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Author Topic: RIP Gore Vidal  (Read 2458 times)
OldRoy
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« on: August 01, 2012, 05:49:53 AM »
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The great American author, political and cultural commentator died today.
Here is a link to his website
http://www.pitt.edu/~kloman/vidalframe.html
and another to Hedi Slimane's B&W portraits of Gore Vidal toward the end of his life.
http://www.hedislimane.com/

I saw him at the Brighton Festival a few years ago where he effortlessly swatted away one of British television's most experienced interviewers and from his wheelchair embarked on a coruscating analysis of contemporary political life. For anyone who hasn't read him, try his essays: any of them!

Roy
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Rob C
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« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2012, 03:15:15 PM »
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He used to live up in Ravello, on the Amalfi coast. Nice. In fact, my website's name has a lot to do with Roma and Amalfi, but that's personal and sort of sacred to my late wife and I, so I won't elaborate, but I can tell you that that part of the world is something truly else.

I wonder if any of these characters will ever be replaced by contemporary alternatives; it's as if something had its era and then passed slowly into memory, almost during its own lifetime. Where are the giants? Or do these pesky beams and motes blind us all? Or do we just have to have piled on the decades to know what's no more and will never be again?

Rob C
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 10:23:41 AM by Rob C » Logged

kikashi
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« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2012, 03:30:54 PM »
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Rob, I for one live in hope that my genius will be appreciated (and, indeed, identified) after I'm dead. Probably long after.

I can't see its happening before then, sadly.

Jeremy
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Rob C
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« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2012, 10:28:13 AM »
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Rob, I for one live in hope that my genius will be appreciated (and, indeed, identified) after I'm dead. Probably long after.

I can't see its happening before then, sadly.

Jeremy



It's a common fate we share; not much can be done about the unappreciative world about us! But I suppose it's logical: we are the artists, not those who don't quite see our value.

;-)

Rob C
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OldRoy
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« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2012, 10:54:05 AM »
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I guess those that are going to read him, or have read him already, aren't going to need the recommendation but the first volume of his autobiography "Palimpsest" is brilliant. The following volume, "Point to Point Navigation: A Memoir" is suffused with gloom and feels like the work of an exhausted man. My own judgement, shared by many others, is that his essays and memoirs are ultimately what he will be best remembered for. Everyone should have a copy of one of the essay collections (which unfortunately tend to involve much duplication) such as "United States".
Roy
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2012, 05:47:42 PM »
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I guess those that are going to read him, or have read him already, aren't going to need the recommendation but the first volume of his autobiography "Palimpsest" is brilliant. The following volume, "Point to Point Navigation: A Memoir" is suffused with gloom and feels like the work of an exhausted man. My own judgement, shared by many others, is that his essays and memoirs are ultimately what he will be best remembered for. Everyone should have a copy of one of the essay collections (which unfortunately tend to involve much duplication) such as "United States".
Roy



You could be forgiven for thinking that he had the soul of a photographer at that stage...

;-) or, again ;-(

Rob C
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OldRoy
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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2012, 06:23:01 AM »
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You could be forgiven for thinking that he had the soul of a photographer at that stage...

;-) or, again ;-(

Rob C

If "suffused with gloom" implies photography (and I'm not sure why it would...) take a look at the Hedy Slimane portraits of Gore Vidal shot last year. A man looking into the abyss.
Roy
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Rob C
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2012, 05:58:36 AM »
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If "suffused with gloom" implies photography (and I'm not sure why it would...) take a look at the Hedy Slimane portraits of Gore Vidal shot last year. A man looking into the abyss.
Roy




Not photography, Roy, photographers.

We are all staring out from the brink of that empty zone. Naturally, that hugely depends on one's definition of photographers, but I think you can probably deduce my personal interpretation of the term from this website here. Photographers, to my thinking, are like ancient soldiers in that they live or die by their sword. The rest of the camera 'fraternity'? I have no definition, and by its very lack I can see that there's absolutely no reason that they might feel photo-related gloom in their lives: they've escaped the consequence of the internecine war going down to the very death. Who said there's no perfect crime?

Rob C


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kencameron
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2012, 07:07:12 AM »
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The great American author, political and cultural commentator died today.
Here is a link to ... Hedi Slimane's B&W portraits of Gore Vidal toward the end of his life.
http://www.hedislimane.com/
The shot of the Olivetti Lettera manual typewriter in the Hedi Slimane portfolio made me wonder to what camera a photographer of his age might have remained loyal. Some kind of Leica, I suppose. I agree with those who like his essays best of all his work.
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Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2012, 03:20:22 PM »
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I spent my entire career using a Lettera 32, which I still have, first to find business and then invoice it. It even became useful in this shot, though I'd be surprised if many in this computer world understood the caption.

But I did, so I suppose that's reward enough.

;-)

Rob C

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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2012, 09:57:36 PM »
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His reward?
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Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2012, 02:19:27 AM »
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I liked the comment about the guppy and Moby Dick.
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mediumcool
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« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2012, 06:24:13 AM »
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Read *Julian* many years ago, and found it enthralling, followed by the worthy *Burr* and the magnificent *Lincoln*. By then I was hooked, but there are still gaps in my Vidal reading, sadly not to be extended.

Televised encounters between Vidal and Norman Mailer, and Vidal and William Buckley Jr, are available online; what an intelligent and urbane chap he was!
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« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2012, 12:45:10 PM »
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As Andrew Ferguson pointed out in The Weekly Standard: "The most puzzling thing about the career of Gore Vidal . . . was the reverence in which he was held by people who might have known better . . ." Andrew went on to point out some of the things about which Vidal was notoriously wrong, which in sum, came to practically everything. Finally, he examined Vidal's clashes with Bill Buckley, and summed up with: "Buckley's views were safely on the rightward edge of the American popular consensus; Vidal's were shared by a tiny minority -- cranks and ignoramuses in Hollywood, Manhattan, Northwest Washington, D.C., various college towns, and Ruby Ridge, Idaho."

Seems to me Andrew pretty much summed up the situation.

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NancyP
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« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2012, 04:52:31 PM »
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Of course the Weekly Standard would give such an opinion of Vidal. After all, Vidal, and others, saw that the 43rd President Bush was the proverbial emperor without clothes. GWB started with a surplus and ended with a big deficit.
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mediumcool
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« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2012, 06:12:59 PM »
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Of course the Weekly Standard would give such an opinion of Vidal. After all, Vidal, and others, saw that the 43rd President Bush was the proverbial emperor without clothes. GWB started with a surplus and ended with a big deficit.

Nancy, much of the world looks on in fascinated horror at the attitudes and actions of the Loony Right in the US, particularly with the perpetual opposition to decent, basic medical cover. And don’t get us started on Shrub! Vidal was a bright light in the gloom Grin
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kencameron
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« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2012, 06:40:52 PM »
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Andrew went on to point out some of the things about which Vidal was notoriously wrong

Show me anyone who lived as long as Vidal who wasn't wrong about a long list of things. Most people are at least half wrong about most things most of the time. Present company not excepted. I admire Vidal because he wrote like an angel and always brought a deep knowledge of culture and history to the table. I wouldn't judge him by adding up points where I agree or disagree with him any more than I would judge a photographer in that way. "Andrew" is another guppy.
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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2012, 07:32:39 PM »
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...Andrew went on to point out some of the things about which Vidal was notoriously wrong, which in sum, came to practically everything.

But, oh to be so 'wrong', to see right with such clarity and to write with such passion, wit and acidity that we actually noticed. But likely a good thing that he failed in politics and was never President...
« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 07:35:17 PM by Chris Sanderson » Logged

Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2012, 09:15:38 PM »
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… likely a good thing that he failed in politics …

I wonder. Because politics is the art of compromise, Gore Vidal would not have invariably had his own way, but at least he would have provided a breath of fresh air in debate and rhetoric. And president; was he known to harbour ambitions in that direction?
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« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2012, 02:57:26 PM »
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But, oh to be so 'wrong', to see right with such clarity and to write with such passion, wit and acidity that we actually noticed. But likely a good thing that he failed in politics and was never President...

The man certainly could write, but I'll stick with Andrew Ferguson and agree with you, Chris. Vidal never actually had even the remotest possibility of succeeding in politics, and it's certainly a good thing. Even our off-the-cliff left-wingers aren't that crazy.
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