is more interested in the latest reality(voyarer)show than what is happening to our country.  I think that impeachment of the BushCo criminals, then imprisonment or another just punishment is first on the line.  Why not send them to Iraq to fight on the front lines “against the evil ones” as a possible punishment?

Post to John Conyers at the House of Representatives Web Site.  I attempted to use the email address on the notes in the first Vidal article, but it wouldn’t connect.  So go to the the House of Represenatives site, under his name.  There are approximately 27 Represenatives that have signed Conyers’ request for an investigation, which will lead to impeachment.  Don’t let the worms in the White House resign to get out of their crimes. We have to act to save whatever we can of our country!

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By CaBeachBum, March 9, 2006 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The sound of reason in the dark ages of the Bush Regime. Vidal is eloquent in his common sense and with such an astute perspective of the world. If only our president could read.

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By TomChicago, March 9, 2006 at 5:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gore Vidal’s analysis is always stimulating and for all his erudition, that analysis is basically down-to-earth: “We are treacherous friends.” What we are reaping now, worldwide, is that unhappy sowing.

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By ROBERT ROUSH, March 8, 2006 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

GORE VIDAL IS A GREAT INTELLECTUAL AND INFORMED SOURCE OF POLITICAL HISTORY.  SEEMS TO ME OUR COUNTRY IS FAILING BECAUSE OF HISTORICAL RELATIVISM, WHEN PEOPLE LIVING NOW, WITH POOR EDUCATIONS AND PRE-OCCUPATION WITH RUN-AWAY CONSUMERISM, ARE IGNORANTLY UN-AWARE OF THE GRADUAL AND CONTINUING LOSSES WE ARE INCURRING IN CIVIL RIGHTS, NATIONAL INTEGRITY, AND MORALITY—NOT TO MENTION QUALITY OF LIFE AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION.

LET’S HAVE AND FEW HUNDRED LIKE GORE VIDAL!

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By R. Reed Nesbitt, March 8, 2006 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gore Vidal keeps me from stepping on land mines on poetry lane. He has seen inside the demon’s cave and is worth listening to. I’ve only smelled the stench from afar.

Please read my latest three postings at the Poets Against the War website:
http://www.poetsagainstthewar.org/displaypoem.asp?AuthorID=7345#453082797

There is a puppet show coming to a town near you real soon.
Peace,
R.Reed Nesbitt

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By COBear, March 8, 2006 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Vidal is a treasure.

How do we get it back?  The same way we got it in the first place.  Read the very last line of the Declaration of Independence, the one where they pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.

If enough Americans are willing to lay it all on the line just like that, then we can get it back.

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By Ron Samuels, March 8, 2006 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For openers, Mr. Macaray seems to have missed the fact that it was the interviewer who injected the word “fascism” into the mix, not Mr. Vidal.  Mr. Vidal, in fact, says that he would be “most uncomfortable” using that term to describe “where we are headed” as he was asked.  Mr. Vidal wasn’t searching for a word at all until presented with it.  American Heritage defines “facsism” as “centralization of authority under a dictator.”  Mirriam Webster defines “totalitarianism” as “centralized control by an autocratic authority,” which obviously could be a dictatorship or a monarchy such as that of the tsar.  To criticize Mr. Vidal for deftly analyzing our current state, while giving us a history lesson about the term he is given, which is completely synonymous with the one Mr. Macaray prefers, seems rather beside the point.

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By James K, March 8, 2006 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ WAS one of the biggest blunders: because it’s the very essence of hypocrisy. And it set the tone for the administration.

Aside from that, at a time when the services need every good person they can get, it’s caused hundreds of dismissals and resignations and cost millions. Check the figures. I’m not exaggerating.

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By CatStone Tree, March 8, 2006 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve always liked Gore Vidal’s forthrightness, and I agree with his assessment of the situation in this country:  It’s broken.  The system, I mean.  It’s so warped, twisted and convoluted from all the manipulation, fraud, jockeying, etc., that I believe there is, now, no way it can be repaired or fixed, or even modified to limp along.  Oh, I can make my little corner of the world pretty nice, but I’m really embarrassed to be living in the United States right now; and there are some places which are better.  But I’m too old to move now.  The most positive thing I can think at this point is that it’s going to be very, very interesting to see how it all plays out.  History, and logic, teaches us that there’s no place to go but “down” after you reach the zenith.  Hold on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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By Francois Lafleche, March 8, 2006 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

National Treasure….really ? I am no right wing nut job but Vidal spews out routine left wing drivel and is judged to be a treasure by many of you ? He may, after all,  be correct about the ignorance of the populace.

Has anyone noticed that he has no constructive comments? One gets the idea that wealth redistribution between countries and individuals is his only alternative. I guess we should just ignore the history of such movements and try the experience again, brilliant…..of course he’ll be long gone when our children are all collectively poor, but maybe they will be smart like all those recent European generations of socialists were ! I’m sure people from other countries will love our descendants when they are stepping all over them.
Please, Gore, think of something new.

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By AmeriPundit, March 8, 2006 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Vidal, thank you for your continued service to the country.

In better days one would see you getting a “Presidential Medal of Freedom”.  These days, one can only hope that you are awarded with not being slated for imprisonment for your “seditious” views.

Actually, since the “Presidential Medal of Freedom” is being handed out by a man who was/is allowed to sit in the Oval Office under extremely dubious conditions to people who couldn’t manage a hot-dog stand, shouldn’t it be called the “Pretend Presidential Medal of Freedom”?

Indeed, sober times require sober leadership.  Unfortunately we seem to have too many at the levers of power drunk on that very same power, money, and the usual “spirits” to see us through.

Thanks for the occasional “interventions” but, like to any good addict (in this case the addiction is ignorance), the gutter is beckoning to us (U.S.).

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By Dan Weisman, March 8, 2006 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s a gloomy assessment by the brilliant Mr. Vidal but don’t worry America…Newt Gingrich will save us when he makes his comeback! Preceded by a great comedy show: “Abramhoff Spills The Beans!” Coming to the news channels SOON!

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By Anthony M. Page, March 8, 2006 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gore Vodal is a National Treasure.

Since we are in the process of being bankrupted both morally and financially by the neocon death cult - He is becoming even more important as days go by.

Granted, understanding the roots of how we got to this horrific state of affairs is important, but..

“This place is broken?” What is to be done to fix it?

Myself, and many of my fellows are desperately searching for a repair manual. This Democratic Republic is too precious an experiment in self governance to sit back and watch fail; be it bemused or terrified or full of rage.

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By David Macaray, March 8, 2006 at 11:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As much as I admire Gore Vidal (enough to have read nearly every one of his books), I cringe whenever he doffs his intellectual hat and puts on his entertainment hat.  Has anyone ever railed so vehemnetly against glibness and superficiality…in so glib and superficial a manner as Gore?  It’s more than merely distracting; it’s disappointing and unworthy of him.

For openers, let’s get something straight: the term he’s looking for is “totalitarian,” not “fascist.”  The next time I hear someone glibly use the word “fascist” I’m going to scream.

Second, to refer to Clinton’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy as one of the two biggest blunders during his term of office is pathetically myopic.  Please.

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By Walter M. Sands, Jr., March 8, 2006 at 11:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think Gore Vidal is right on.  I really like the part about “insolvent country with no revenues”.  Thank you Mr Bush!

I am begining to think about how the Roman Empire fell.

My only hope is the American people are finally beginning to see what a mess the country is in, and will begin to systematically “Vote the current Bums out”!

If a majority of our citizens don’t get involved in selecting better, honest leaders in both houses, both parties, in the White House and eliminate the K-Street ties to our Federal purse, I think our country will continue on a path of decent, from which we may never recover.

I am fearful for the future of our beloved country.

Walter M. Sands, Jr.
Keego Harbor, MI
A US Navy Submarine Veteran

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By Hal, March 8, 2006 at 11:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sometimes Vidal is so cogent and forceful, as in his Jonah Redux piece, and sometimes he’s just a free-associating crackpot.

So, Hollywood was corrupted by Washington during the Wilson administration.  Before that, it was just farms and bare hillsides.

And maybe FDR ordered Huey Long’s death, and maybe he didn’t.  All right, then.

Well, Vidal is always interesting.  And at least he refrains here from blaming the Jews, which is a hobby of his.

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By David Young, March 8, 2006 at 10:58 am Link to this comment
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As an ex-pat (Canadian) living in Panama, I loved the reference to the scary quiet Canadians who now have a Bush loving Prime Minister.  The world needs some leaders with the ability to think and speak like Vidal, and then turn the words into action.

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By Jay Ossiander, March 8, 2006 at 10:43 am Link to this comment
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Brilliant guy, wish he had been elected to office years ago.

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By nate, March 8, 2006 at 10:18 am Link to this comment
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Yes I live in alaska and have witnessed the wellcome to the machine of the “70s and the millitary insane build-up here. Its all so sad to see the people change from open , and honest, to peronoid consumers,now so unhappy ,they all work for the goverment,one way or another ,pray to the god of war,and are afraid of everything.Money is holy to americans and the gass station/mart is thier church.To say it use to be betture, no one remembers,those days of clean air and water, fish and animals free for takeing and be a free man in a natural world is against popular opinion and against the LAW…

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By NETTIE, March 8, 2006 at 10:05 am Link to this comment
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MR. VIDAL, THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR WIT AND INSIGHT.  I MUST ASK, DO WE KEEP ON SHUDDERING AND STAY ON TO FIGHT THE INSANITY, WHICH, AS YOU SAY COULD WELL BE ANOTHER 35-40 YRS. WITH THESE FREEDOM EMBRACING NEW JUSTICES WE HAVE,OR DO WE MAKE PLANS TO SHUDDER QUIETLY FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY SINCE THE ENTIRE WORLD IS IN PERIL WITH THIS ADMINISTRATION? I ABHOR THE IDEA OF MY GRANDCHILDREN GROWING UP IN THIS MESS, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT SEEMS THEY’RE TRYING TO SILENCE TEACHERS EVEN AT THE GRADE LEVELS.  AND UNTIL THE VOTING MECHANISM WILL ENSURE OUR VOTES WILL BE COUNTED ACCURATELY, PUSHING BACK AT THE BALLOT BOX IS A NO-GO; EVEN ABSENTEE BALLOTS CANNOT BE TRUSTED SINCE THEY ALL GO THROUGH A CENTRAL TABULATION SYSTEM WHICH CAN BE MANIPULATED.  I’D LIKE TO REGAIN MY REALSITIC OPTIMISM BUT THAT IS BEING DAILY ERODED WITH THIS HIDEOUS BUSH CABAL.

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By Jerry Small, March 8, 2006 at 10:02 am Link to this comment
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Thank you for the Gore Vidal pieces the last two days.  Please, is there a way to get him to agree to be interviewed regularly for Truthdig?  His is a voice we need to hear a lot during these times.

Best regards,
Jerry small

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By William Durbin, March 8, 2006 at 9:40 am Link to this comment
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I tend to be impatient with interviews with the sage/seers, such as Gore Vidal, who seem to feel that, without them, the “people” would never truly understand what’s happening in the world. It was fascinating, however, that on the same day I read this piece, I happened to watch a new program on CBS titled “The Unit”. Vidal’s description of the collusion between the military/industrial complex and Hollywood could not be more vividly demonstrated. It would be hilarious, except for the enormous impact such television series have on the public perceptions of reality.

This series is built around a super secret unit that travels the world doing in the bad guys. They are as amazingly efficient as Tom Clancy’s military in his multiple fantasies. What is particularly hilarious and sinister is that the series stars the same actor who has been selling Allstate, “the good hands people”. There was a particularly chilling line in the show, spoken by the lead hero’s wife, who says something to the effect that “This is the war for the world”. If the Defence Department didn’t fund this series, it’s likely kicking itself for not having dreamed it up sooner. Fox will undoubtedly copy the show, and we will soon be inundated by as many such shows as crime scene investigators.

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By felicity smith, March 8, 2006 at 9:18 am Link to this comment
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Gore Vidal is old enough, has read enough, has been digging for the truth long enough to give us the big picture, warts and all. There aren’t many of his ilk around these days - most unfortunate.  I think he would agree that our country seems to be on the fast-track to complacence and mediocrity.  The city shining on the hill is fast resembling a ghost town.

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By Marvin Wagner, March 8, 2006 at 8:08 am Link to this comment
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Gore and Kurt, from my generation are right on. Clinton, from a later generation experienced a changing controling structure. Common good evolved into personal greed. Controling the media is controling minds. How else can anyone explain the silence of “christians” about the killing of innocent people,world poverty,pollution and class hate. Life is a self concern, not a concern for all life.

Clinton is an intellect. That and six bits may get you a cup of coffee. Clinton has no moral conviction and its not entirely his fault. Our institutions do not instill moral and ethical convictions in us. God and Jesus have failed. Its too bad. It is the key to the best of life for all on this earth. The next flood will be total mind control.

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By ahansen, March 8, 2006 at 7:31 am Link to this comment
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Mr. Vidal, you’ve had the collective balls of the entire murkin media for long enough.  Please give them back?

Then on second thought, don’t bother.  They wouldn’t know what to do with them if you did.  You are a national treasure, sir.

Thank you.

ahansen

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By bob cutler, March 8, 2006 at 6:12 am Link to this comment
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Vidal certainly has it right about the idea of “terrorism” needing to be treated as a criminal act instead of something to go to “war” against.  The British took the criminal approach in the subway bombings. And it worked. Hyping the terrorist idea has sold lots of newspapers and tv ads, but it has distorted the essential nature of the problem.

And he is also right about the general level of understanding by the public. The educational system has produced very little by way of capable, functional, informed citicizens. Who was it who said “you will never go wrong underestimating the intelligence of the American people?”

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By Barrie Johnson, March 8, 2006 at 5:00 am Link to this comment
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a couple of areas of disagreement. Bill Clintons institution of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ in the military, is simply another way of saying it’s none of your damn business. an utterly correct response, but very contrary to the republicans need to stick there nose into anything sexual. the ending of welfare was strictly a republican push which clinton could not prevent in a republican controlled congress. it started here in Wisconsin by that babbling fool tommy thompson. the world is laughing at us.

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By Matthew J. Crouch, March 8, 2006 at 4:48 am Link to this comment
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I might not be a fan of Gore Vidals personal life but then I am no fan of my own personal life either. I don’t always agree with Vidal but I sure learn alot from reading him. In fact I subscribe to online News Alerts devoted to Gore Vidal just so I can read the latest on or from him. I am a typically miseducated American citizen - suburbanized Appalachian intellectual of sorts - trying not to be a consumer. Without Vidals words I would be stupid and humorless in this confusing time of history.
Read me and see what I see from my perspective and experience. I’m no Vidal but my brain depends on him to stay stimulated, sane and amused. —Matt
http://www.blogger.com/profile/1845555
http://belgie.blogspot.com/
http://www.matthewcrouch.com
http://www.mattandbart.com/
http://www.martandbatt.com/

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By norton, March 8, 2006 at 4:23 am Link to this comment
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As a dilettante,  I like him too…

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