Monday, June 16, 2008

What is Gore Vidal Talking About?

(image via vanderbilt)

We've been reading Gore Vidal's trademark syntactically elegant sentences for close to two decades. The American satirist writes those witty, superb sentences in acid. His essays -- probably the literary if not philosophical equal of Michele de Montaigne -- have targeted everyone from William F. Buckley, Jr, to the silly Norman "Poddy" Podhoretz to his bete noir Truman Capote to the overcomplicated prose of Susan Sontag. And he was right on all counts, brutally exposing their weaknesses.

That was then.

Now it seems like Vidal, a childhood idol, thinks -- we guess -- that Senator John McCain faked his 5 1/2 year imprisonment in Vietnam. We think. Vidal is vague in the NY Times Sunday Magazine. The boldface questions were "CONDUCTED, CONDENSED AND EDITED BY DEBORAH SOLOMON," while the answers are Vidallian:

"And what about Mr. McCain? Disaster. Who started this rumor that he was a war hero? Where does that come from, aside from himself? About his suffering in the prison war camp?

"Everyone knows he was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. That’s what he tells us.

"Why would you doubt him? He’s a graduate of Annapolis. I know a lot of the Annapolis breed. Remember, I’m West Point, where I was born. My father went there.

"So what does that have to do with the U.S. Naval Academy down in Annapolis? The service universities keep track of each other, that’s all. They have views about each other. And they are very aware of social class and eventually money, since they usually marry it."

But .. What does that even mean?

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