"Often the protagonist of an Important Novel of the Latter Half of The 20th Century is male, and is a thinly veiled version of the author. So thin of a veil. A veil so thin is it possible to discern whether the author was circumcised. Also, he often displays a particular stomach-turning combination. He regards women as, one the one hand a mere necessary evil, not things one would be inclined to befriend or discuss life with, and on the other hand, beings of terrible power that make one very angry indeed." -- Belle Waring takes aim at a particular kind of novelist, the canonical important American late 20th century novelist and his 21st century would-be heir
. (More background
: it's all Jonathan Franzen's fault
posted by MartinWisse
on Sep 26, 2013 -
With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.
December 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Invisible Cities
-- the sublime metaphysical travelogue by author-journalist Italo Calvino
. In a series of pensive dialogues with jaded emperor Kublai Khan
, the explorer Marco Polo
describes a meandering litany of visionary and impossible places, dozens of surreal, fantastical cities
, each poetically reifying ideas vital to language, philosophy, and the human spirit. This gracefully written love letter to urban life has inspired countless tributes
, but it's just the most accessible of Calvino's fascinating literary catalogue. Look inside for a closer look at his most remarkable works, links to English translations of his magical prose, and collections of artistic interpretations from around the web -- including this treasure trove of essays, excerpts, articles, and recommended reading
. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 30, 2012 -
Why We Fight is a series of seven documentary films commissioned by the United States government during World War II whose purpose was to show American soldiers the reason for U.S. involvement in the war. Later on they were also shown to the general U.S. public to persuade them to support American involvement in the war.
Each of them is in the common domain having been produced by the US government, available online, and linked below the fold: [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Sep 16, 2012 -
"At 83, he has lived through one third of the lifespan of the United States. If anyone incarnates the American century that has ended, it is him. He was America's greatest essayist, one of its best-selling novelists and the wit at every party. He holidayed with the Kennedys, cruised for men with Tennessee Williams, was urged to run for Congress by Eleanor Roosevelt, co-wrote some of the most iconic Hollywood films, damned US foreign policy from within, sued Truman Capote, got fellated by Jack Kerouac, watched his cousin Al Gore get elected President and still lose the White House, and – finally, bizarrely – befriended and championed the Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh." Johann Hari meets Gore Vidal
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth
on Oct 7, 2009 -
John L. Perry worked in the Johnson and Carter administrations. He posts once a week at a blog called Right Angles
. Perry's latest column
suggested that a "civilized" military coup to "resolve the Obama problem" should not be dismissed as "unrealistic". Another person who thinks a military dictatorship may be in America's future? Gore Vidal
posted by lukemeister
on Sep 30, 2009 -
I am Myra Breckinridge whom no man will ever possess. Clad only in garter belt and one dress shield, I held off the entire elite of the Trobriand Islanders, a race who possess no words for "why" or "because." Wielding a stone axe, I broke the arms, the limbs, the balls (nsfw) of their finest warriors, my beauty blinding them, as it does all men... [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese
on Jun 1, 2009 -
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
on Nov 15, 2003 -
Outspoken Vidal makes dire accusations
I have always liked Vidal for his skills as a writer and his wit and his literary criticism...he seemed, though to be getting odd when he shifted from light humor about the Amreican political game to his mpore recent serious charges against American "imperialism."
Is he to be quicly dismissed as getting senile or is he perhaps on to something, since he usually supports with examples those things he attacks.
posted by Postroad
on Jan 15, 2003 -
The Latest Salvo From Gore Vidal, The Last Of The Great Wits:
He's a tremendous snob, infuriatingly opinionated and sets out to upset all and sundry, left, right and centre. But Gore Vidal
is still the meanest, fastest wit in the West. Harry Kloman
runs a magnificent fan site
, bursting with goodies and verbal violence which is an education in itself. Or, for a contrarian view, check out rival wit John Simon's demolition job
. But come on - can anyone
compete with the Master? Christopher Hitchens? Fran Lebowitz? James Woolcott? Clive James? I think not.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Apr 24, 2002 -
Novelist Vidal to watch McVeigh die
McVeigh “put his reason (for the bombing) upon a sense of justice,” Vidal said. “This guy’s got a case — you don’t send the FBI in to kill women and children,” he said, a reference to the government’s deadly raid on the Davidians’ complex at Waco. Vidal said, however, he wants people to know how horrified he is by the bombing. The author said he told McVeigh in a letter that if the bomber had blown up FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., “at midnight when no one was in it, ‘you’d be a national hero.’”
posted by matteo
on May 5, 2001 -
Very important article about Israel, says Jorn
An article published on Arab web site, with intro by Gore Vidal, and re-issued with intro by Edward Said, is written by highly credentialled Israeli professor. Well, the opening intro para by Vidal is just plain contrary to facts. The Russian leader, Stalin, was violently anti-semitic and yet his country (33-13) also voted for the State of Israel. Did the "Jewish Lobby" give Joe a few million too?
Jorn. This stuff is getting tiresome. Be anti-Israel if you will. But please do not become a bore.
posted by Postroad
on Apr 1, 2001 -
Brilliant and funny Gore Vidal Interview
Question: "Al Gore is a distant relative of yours. Do you see a debate going on between him and Texas Gov. George W. Bush?"
Answer: "No, no, there's no debate going on right now. They are essentially the same on the basic issues. They are both candidates of corporate America. They're paid for. How did George W. Bush, a man who has officially [advocated for] education, but has carefully avoided education for himself, end up where he's at? He's about the most ignorant man who has ever run for president...but he got $70 million from corporate America, and they expect him to pay them back." (partial transcript here
posted by johnb
on Sep 20, 2000 -