Last night literary jack-of-all-trades Gore Vidal passed away at the age of 86 due to complications from pneumonia. The man had a 60-year career in literature, and was a noted liberal figurehead and pundit. And boy, could he turn a phrase. The New York Times turned in a wonderful and elaborate obituary of the man hours after his death.
And yes, he was bisexual, but that's not even the most interesting thing about the guy. You can check out his plethora of novels, essays, articles and screenplays to see that. I say that that only gave him a better understanding of the human condition. Writers are supposed to get weird now and then.
In the wake of Vidal's death, I found this great clip of him and Norman Mailer -- who passed in 2007 -- verbally sparring on The Dick Cavett Show in 1971. It's a pretty prissy fight by today's standards, which is actually pretty charming considering that in 2012, this would have been an expletive-fueled exchange, with angry tweets afterward.
The notoriously brutish Mailer would later punch Vidal in the mouth at a dinner party, to which the verbally cutting Vidal responded, "Words fail Norman Mailer yet again."
Gotta love author feuds. The Cavett clip is randy and you smell the hatred through your YouTube account. One wonders if scotch was involved in this argument, or if Vidal and Mailer just enjoyed putting on a show for the audience.
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Rest in peace, Gore.
According to a press release, PBS and American Masters are making the 2003 documentary American Masters: The Education of Gore Vidal available for streaming on the series' website for the next week or so, and runs around an hour and a half in length. Come on and get Gore-y.