His love of the provocative masked a deep, warm humanity. (via Gore Vidal’s Forgotten Moral Core - Heather Horn - The Atlantic)
- Gore Vidal, the acerbic literary oracle who died Tuesday, was a reliable nutcase in interviews: Once phoned up or sat down, he was guaranteed to oblige whichever eager journalist was on hand with a barrage of arrogantly hilarious comments and absurd gossip.
- His brief, withering, baffling appearance with BBC host David Dimbleby on Election Night 2008 made his legendary 1968 televised Democratic National Convention debates with William Buckley look positively civil by comparison.
- Hilariously, in an October 2009 Atlantic interview with John Meroney, Vidal pronounced Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, and producer Robert Evans “virgins, every last one of them. I can testify to that.” Less hilariously, he also pronounced the victim in the Roman Polanski rape case a “young hooker.” By this point, similarly offensive statements had already enraged former fans and enemies alike: his sympathy for Timothy McVeigh, for example, or belief in government foreknowledge of September 11, which led to a falling out with his anointed successor, Christopher Hitchens.
- “I’m exactly as I appear,” The New York Times reports Vidal once said. “There is no warm, lovable person inside.” He was lying. Vidal will be remembered as a stylistic demigod, incisive above all else, but the supposed conflict between wit and warmth is nonsense: Narcissist though he may have been, this was a man who saw immortality in an “act of love.”