Gore Vidal, fully Eugene Luther Gore Vidal

Vidal, fully Eugene Luther Gore Vidal

American Author, Playwright, Essayist, Screenwriter and Political Activist

Author Quotes

Professor Frank recalled my idle remark some years ago: 'Never pass up the opportunity to have sex or appear on television.' Advice I would never give today in the age of AIDS and its television equivalent Fox News.

Television is a great leveler. You always end up sounding like the people who ask the questions.

The hatred Americans have for their own government is pathological, if understandable. At one level it is simply thwarted greed: since our religion is making a buck, giving a part of that buck to any government is an act against nature.

The unfed mind devours itself.

Those who have not undergone minor disasters are being held in reserve for something major.

We do not, of course, write literary criticism at all now. Academe has won the battle in which Wilson fought so fiercely on the other side. Ambitious English teachers now invent systems that have nothing to do with literature or life but everything to do with those games that must be played in order for them to rise in the academic bureaucracy. Their works are empty indeed. But then, their works are not meant to be full. They are to be taught, not read. The long dialogue has broken down. Fortunately, as Flaubert pointed out, the worst thing about the present is the future. One day there will be no... But I have been asked not to give the game away. Meanwhile, I shall drop a single hint: Only construct!

When I was young, I was bored shitless with being desired by others. I don't look in the mirror anymore.

You think of the Republican Party as a party, like the British Conservative Party - well it isn't! I don't say that the British Conservative Party is much better, I'm only saying the Republican Party is a mindset. They love war! They love money! They're out to hang on through all the connections that they have, through their various operatives.

Professor Richard N. Current fusses, not irrelevantly, about the propriety of fictionalising actual political figures. I also fuss about this. But he has fallen prey to the scholar-squirrel's delusion that there is a final Truth revealed only to the tenured few in their footnote maze; in this he is simply naïve.

Television is now so desperately hungry for material that they''re scraping the top of the barrel

The idea of a good society is something you do not need a religion and eternal punishment to buttress; you need a religion if you are terrified of death.

The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country — and we haven't seen them since.

To a born-again atheist like myself, it is clear that each of us has multiple selves, talents, perceptions. But to the Roman Catholic, unity is all.

We have ceased to be a nation under law but instead a homeland where the withered Bill of Rights, like a dead trumpet vine, clings to our pseudo-Roman columns.

When Ronald Reagan's career in show business came to an end, he was hired to impersonate, first, a California governor and then an American president who would reduce taxes for his employers, the Southern and Western New Rich, much of whose money came from the defence industries. There is nothing unusual about this arrangement. All recent presidents have had their price-tags.

Young people are more hopeful at a certain age than adults, but I suspect that's glandular. As for children, I keep as far from them as possible. I don't like the sight of them. The scale is all wrong. The heads tend to be too big for their bodies, and the hands and feet are a disaster. They keep falling into things. The nakedness of their bad character! We adults have learned how to disguise our terrible character, but children, well, they are like grotesque drawings of us. They should be neither seen nor heard, and no one must make another one.

Questioning what seem to be the absurd beliefs of another group is a good way of recognizing the potential absurdity of many of one's own cherished beliefs.

That is sad until one recalls how many bad books the world may yet be spared because of the busyness of writers.

The important thing is not the object of love, but the emotion itself.

The worst thing to happen to Lincoln - aside from the unfortunate incident at Ford's theatre - was to fall into the hands of Carl Sandburg.

To a man, ornithologists are tall, slender, and bearded so that they can stand motionless for hours, imitating kindly trees, as they watch for birds.

We must declare ourselves, become known; allow the world to discover this subterranean life of ours which connects kings and farm boys, artists and clerks. Let them see that the important thing is not the object of love, but the emotion itself.

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."

Realism has always been called cynicism.

That loyal retainer of the Chase Manhattan Bank, the American president.

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Vidal, fully Eugene Luther Gore Vidal
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American Author, Playwright, Essayist, Screenwriter and Political Activist