I would hate to start off an elegy with “so-and-so was a lot of things,” as I feel that Mr Vidal would tut-tut that convention. I’ll try to do so in another way.
Gore Vidal died on Tuesday, at the age of 86. (Check out Matthew Hays’ obit and interview with Vidal.) He was opinionated, stubborn, articulate, monied, arguably prolific, a fighter, a playwright, a screenwriter, a novelist, an essayist, an actor and so much more.
He is the man who had sex with men who said that “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.” He is the man who published The City and The Pillar, a novel that got his name banned from The New York Times for years. He ran for office. He pissed off Norman Mailer and delighted in making fun of Truman Capote and many others. He was the last of a dying breed: an erudite, intelligent man of letters who knew how to speak his mind in the world of soundbites and quips.