The Reflections of Gore Vidal

Topics: Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, Truman Capote Pages: 5 (2022 words) Published: October 8, 1999
The Reflections of Gore Vidal
There are many people in today’s society that would love to have their views published for the whole world to view, but few can match the wit and originality of Gore Vidal. Vidal is the author of many short stories, novels, playwrights, and movie scripts. Gore Vidal has been and continues to be an influential figure in American literature. One of Vidal’s most effective strategies as a writer has been to make the public aware of his opinions through his very popular and controversial works. Gore Vidal is an opinionated man with strong beliefs on many aspects of modern American culture.

Gore Vidal is a man who likes to provoke controversy. The works of Gore Vidal revolves around three main themes: human behavior, politics, and homosexuality. These are Vidal’s favorite subjects to write about because they are all something he deals with every day of his life. Readers of Gore Vidal should realize that he is out to shock the public with his beliefs, and he accomplishes this task quite well by being in favor of homosexuality. Gore Vidal sees nothing but positive outcomes should homosexuality become an accepted practice. According to American Writers “The consequences of publishing a gay novel in 1948 were severe, and Vidal’s literary career nearly ground to a premature halt” (681). With the publication of The City and the Pillar, Vidal became ostracized by his fellow writers and the public as well. Homosexuality is not an accepted practice today by many, and since it was less common in 1948, some became enraged and refused to buy any of his work (681). For years Vidal could not sell anything because he had already been labeled as an advocate of homosexuality. In an interview with Salon, Vidal said that he thought that within the next century the government would encourage homosexuality to decrease the population (3). Gore Vidal believes that children are no longer needed and that they are only taking up valuable space in today’s world (3). Mr. Vidal believes that by promoting Dunst 2

homosexuality the over crowding will cease to be a problem (3).He refuses to have children because he thinks he will only be adding to the world’s population problem. (“Vidal, Gore” 683) Vidal also sees the practice of homosexuality as a cure for sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS. Vidal thinks that by eliminating all male and female intercourse the sexually tranmitted diseases will eventually cease to be passed on as he believes this is the safest form of sexual intercorse. (684)

One of Gore Vidal’s more popular beliefs is that women should never be abused. He shows this side of him after making an appearance on The Dick Cavett Show. Cavett wanting to increase his ratings asked Vidal to make an appearance on his show along with his arch rival Norman Mailer. The altercation started after Vidal compared Mailer to Charles Manson, this led to an on-air altercation (234). This altercation was also the product of Mailer being drunk and calling Vidal “queer.” The story told by Karen Rood in her American Literary Almanac is that both guests declined but agreed to come on the show separately and were booked back-to-back (Rood 234). Vidal brought up the fact that Mailer had stabbed his wife, which infuriated Mailer to the point that he walked off the show. This fight probably started over Vidal’s beliefs about homosexuality, which angered many of his peers. However, both men have since settled their differences. This shows that while Vidal will stand up for what is right he isn’t going to let someone bully his or her beliefs on him. he will always stand up for what he believes to be correct. Gore Vidal uses one of his greatest interests as the theme for many of his works -- politics. Politics are in Vidal’s blood. He has family ties to John F. Kennedy, through...

Cited: Dunst 6
“Gore (Eugene Luther) Vidal (1925- ).” p.1. Online. Internet. Available:
8. Mar. 1999.
“Gore Vidal.” American Writers, 1996.
Rood, Karen. American Literary Almanac. New York: Bruccoli Clark Layman, Inc., 1988.
“The Salon Interview: Gore Vidal,” Salon pp.7. Online. Internet. Available:
9. Mar. 1999.
Vidal, Gore. A Thirsty Evil. New York: Signet Books, 1956.
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