Gore Vidal, fully Eugene Luther Gore Vidal

Vidal, fully Eugene Luther Gore Vidal

American Author, Playwright, Essayist, Screenwriter and Political Activist

Author Quotes

Reality is something the human race doesn't handle very well.

That peculiarly American religion, President-worship.

The late Mr. [Carl] Sandburg was a public performer of the first rank ("Ker-oh-seen!" he crooned in one of the first TV pitches for the jet-engine — ole banjo on his knee, white hair mussed by the jet-stream), a poet of the second rank (who can ever forget that feline-footed fog?) and a biographer of awesome badness.

There are some joys in the higher hypochondria.

To speak today of a famous novelist is like speaking of a famous cabinetmaker or speedboat designer. Adjective is inappropriate to noun.

WeÂ’re the most captive nation of slaves that ever came along. The moral timidity of the average American is quite noticeable. EverybodyÂ’s afraid to be thought in any way different from everyone else.

When you get a hereditary disease, you realize you're part of the main. No matter how much you may have tried to be your own man, you're going to be like your parents.

Religions are manipulated in order to serve those who govern society and not the other way around.

The American press exists for one purpose only, and that is to convince Americans that they are living in the greatest and most envied country in the history of the world. The Press tells the American people how awful every other country is and how wonderful the United States is and how evil communism is and how happy they should be to have freedom to buy seven different sorts of detergent.

The malady of civilized man is his knowledge of death. The good artist, like the wise man, addresses himself to life and invests with his private vision the deeds and thoughts of men. The creation of a work of art, like an act of love, is our one small yes at the center of a vast no.

There is hardly an American male of my generation who has not at one time or another tried to master the victory cry of the great ape as it issued from the androgynous chest of Johnny Weissmuller, to the accompaniment of thousands of arms and legs snapping during attempts to swing from tree to tree in the backyards of the Republic.

To turn life into words is to make life yours to do with as you please, instead of the other way round

Well, it's been the monopolizing of great wealth, which tends to happen in basically unjust societies and undemocratic societies. We have plenty of would-be democrats, would-be liberals, and would-be progressives. But how do you organize? The Democratic Party is a machine to get votes for its people, none of who should probably be elected to the high offices of state. That's all. The Republican Party is fundamentally crooked and might well be outlawed one of these days. Le Pen, you know, in France, who is an out-and-out fascist, the French have managed in some clever way to contain him. I mean, he's always running for president; his votes never seem to show up. I don't know how they do it, but we've got to do that with the Republican base, the religious right. We don't want them running the country. Nobody does. Certainly not the founding fathers. And I think we have to ride herd on them and make sure they do not seize the state.

Whenever a friend succeeds a little something in me dies.

Sex is. There is nothing more to be done about it. Sex builds no roads, writes no novels and sex certainly gives no meaning to anything in life but itself.

The American reader cannot bear a surprise. He knows that this is the greatest country on earthÂ…and evidence to the contrary is not admissible. That means no inconvenient facts, no new information. If you really want the readerÂ’s attention, you must flatter him. Make his prejudices your own. Tell him things he already knows. He will love your soundness.

The more money an American accumulates, the less interesting he becomes.

There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.

TodayÂ’s public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they canÂ’t read them either.

Well, remember, all that area from which the Gore family comes was solid Democrat and progressive under Roosevelt for several decades. So they just didn't become Republicans because they all wanted to be bankers. They became it because they didn't like black people, and they thought the Democrats were pushing integration too fast. And that's how the great split came about, to the shame of the whole country.

Where there is no desire or pursuits, there is no wholeness. But there are satisfying lesser states, fragments.

Sexual revelation in literature, must be tactful and must serve plot

The average "educated" American has been made to believe that, somehow, the United States must lead the world even though hardly anyone has any information at all about those countries we are meant to lead. Worse, we have very little information about our own country and its past. That is why it is not really possible to compare a writer like Howells with any living American writer because Howells thought that it was a good thing to know as much as possible about his own country as well as other countries while our writers today, in common with the presidents and paint manufacturers, live in a present without past among signs whose meanings are uninterpretable.

The most interesting thing about writing is the way that it obliterates time. Three hours seem like three minutes. Then there is the business of surprise. I never know what is coming next. The phrase that sounds in the head changes when it appears on the page. Then I start probing it with a pen, finding new meanings. Sometimes I burst out laughing at what is happening as I twist and turn sentences. Strange business, all in all. One never gets to the end of it. ThatÂ’s why I go on, I suppose. To see what the next sentences I write will be.

There is no such thing as a homosexual or a heterosexual person. There are only homo- or heterosexual acts. Most people are a mixture of impulses if not practices.

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