By Kasia Anderson
Those readers who have followed the saga of Gore Vidal’s bid to harness the sun to power his house may be heartened to hear that the esteemed author has emerged victorious in his green-minded mission: Vidal’s solar system is back in working order.
According to the solar power specialists who oversaw the installation process at his Hollywood Hills home, Vidal indeed did his part to follow the rule book in installing the system, which was activated in April but unceremoniously shut down in June, when the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power came for an inspection. Thus ensued several rounds of bureaucratic shenanigans which pushed Vidal fully back onto the grid and spurred him to wonder just who owns the sun—as well as to challenge The New York Times’ recent take on the American public’s current level of interest in this crucial and renewable energy source.
When his solar setup was finally restored to full power in mid-July, Vidal had a few choice words regarding the aforementioned municipal utility: “I’m relieved to be back on solar power and no longer dependent on public utilities,” he said. “What funny words, as they’re about as private as you can get, and they like to think that they’re universal!” Vidal claimed that the DWP wreaked havoc on a perfectly functioning solar unit, which he pronounced to be “Wonderful! ... It’s the only time I ever felt free of a society which, I think, more and more people will want to feel free of. Once you’re no longer dependent on them for energy, you are free. So, it’s good for our spirits, it’s good for the environment.”
Regarding his less generous critics from previous posts, many of whom gestured at his advanced age in order to question his grasp of technology or to cast him as an incorrigible curmudgeon or a witless fuddy-duddy, Vidal cheerfully retorted: “I have been actually accused of senility. Well, let me tell you ... I am in the springtime of my senility—a vigorous springtime! Jonquils are growing in my path. Watch out!”
And after reading the New York Times piece downplaying the marketability of solar power, he composed the following response:
“If this is literally true, what is the cause? It is certainly not the public’s indifference you confess; our imagination has been captured, as you admit. I suspect this disingenuous attack on an important form of renewable energy is as one with your usual veneration for vast monopolies, environment-wrecking projects and the like. But it is not wise, ever, to falsify a science or technology [about which] many of your readers know more than you do and where your advice in these matters is suspect. So cool off—there’ll be plenty of ice on Judgment Day.”
Click here to read about Germany’s Renewable Energy Law.
Follow this link for information about Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Million Solar Roofs plan.
Truthdig / Zuade Kaufman
When Vidal installed his solar system three months ago, he didn’t realize he was about to become an expert on the ins and outs of local municipal bureaucracy at L.A.‘s Department of Water and Power.