GV is pissed.
November 15, 2003 4:02 PM   Subscribe

Gore Vidal releases new book about the founding fathers, has some words for the current administration. Vidal: But mostly we find the sort of corruption Franklin predicted. Ours is a totally corrupt society. The presidency is for sale. Whoever raises the most money to buy TV time will probably be the next president. This is corruption on a major scale. Enron was an eye-opener to naive lovers of modern capitalism. Our accounting brotherhood, in its entirety, turned out to be corrupt, on the take. With the government absolutely colluding with them and not giving a damn. Bush’s friend, old Kenny Lay, is still at large and could just as well start some new company tomorrow. If he hasn’t already. No one is punished for squandering the people’s money and their pension funds and for wrecking the economy. So the corruption predicted by Franklin bears its terrible fruit. No one wants to do anything about it. It’s not even a campaign issue. Once you have a business community that is so corrupt in a society whose business is business, then what you have is, indeed, despotism. It is the sort of authoritarian rule that the Bush people have given us.
posted by skallas (61 comments total)

 
Okay, y'all know the drill. Lefties over here, righties over there. It's showtime, people! Places!
posted by squirrel at 4:08 PM on November 15, 2003


I don't think this is left vs right as much as modern american vs founding fathers.
posted by skallas at 4:16 PM on November 15, 2003


Me.

Franklin bears... bouncing here and there and everywhere
posted by holloway at 4:37 PM on November 15, 2003


I liked the part where he said that they would have hanged Bush and Ashcroft.

Where's my damn tardis??
posted by rushmc at 4:38 PM on November 15, 2003


Everything I've heard suggests those guys aren't very well-hanged.

Beam me up, Snotty.
posted by wendell at 4:42 PM on November 15, 2003


"I don't think this is left vs right as much as modern american vs founding fathers".

I agree. too bad Modern America Team has better equipment. And steroids.
posted by matteo at 4:44 PM on November 15, 2003


Plus they're not dead, which is almost always an advantage...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:58 PM on November 15, 2003


Vidal is a looney-tune. If everything that he said in the interview is true, then he would have already been locked up, exiled to Tierra Del Fuego, or executed by the government. All without due-process, of course.

And isn't it just amazing that he thinks that the last time we had a "decent" government was - shock! - during The New Deal, which increased the size of the federal government and the reach of the government into the lives of citizens far, far more than anything the current administration has done.
posted by davidmsc at 5:04 PM on November 15, 2003


Plus they're not dead, which is almost always an advantage...

... Unless you're John Ashcroft
posted by Tenuki at 5:05 PM on November 15, 2003


Plus they're not dead, which is almost always an advantage...

See Ashcroft, John vs. Carnahan, Mel for a counterexample.
posted by rushmc at 5:06 PM on November 15, 2003


"...modern american vs founding fathers".
I'm not about to let the slaveowners who signed off on "All Men Are Created Equal" off the hook so easily. I believe that most of the flaws, failings, fetishes, felonies and faux pas of the current adminstration have been done before. The current differences are (1) they're doing more of this crap all at once than most of the previous folks in power (2) technology makes the potential for harm that much greater even with 'well-meaning but misguided' policies and (3) with all this history behind us, you'd think we'd have learned by now.

Oh, crap, I got serious.

<Emily Litella> Nevermind. </Emily Litella>
posted by wendell at 5:06 PM on November 15, 2003


jinx, Tenuki
posted by rushmc at 5:06 PM on November 15, 2003


Tenuki vs. rushmc ?
posted by wendell at 5:07 PM on November 15, 2003


Vidal is a looney-tune. If everything that he said in the interview is true, then he would have already been locked up, exiled to Tierra Del Fuego, or executed by the government.

That doesn't follow at all. Recent history has pretty much proven Bush et al's theory that very little said about them has any impact on the public opinion and the average voter, so why would he care?
posted by rushmc at 5:09 PM on November 15, 2003


not dead, which is almost always an advantage...

you would think so, however Prescott's 'Interregnum For A Bicycle Fishwife' makes clear the distinction in a vaguely Lutheran manner: the utilitarian/egalitarian context tends to constrain random formulations, in the sense of arbitrary constructs, as necessary pinions anchoring the left to the right. That is to say, "Motu Viget".
posted by quonsar at 5:09 PM on November 15, 2003


I greatly admire Vidal as a writer, crit of lit, actor, and humorist. But. When was the last time he had not said something about how god awful Amreica was? At least he has the dignity to relocate to Italy and come back to the U.S. for a film to act in or just for a visit. Italy is so superior in its lack of corruption etc etc etc (who leads the country now? a fascist)... Gore, alas, needs to get into a fist fight once again with Mailer--now those were the good old days.
posted by Postroad at 5:13 PM on November 15, 2003


(hey, quonsar sounds just like the new guy)

Gore rocks...he's been speaking his mind for decades now, and his books are pretty good too. This was my favorite part: [Laughs.] Bush and Ashcroft would have been considered so disreputable as to not belong in this country at all. They might be invited to go down to Bolivia or Paraguay and take part in the military administration of some Spanish colony, where they would feel so much more at home. They would not be called Americans--most Americans would not think of them as citizens.
posted by amberglow at 5:15 PM on November 15, 2003


I think it's important to get the "They do not wish to govern, they wish to rule" meme out and popular. It really does sum the situation up nicely.

I'm a little afraid for Canada right now. We're going to have a change in leadership and while the upcoming leader did, afaik, a pretty decent job as finance minister, I simply don't trust him as a leader. I am afraid he will take us down the same path as America: corporatism over socialism. I like that we have a good balance of concern for social welfare versus concern for business prosperity. I'd hate to see that balance lost.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:16 PM on November 15, 2003


When was the last time he had not said something about how god awful Amreica was?

but my dear Roastpod, i must have failed to communicate clearly, to my severe discredit : random, that is to say, non-pre-ordained formulations, or englobulences, will fail to expand at the expected rate. hope that clarifies. tata!
posted by quonsar at 5:18 PM on November 15, 2003


I think GV distinguishes between the government and the country.

But he does give (a sort of) ammunition to right-wingers. A few days ago I heard some radio talk idiot quoting this article & the latest distortion of Soros & proclaiming "that's the level this campaign has sunken to!" -- referring to the Democratic presidential nominees.
posted by shabrem at 5:18 PM on November 15, 2003


I remember the gold old days of media-based debate: William F. Buckley vs. Gore Vidal...

sixties flashback... watch out...

A
A
A
A
A
A
R
G
H
!!!

Hey, hey, we're the Monkees...
posted by wendell at 5:21 PM on November 15, 2003


At least he has the dignity to relocate to Italy and come back to the U.S. for a film to act in or just for a visit.

Actually, according to the interview, he's a full-time U.S. resident now. Not that it matters.
posted by rushmc at 5:24 PM on November 15, 2003


The New Deal, which increased the size of the federal government

Money. From the rich people. To the poor people who made them rich. But don't worry, davidmsg, that's all getting fixed now.

and the reach of the government into the lives of citizens far, far more than anything the current administration has done.

Now THAT's what ahm talkin' about, BOY! Keep 'em comin'!
posted by squirrel at 5:24 PM on November 15, 2003


Oh! Gore relocated back to the US from Italy. He must be telling the truth and rooting for America now.

Not.

Queens are pathetic in old age as their protestations about the faults of others fail to hide their wrinkles.
posted by paleocon at 5:26 PM on November 15, 2003


Once you have a business community that is so corrupt in a society whose business is business, then what you have is, indeed, despotism. It is the sort of authoritarian rule that the Bush people have given us. The USA PATRIOT Act is as despotic as anything Hitler came up with — even using much of the same language. In one of my earlier books, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, I show how the language used by the Clinton people to frighten Americans into going after terrorists like Timothy McVeigh — how their rights were going to be suspended only for a brief time — was precisely the language used by Hitler after the Reichstag fire.

*cries*
posted by poopy at 5:27 PM on November 15, 2003


Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit outa my hat!
I'm not paranoid! You really are all spies!
It's a Schwinn!
Tortilla Chips? No, good old Fritos for me!
YOU BET YOUR BIPPY!

I'll be right back from my sixties flashback after a word from Ralph Williams Ford, on Ventura Blvd. in Encino...
posted by wendell at 5:29 PM on November 15, 2003


Queens are pathetic in old age as their protestations about the faults of others fail to hide their wrinkles.

Sorry, this was relevant how?
posted by digaman at 5:31 PM on November 15, 2003


Okay, I think I'm back in the right century, now. We're talking about Gore Vidal...
Mister Veedle! This is Ernestine, from the Telephone Company...
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!!
posted by wendell at 5:37 PM on November 15, 2003


Now that you've enlightened us about the nature of queens, paleocon, perhaps you will iluminate the subject of negroes and their mores.
posted by squirrel at 5:51 PM on November 15, 2003


I <3 Gore Vidal.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:52 PM on November 15, 2003


I <3< Gore Vidal
posted by poopy at 5:57 PM on November 15, 2003


Queens? Isn't that where Archie Bunker lived?

oh, no...

Didn't need no welfare state.
Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee, our old LaSalle ran great.
Those were the days.

posted by wendell at 6:17 PM on November 15, 2003


It's sadly, yet unsurprisingly hilarious that the founding fathers are being torqued or misrepresented into siding with the left, though I have no idea what this has to do with conspiracy-koo-koo loony-lefty Vidal.

Be that as it may, please allow a little segue into the actual Anti-Federalist Papers, and the Constitution, to demonstrate how sand-poundingly distracted even the suggestion of such a comparison is.

What's surprising is that Vidal chose Italy and not France, but I digress. Neither are far enough away anyway.

I would dance on his relinquishment of U.S. citizenship with hobnailed boots, whilst exultantly shouting the pledge of allegiance in a field of sun-drenched poppies.

Thanks, America.
posted by hama7 at 6:17 PM on November 15, 2003


Poppies! Poppies! Poppies!!!

Speaking of which, would somebody please peel poopy off Gore Vidal? This is embarassing.
posted by wendell at 6:20 PM on November 15, 2003


I would dance on his relinquishment of U.S. citizenship with hobnailed boots, whilst exultantly shouting the pledge of allegiance in a field of sun-drenched poppies.

I think you've been WAY too into the poppies.
posted by rushmc at 6:25 PM on November 15, 2003


A lot of hatred for Vidal, and fear of what he's saying in the above: and not one word of it rises above the ad hominem for an instant.

It's not difficult to see why -- to argue substantively with your opponent not only requires you to listen to and think what he says; it invites others to do the same. In other words, exactly what you fear and are trying to prevent.

So much safer to spit the usual ritual empty-headed abuse about patriotism, sexuality or cultural antiquity, and a damn sight easier too.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:34 PM on November 15, 2003


"Disco Duck" and Fleetwood Mac.
Coming out of my eight-track.
Michael Jackson still was black.
Those were the days.


"I guess this is the end, Wendell."
"He's Wendell! (points to Wendell) I'm Lewis!"
"Well, whatever, just tell Wendell I said 'bye.'"

posted by keswick at 6:40 PM on November 15, 2003


It's not difficult to see why -- to argue substantively with your opponent not only requires you to listen to and think what he says; it invites others to do the same. In other words, exactly what you fear and are trying to prevent.

Exactly what we saw earlier in the Ted Rall thread. I can see someone deciding that someone is so wacky and irrational that they were beneath their notice, but it baffles me when people think they can convince others of this simply by stating it as a fact.
posted by rushmc at 6:45 PM on November 15, 2003


I <3 Gore Vidal.

back in high school, everyone buttocked gore vidal.
posted by quonsar at 6:51 PM on November 15, 2003


So true, rushmc.
posted by squirrel at 6:54 PM on November 15, 2003


I'm a little afraid for Canada right now. We're going to have a change in leadership and while the upcoming leader did, afaik, a pretty decent job as finance minister, I simply don't trust him as a leader. I am afraid he will take us down the same path as America: corporatism over socialism. I like that we have a good balance of concern for social welfare versus concern for business prosperity. I'd hate to see that balance lost.


Except for that small thing where he claimed to pay of 47 billion dollars of our debt but he really took 45 billin of that from civic funds (EI, which they make harder and harder to get without lowering the cost to workers). Nobody cared, of course, because, hey, balanced budget! The guy is a money man and that's about it. All hail King Martin, friend of the Americans: re-establishment of working relationship with America is our top goal now, of course.

Sorry for the hijack ;)

posted by The God Complex at 7:50 PM on November 15, 2003


I can't find anything even slightly controversial in the bit skallas quotes in his post. Guess I'm just another 'conspiracy-koo-koo loony-lefty'.

As for the rest of Vidal's argument : your sanctified 'founding fathers' were slaveowning (and -rogering) sacks of shit, of course, for the most part, so I'd opine that his underlying point is wonky, even if I hold these contemporary facts he uses to support it as self-evident to anyone with a functioning brainstem.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:15 PM on November 15, 2003


your sanctified 'founding fathers' were slaveowning

Not Franklin.
posted by homunculus at 8:53 PM on November 15, 2003


Gore Vidal vs. William F. Buckley Jr., 1968.

*puts on Surrealistic Pillow*
*goes down to Dupont Circle to score some acid*
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:57 PM on November 15, 2003


God Complex, I'm interested in links to information about Martin's past policies and actions, and insight into what he's likely to do as PM.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:22 PM on November 15, 2003


(Sorry, homunculus, I was pithy at the expense of clarity. I didn't mean 'all', so much as 'a group that included'.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:31 PM on November 15, 2003


Slithy_Tove, that link rocks!:

Vidal called Buckley a "pro-crypto-Nazi," a modest slip of the tongue, he later said, because he was searching for the word "fascist" and it just didn't come out. Inflamed by the word "Nazi" and the whole tenor of the discussion, Buckley snapped: "Now listen, you queer," he said, "stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in you goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered."
posted by trharlan at 9:56 PM on November 15, 2003


And they would have hanged anybody who tried to get this through the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Hanged.

HANGED I say!

Good stuff.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:25 AM on November 16, 2003


Hanged!
Good thing it's a saturday night, eh?
posted by squirrel at 12:43 AM on November 16, 2003


Queens are pathetic in old age as their protestations about the faults of others fail to hide their wrinkles.

Gay Was Good.
posted by alumshubby at 2:37 AM on November 16, 2003


Get a rope.
posted by rushmc at 4:17 AM on November 16, 2003


hama7 - You could join the Afghan opium farmers in "...exultantly shouting the pledge of allegiance in a field of sun-drenched poppies", in gratitude that the US invasion and it's aftermath has allowed a spectacular replanting of the glorious, world-renowned poppy fields of Afghanistan which have, for the past two years, produced near record crops to, in turn, flood the world's drug marketplaces with the soothing palliatives of dreamy opium and heroin to distract many from this accelerating nightmare - of corporate oligarcho-despotism and perpetual war for a perpetual peace (which will never come) - from which we fear we will never awaken.

Vidal may be a bitchy old queen, but bitchy old queens can speak the truth as well as anyone and, in Gore's case, far better than most, I'd say.

However, it matters little since the American press is too comfortably and supinely compromised and presenting to powers that be - whether inside the beltway or inside corporate boardrooms - to broadly publicize the "conspiracy-koo-koo loony" Bush Administration neocon cabal's plans to engage in a type of WW3 for world geo-strategic domination ( a la PNAC ) : the Bush neocons are indeed so relaxedly contemptuous of the press that they jokingly refer to themselves is an "evil cabal" and have openly published their plans and intentions - years ahead of their actual implementation in fact - on the internet, in think tank papers and in books. But no one - except for a few "conspiracy-koo-koo loonies" on the left and the principled right has paid much mind to this. Paul Wolfowitz probably could don a pink tutu and dance down the street in front of the White House singing "We're gonna conquer the world, gonna conquer the world" and escape press notice. The neocons could drop leaflets - declaring their plans - from airplanes.

No one would pay any attention or, at least, the press would ignore this until such plans had metastacized into actual invasions and occupations. Then a few of the more daring and inquisitive of the stampeding herds of reporter-ruminants would eruct an audacious, shocked expose breathlessly narrating the PNAC framework with a self congratulatory air of "you read this here first" (neglecting to notice the past year or two of meticulously informed internet blog commentary on the issue). The press would then congratulate itself on it's Fourth Estate exercise of duty and then roll over and collapse back into a narcotized coma.
posted by troutfishing at 7:00 AM on November 16, 2003


George_Spiggot put it succinctly. Discuss or be dismissed. Criticizing someone's looks and age is a non starter.

As much as I'd like to question Gore Vidal's choice of living in fascist Italy, this topic isn't about that, so let's not digress.

I couldn't agree more with what he says of the current cabal in power today. Damn straight, hang'em all for hanging everyone's liberty's out to dry.


I shall digress a tad here, only to show the flip side of the coin and where Canada is heading, what with the new Prime Minister, Paul Martin [replacing retired Jean Chretien][till an upcoming election leastways] and Canada's politicians of choice [voted in], a Liberal Prime Minister of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty and Toronto's left of center [New Democratic Party supporter] new mayor, David Miller.

Listening to Bono's speech at the Liberal convention, this is what stood out for me in contrast to what Gore Vidal said about the present USA government.
Comparing those who stand by while Africa suffers from the AIDS crisis to those who watched the trains to the Holocaust go by without ever asking where they were going.

"We know where this train is going," Bono said.

Bono show more orchestrated than it looked Bono made a stunning challenge to Martin and to Canada.
To meet it, we have to more than double our contribution to international development by increasing our aid from the 0.29 per cent of GDP that it now is to the 0.7 per cent level that the late former prime minister Lester Pearson recommended 30 years ago.

He mentions the USA's commitment is lower than Canada's, standing at .15%, this, from a country with a considerable difference in population and GDP.


Some quotes from Bono's speech
While Bono had several pages of notes, his focus was clear. He sent out a call to all countries of the world to help relieve Third World debt and raise money for AIDS.

"These are nervous times, these are dangerous times ... for the unlucky many who have to survive on less than a dollar a day and also for all of us, the lucky few, because like or not our fate is bound up in their futures," Bono said.

Bono talked passionately about the AIDS crisis in Africa and the need to supply some of the world's poorest citizens with low-cost drugs. Close to 30 million Africans are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

"Africa is a continent in flames and as we all know fires tend to spread," Bono said. The initiative creates a legal loophole that allows poor nations to override patents on expensive drugs and order cheaper copies from generic drug manufacturers.
More quotes from Bono's speech
"Africa is going down in flames. . . If we really believed, deep down, that Africans were equal to us, we would not allow this to happen."

More telling quotes
Bono also praised Canada as a country where idealism still lives.

``You're not so self-obsessed and this is coming from a rock star, so believe me, I know self-obsessed,'' he said. ``I believe the world needs more Canada.''

Bono linked the despair of AIDS to breeding terrorism.

``It's cheaper to stop people from hating you than it is to defend yourself against it,'' he said.
Bono - London [Ontario, not uk] Free Press Article
He added lingering and chronic poverty creates a ground for international terrorism, just like Afghanistan. He said it would be easier to help Africa now than deal with the damage later.
Bono-"It's cheaper to prevent the fire than to put it out"

Paul Martin's brush with polio

Paul Martin, hard to predict


Ask yourself if an artist [whether it be Bono or Gore Vidal] points out flaws in a government's direction, why would you dismiss it over someone in power and prefer to believe the word of those in power?

Why this unquestionable belief? For what reason would you bow down to their word so unquestionably?

Especially in light of your due process being ripped away from citizens of the USA with each new revision of the Patriot Act as Patriot Act II?

With all the Universities in North America, where is the voice of all those Ph.D.'s of history I also must ask. Why are they not standing up and being counted? What is with the silence?

It may be easy to dismiss Bono attending a political convention and his overall tone of rah rah Canada [I don't care a whit about his band, U2,], but what he is currently doing and saying certainly leads one to think he may have a point.
posted by alicesshoe at 7:26 AM on November 16, 2003


Oh, sorry for all those links on Bono's Liberal convention speech, but I couldn't find the complete speech anywhere. There were snippets of it in the links provided, but not all of it. It would have been easier and better, really.
posted by alicesshoe at 7:32 AM on November 16, 2003


I think y2karl hacked alicesshoe's account. But it was a nice post, regardless.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:56 AM on November 16, 2003


Part of me sort of wishes GV would shut up and grind out a few more historical novels like Julian, but he's saying a lot of things that I think about too in my more despressed moments of reflection. He gets dissed a lot for it, but a prophet is without honor in his own time.

I feel like about all I can do is keep on votin' Libertarian because I don't believe in the two-party system and I don't trust the Democrats anymore. With the advent of electronic voting and the controversies over how (un)reliable and (in)secure that is, even that tiny bit of participatory protest within the system is beginning to feel mighty precarious lately.
posted by alumshubby at 8:36 AM on November 16, 2003


Queens? Isn't that where Archie Bunker lived?

It's also where I live. Now get outta my chair, meatheads.
posted by jonmc at 8:39 AM on November 16, 2003


world-renowned poppy fields of Afghanistan

No relation to my comment whatever, but a daring, yet precocious segue.

Bonus points for using "Bush" and "junta" in the same sentence.

See ya next Bush-bash, meatheads.
posted by hama7 at 4:49 PM on November 16, 2003


hama7 - thanks for the compliment except - I didn't use the word 'junta' at all in that comment you're talking about. However, I should have used the word "necrotized" instead of 'narcotized'.
posted by troutfishing at 8:17 PM on November 16, 2003


I prefer "narcotized" in this (and every) instance.
posted by squirrel at 11:03 PM on November 16, 2003


Necrotization is such a bummer (unless it's narcotized).

The director of "Pi" raised that very subject in his second, rather gruesome film..........
posted by troutfishing at 9:35 PM on November 21, 2003


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