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Gore Vidal: Anti-Semitism Is What Got Roman Polanski In Trouble, Not Rape

gvidal2

Cranky senior gay Gore Vidal, 83 and who laughs at your marriage rights ambition, is one of the world’ greatest living thinkers. In some circles. So we must take his views very seriously, even the ones about convicted child rapist Roman Polanski. Who he thinks got a bum wrap.

roman polanski

“I really don’t give a fuck [about Polanski],” Vidal tells a reporter. “Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she’s been taken advantage of? … The media can’t get anything straight. Plus, there’s usually an anti-Semitic and anti-fag thing going on with the press – lots of crazy things. The idea that this girl was in her communion dress, a little angel all in white, being raped by this awful Jew, Polacko – that’s what people were calling him – well, the story is totally different now from what it was then. … Anti-Semitism got poor Polanski. He was also a foreigner. He did not subscribe to American values ["lying and cheating"] in the least. To [his persecutors], that seemed vicious and unnatural.”

Mr. Vidal is aware the girl was thirteen at the time, yes?

By:           editor editor
On:           Oct 30, 2009
Tagged: , , ,

  • 75 Comments
    • Jeffrey
      Jeffrey

      Gore Vidal is a complete PIG and a disgrace to the gay community. How could someone so successful and educated be so ignorant????

      Oct 30, 2009 at 2:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott in NYC
      Scott in NYC

      …another brilliant opus from a complete moron. A 13 year-old hooker? They’re only going after Polanski because he’s Jewish He’s so smart, isn’t he?

      Oct 30, 2009 at 2:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      Vidal is very instructive. He is a brilliant but cruel and perpetually angry man. He believed in the 1950s that because he was a top, he wasn’t really gay but “Homosexualist.” The entire idea that tops are superior to bottoms and that the way gay men should relate to each other is with bitter, idiotic feuds are both legacies that the gay community would likely have had to deal with without Vidal, but he certainly worked hard to cement them.

      Vidal is turned on by rape– one need look no further than Myra Breckinridge to prove this. It is not surprising that he would be anti-victim and pro-rapist. He is Al Gore’s cousin, and his sense of privilege– his sense that he is better than others because of his family– is related to this. His dismissive description of his sexual encounter with Jack Kerouac (“Well, I fucked him”) is typical of his view of sex– it is the strong preying upon the weak.

      He and Polanski are powerful important men. For Vidal, that still means that they should get to fuck whoever they want with impunity.

      Oct 30, 2009 at 3:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ralph
      Ralph

      Vidal proves himself a complete pig. The girl was 13. She was given alcohol and a drugs. Repeatedly, she told Polanski that she did not want to have sex with him. Polanski raped her vaginally. When he learned that she wasn’t on the pill, he raped her anally.

      Thirteen. Thirteen. Thirteen.

      Gore Vidal should hang his head in shame. The sexual exploitation of a child took place. Denigrating a victim of sexual violence by calling her a whore is the classic, sexist attack method. It’s no different than a gay panic defense used by gay bashers. Blame the victim. Make the victim into the villain. Utterly, completely evil and vile.

      Polanski escaped justice for 30 years because of his wealth, power, and privilege.

      There are people who suffer greatly because of anti-Jewish discrimination. No one looking at the facts of the case could say that Polanski was the victim of antisemitism. Many of the worst charges were dismissed in a pathetic plea bargain that demonstrated Polanski’s entitled position.

      If anyone has doubts about Polanski, just read the girl’s grand jury testimony. It’s horrific.

      I just don’t understand these apologists.

      Oct 30, 2009 at 3:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Republican
      Republican

      Landon,

      Interesting. Be prepared for the backlash.

      Whenever a piece on Vidal is posted on a gay blog, there are inevitably those few individuals who insist on criticizing those of us who don’t like what comes out of his mouth. They say that he’s the most brilliant man ever and that we’re just too stupid to appreciate his brilliance. When you strip away the fluff, the argument they’re basically proposing is that his intelligence and background alone are reason enough to AGREE with whatever stance he’s taking. That’s such flawed reasoning that it’s hardly worth discussing, and yet, it’s almost always used. Expect to see it here as well.

      Oct 30, 2009 at 3:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Karl
      Karl

      Polansky is a vile, vile creature. He has raped, and is raping, many children before and since this rape. He is a self-confessed paedophile and should be locked away for the rest of his life.

      Personally, I think he should get the death sentence.

      Oct 30, 2009 at 3:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffrey
      Jeffrey

      To Landon Bryce: Thanks!! That was very informative and interesting. That man should be put away to pasture.

      Oct 30, 2009 at 3:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ricky
      ricky

      time to check gore out for senility. the guy is in trouble because he is a RAPIST not because he is a jew.

      Oct 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ricky
      ricky

      half the time gore vidal just spouts off for the sake of spouting off. half of what comes out of him is pure bullshit just like everybody else that fancies themselves a pundit.

      did you know young gore begged amelia earhart to marry his father?

      Oct 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ricky
      ricky

      people should read myra breckinridge (or maybe not). pure filth.

      Oct 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Merv
      Merv

      Paging David E! Yoo hoo! David! You’re gonna have trouble explaining away this one.

      Oct 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Republican
      Republican

      Oh god. It’s horrible. Such amazing vocal talent wasted on a song that is utter crap.

      Oct 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Republican
      Republican

      Yikes, wrong story. That’s what I get for having multiple queerty stories up at once.

      Oct 30, 2009 at 5:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joey
      Joey

      Wow!! Senility is making Grampa Vidal super grumpy! Either that of one of the gals at the nursing home forgot to change his Depends.

      Oct 30, 2009 at 5:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Attmay
      Attmay

      And exactly when was the last time anyone cared about Gore Vidal or anything he said? I wasn’t alive when black people were called “negroes”.

      Oct 30, 2009 at 5:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alan brickman
      alan brickman

      he is still a great person..

      Oct 30, 2009 at 7:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Merv
      Merv

      Why do I get the feeling that if he were alive 150 years ago he would be an outspoken advocate of slavery?

      Oct 30, 2009 at 8:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      Actually, Alan, I would call Vidal a great man, not a great person, because “great person” suggests humane qualities which Vidal has never claimed to have. He is great because of his achievements and his intellect, and despite the inarguable flaws in his personality and his lack of morality. Vidal is nasty, not bad– bu many bad men are also great men– Oliver Cromwell, Henry VIII, Stalin– because they accomplish great things. Vidal is an intellectual giant and a moral pygmy.

      Oct 30, 2009 at 8:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WillBFair
      WillBFair

      Vidal has written some fabulous historical novels. He was a great English styist. Period. But he was never an intellect. He’s spouted this type of stupid trash for decades.

      Oct 30, 2009 at 10:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Ralph wrote, “Polanski escaped justice for 30 years because of his wealth, power, and privilege.” The full story is a bit more complicated. Polanski definitely committed a crime, and in fact plead guilty. He spent some time in psychiatric evaluation in a prison setting (about 42 days). The expectation was that he would receive probation afterwards, but he heard the judge was going to give him a long sentence anyway. There were allegations of judicial misconduct.

      http://www.vachss.com/mission/roman_polanski.html claims to have
      an accurate account of the whole matter. I’d suggest reading that first. It is too complex to summarize.

      Oct 31, 2009 at 12:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Ralph wrote, “Polanski escaped justice for 30 years because of his wealth, power, and privilege.”

      Read http://www.vachss.com/mission/roman_polanski.html for a discussion of the issues. Polanski committed a crime, but it seems the judge was about to reneged on a sentence agreed to in a
      plea bargain, there were credible allegations of judicial
      misconduct, and Polanski had been locked up for a bit over a
      month.

      It’s reasonable to think the sentence agreed to was too light and also to believe that they should have given him a reasonably accurate expectation as to what to expect before agreeing to a plea bargain.

      Oct 31, 2009 at 3:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rrr
      rrr

      If you read the article I think Gore’s main point was that Polanski was doing what everyone else was doing but wasn’t able to get away with it because he was a polish jew. I don’t know if that holds any weight, and I think if it’s true that means the fault lay in everyone else getting away with that kind of shit not Polanski being held accountable.

      It’s true that the press were horrible to Polanski before the rape accusation. They were completely despicable in their treatment of him and his murdered friends, wife and unborn child after the Manson affair. I don’t think they would have been like that to an all American boy as opposed to a foreign polish jew. If you drug a 13 year old and fuck her there’s really no room for complaint about things like press coverage, though.

      Oct 31, 2009 at 6:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      RRR:

      It’s obvious when Vidal says, “Everybody was doing stuff like and getting away with it” is that HE has done things like that and gotten away with it. There are tons of sex scenes in his work, but very few in which even affection is involved. He did, remember, write the screenplay for a film that treats the Emperor Caligula with sympathy. It’s most erotic sequence features Caligula raping a young soldier at his wedding. I’m think Vidal has raped men, and that some of them have been underage.

      I could name at least one gay man of his generation whose work I admire much more than Vidal’s who I absolutely believe took place in rapes during the 1950s and 1960s. Remember these men were branded sexual criminals already.

      In that interview, Vidal says that Polanski was treated differently from Errol Flynn because Polanski was Jewish. This, of course, ignores that Flynn’s crimes occurred in the 1940s, when the press was incredibly deferential to Hollywood. More significantly, the sexual revolution and feminism both happened in between the two events.

      The idea that women were not simply the property of men was actually still controversial during World War II. Women had had the vote for less than a quarter of a century when Errol Flynn raped.

      When Polanski got caught for rape, there was MS. Magazine. We were actually trying to pass the Equal Rights Amendment– this was before Reagan, in a time when people actually strove for social justice sometimes. States were passing rape shield laws and changing it from something that was almost impossible to prosecute to something that was extremely easy to get away with. If you were white and not poor.

      That Vidal ignores those societal changes– some of which he actually helped to make happen– makes any defense of his position absurd. Polanski might have been able to get away with his crimes had he not been Jewish, but Vidal believes he SHOULD have gotten away with him. He doesn’t think the things powerful people and major artists like his friends and he fuck and hurt for fun deserve to be treated as people.

      Oct 31, 2009 at 8:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Captain Slappy
      Captain Slappy

      Let’s see.

      Roman Polanski = Jewish PedoBear

      Yeah, somehow, I shed no tears when they stick his nuts in a vise, and remind him about how “Justice” works for child molesters.

      Nobody care what Gore Vidal says.
      I don’t listen to what my dog says either.
      They equal about the same on my “importance” meter.

      On a non-surprising note, PedoJacko croaked out, and now everyone is standing in line to give a dead child molester a hand job.
      Now THERE is a “negroid”. I am sorry….WAS.

      Just wait ’til they do it to Roman Poled-Her-Asski.

      Oct 31, 2009 at 9:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Anyway
      Anyway

      This codger emerges from his cave to offer up this? Makes Rupert Everett’s annual head-up-ass appearances in the news seem kinda quaint.

      Oct 31, 2009 at 11:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Red
      Red

      Landon, excellent posts. Vidal remains a great writer and a hero of mine, but he can be astonishingly cold toward his fellow human beings.

      Oct 31, 2009 at 10:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein
      David Ehrenstein

      You rang?

      OK, he’s the most brilliant man ever and that you’re just too stupid to appreciate his brilliance.

      There, I said it.

      Gore’s a wonderfully cranky old reprobate. He has always gone his own way, defying society, defying his class, and achiving enormous success both professionally and personally. And this culture isn’t EVER going to forgive him for that.

      While he’s pretty much lost the use of his legs (he makes a valiant effort to stand and walk with two canes, but is mostly wheelchair-bound) his mind is as sharp as ever. And he’s cared for by a couple of strapping young gentlemen (Hubba-Hubba!)

      Gore is well aware of how things REALY are. The 13 year-old non-virgin was being passed around like a human canape by her mother. This is why the now adult child pointedly refuses to comment on Mom in that documentary. It’s the old army game. Show business is filled with parents pimping their kids. Polanski shouldn’t have taken the bait. He’s guilty of statutory rape. The judge was a showboat and as a result the whole case went up the spout. Strictly speaking Mom should have been indicted for pimping.

      Yeah, like that’s gonna happen!

      Look at the the parents who lined up to have their little boys fucked by Michael Jackson, ixchange for wealth and power. Evan Chandler sold one script to Mel Brooks, but he wanted more.
      He didn’t get it. But he settled rather than go to the cops. The second case was botched because the pimping Mom was a hysterical freak. Now a (finally) dead Jacko is about to achieve secular sainthood, while Polanski has become a platform for the unworthy to mount and strike “moral” poses. Denounce Polanski and win indulgences into heaven.

      So cute.

      Gore isn’t cold at all. I’ve always found him personally delightful. Of course he doesn’t melt in your lap like Oprah so I guess he’sthe Son of Satan by current “community standards.”

      Or to put it another way, he fucked Harold Lang and you didn’t.

      LIVE WITH IT!!!!!!

      Nov 1, 2009 at 12:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @ #21

      Come on Landon, Vidal has written about rape and complains about a double standard, therefore he must be a rapist himself? Your claim is pure fiction.

      Let’s not forget that Vidal’s comments are directed at the media, the police and the public. He feels the incident was made worse by an anti-semitic and anti-foreign bias, and in that he is probably right.

      I think Vidal’s comment about the girl was callous, since she was clearly a victim, even if she may have been pimped around.

      But it is important to note that he doesn’t say he thinks Polanski should be excused (to say he doesn’t care is again, callous, but it is not the same thing). It is a bit clearer in the original interview that Vidal is talking about public discrimination, not Polanski’s guilt or innocence.
      He simply says Polanski got the full weight of the law, and public scorn for something which many others in Hollywood got away with.

      He certainly could have been a bit more diplomatic, but on the main point he is right.

      Nov 1, 2009 at 1:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      … I should add that to whatever degree it seems like Vidal is giving Polanski a pass (and I think that IS in there, even if it is not explicitly stated) he is wrong.

      But again, that is not the main point Vidal was making.

      Nov 1, 2009 at 1:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • romeo
      romeo

      Vidal deserves his due. He took enormous risks to broach the subject of homosexuality in this country when you could still get years in prison for it, and worse. But he was a good writer, not a great one. A brilliant satirist, and often a very funny guy. His historical novels have great detail and are interesting reads. But politics are his first love, and he was a leftist at a time when the “Left” regarded gay people as a “symptom” of the decadence of capitalism. Lefties were not always our friends, if they indeed are now. He’s not the only person of his era that was torn about his sexuality. And, to his credit, Vidal probably less so than others. Ever read between Mailer’s lines? In reading Vidal’s stuff, I’ve always thought “clever, clever, clever — but emotionally stunted.” If he could have tapped his emotionally repressed inner self, combined with his technical proficiency and wild-assed sense of humor, he could have been one of the very greatest writers of all time. But he’s a really good novelist and essayist for his generation. Yes, Myra was dirty, that’s what sold at the beginning of the sexual revolution. It’s also funny and snarky as hell. Very few writers have made fun of Hollywood as well as that.

      As for Polanski, you don’t have to get into too deep a research mode to see that America in the 70’s was a disoriented and lidless country then. And, yes, a lot of people were getting away with all kinds of crap. The moral compass had gone awry. Runaways selling their bodies on the streets was common, still is. But I think Vidal is off base on this one. Polanski was a mature man who understood what he was doing, he, like a lot of people then, just didn’t give a shit. True, a lot of others did the same and worse and went unpunished, but, Roman, I’ve seen your pictures. You understand the concept of fate. Man up.

      Nov 1, 2009 at 2:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • romeo
      romeo

      If you want to get a fuller, and unexpected, view of Vidal, read his memoir about his boyhood lover, killed in World War II. Tender and expressive to the point that, being familiar with a lot of Vidal’s other stuff, I kept thinking, “who the fuck is writing this?” LOL

      Nov 1, 2009 at 2:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      David Ehrenstein knows enough to know that Harold Lang was in a series of abusive relationships but does not care that he was a victim of them.

      Like Vidal, David is pro-power, anti-victim. That’s why he thinks its legitimate to attack Buju Banton as “a former rent boy.” Child prostitutes, according to him, are guilty liars who should never be believed. David celebrates the fact hat Vidal still has sexual slaves to service him.

      Of course the girl’s mother was also guilty, David. How does that clear Polanski? Why do you show no compassion for the child?
      Because you agree with your hero– famous men should be able to fuck kids and get away with it.

      Myra Breckinridge is a brilliant satires that celebrates rape. Just as its author does.

      Nov 1, 2009 at 2:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      Vidal also deliberately courted this controversy to draw attention to his new book, as well.

      That means he is willing to attack victims of child rape in order to make money for himself.

      Classy.

      Nov 1, 2009 at 2:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @ #31

      Actually he didn’t even bring it up. The interviewer asked him about his opinion on the case.

      Nov 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Richard
      Richard

      Who cares what Gore Vidal has to say? No one under 45 even knows who he is, or would ever care to know what “shocking” thing ever emerged from mouth. And young gay men want to know how Lance Bass feels on the Polanski affair (who is he again?) than this unknown (what does he do again?).

      Nov 1, 2009 at 3:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • romeo
      romeo

      @Landon, true, I think Vidal is being particularly insensitive in this case in defense of Polanski, but I think your animosity is way overstated. BTW, “Myra Breckenridge” isn’t a celebration of anything. It’s a black humored skewering of Hollywood’s vulgarity and corruption. Vidal’s major mode is contempt, hardly a celebratory kind of guy. LOL

      Nov 1, 2009 at 3:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      Romeo:

      Yeah, Norman Mailer was probably a rapist, too. For what it’s worth, I don’t think you overstate Vidal’s merits or significance at all.

      As for Myra, its climactic scene is Rusty’s rape. And that scene undeniably celebrates rape. Not only does Vidal seem to get off on the presence of blood, but the fact that her victim is unable to be aroused exites Myra. In its sequel, Myron, Myra has a penis and uses it to become a serial rapist. Each of those rapes is depicted erotically.

      Richard, Vidal is not a ghetto celebrity like Lance Bass– the people who know him may be over 45 (although I am not) but they are largely straight and smart. The people whose opinions most directly influence American society are much more likely to know what Gore Vidal says than who Lady Gaga is.

      Nov 1, 2009 at 4:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein
      David Ehrenstein

      Harold Lang was in a series of abusive relationships?

      I must have missed that Oprah episode.

      Have you read “Original Story By,” smartass?

      “Of course the girl’s mother was also guilty, David. How does that clear Polanski?”

      Who said it cleared Polanski? Didn’t I say he was guilty of statutory rape?

      “Why do you show no compassion for the child?”

      Seeing as she’s now middle-aged, married and a mother herself that’s all(as Edward Albee would say) blood under the bridge.

      But don’t let me stop you from striking “compassionate” poses.

      Do you need a lighting adjustment? I just know I have Annie Liebowitz’s number around here somewhere. She’ll doubtles want to do your portrait.

      Nov 1, 2009 at 4:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      Yes, David, I did read Arthur Laurents’ book, but my knowledge of the many times Lang was abused does not end there. Buzz Miller and he died for our sins.

      He says a child rapist should go unpunished off. Both you and he impugn the victim of that crime. That’s who you are, David. Thanks for the extensive use of invective– it is just additional proof that a defective sense of decency is essential to defend Vidal as you have.

      Nov 1, 2009 at 5:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • romeo
      romeo

      @ Landon: I respect your take on Myra, but I don’t share it. The eroticism you note was secondary to the portrayal of Myra’s megalomania — which was brutal. In my view, nothing in that novel was intended to be seen as a “good thing.” Myron was an inferior sequel written to cash in on Myra’s success. Gayboys have mortgages, too.

      Landon, you want to see some gratuitous rape fantasies, try the mega-best seller from that same era — “Candy.” Yoooow! or some of Anais Nin’s erotica, to name a very few. But again, I respect and sympathize with your take on that guy’s portrayal in the book. Just think that Vidal had a context there.

      Nov 1, 2009 at 7:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • romeo
      romeo

      @ Richard; Really, dude, you don’t have to be old to pay attention in class, and out in the street. Though I can relate. When I’m cruising the bars, I never let on that I’ve read WHOLE books.

      Not that I wouldn’t love to discuss Kant’s “Critique of Practical Reason,” which, seriously, changed my life. I thought maybe I might try the more accessible explications in Schopenhauer’s “World as Will and Representation,” but then I knew I would fuck it up by making side comparisons to his earlier “Fourfold Root of Sufficient Reason.”

      Nowya see? Who’d want to sleep with me now?

      Which brings us back to you, Richard. Are you cute?

      Nov 1, 2009 at 7:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein
      David Ehrenstein

      “Buzz Miller and he died for our sins”?

      You’re the Florence Foster Jenkins of Drama Queens, dear.

      Polanski is not going unpunished.

      Of course I’m sure you’d settle for nothing less than slitting his thorat yourself. Then using the blood to write “Pigs” on the nearest wall.

      Nov 1, 2009 at 7:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scoop
      Scoop

      What a vile old fuck.

      Nov 2, 2009 at 12:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      David:

      Taking refuge in a dated insult when intellectually bested, dear? Then comparing the smarter, younger guy who showed you up to Charles Manson?

      You define “pathetic.”

      Romeo:

      Leap into these arms, untalked of and unseen
      Come, night. Come, Romeo. Come, thou day in night.

      Oh, loving black-browed night:

      Give me my Romeo
      And when I shall die

      Take him and cut him out in little stars
      And he shall make the face of heaven so fine
      That all the world will in love with night
      And pay no worship to the garish sun.

      I like brainy boys. I think Myron is underrated, completely destroyed by the bananas aesthetic choice of replacing all profanities with the names of Supreme Court Justices (“I’m gonna burger you, bitch.”)

      So twee.

      Nov 2, 2009 at 1:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      Strumpetwindsock:

      Thanks for your message– your opinion is always of interest to me. I’ve read a lot of Vidal and a lot about him. My analysis goes through his descriptions of his own sexual philosophy (always with someone younger, always with someone inferior, always with him as the fucker) through many of his novels. How many other writers would WANT to work a gleeful fantasy about slicing open the scrotum of a migrant farm worker into a tepid parody of a television soap opera?

      Your criticism of me is fair, but I’m working from a thorough and serious study of Vidal’s life and work, not just these few words. I really appreciate Jeffrey, Red, and others for encouraging me to try to make my points well.

      Thanks, guys.

      Nov 2, 2009 at 2:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Merv
      Merv

      One thing I don’t get: If she was a teenage prostitute being pimped out by her mother, how did it ever end up being reported to the police? Prostitutes don’t usually report their johns.

      Nov 2, 2009 at 3:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mrs Patrick Campbell
      Mrs Patrick Campbell

      We (HEART) Miss V – apparently she hates fish as much as we do!

      Nov 2, 2009 at 6:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein
      David Ehrenstein

      “always with someone younger, always with someone inferior, always with him as the fucker”

      Once again The Word from Bottoms Who Think They’re Tops.

      “One thing I don’t get: If she was a teenage prostitute being pimped out by her mother, how did it ever end up being reported to the police?”

      It was mom who reported it to the police. Being a “witness” automatically removed her from the category of “person of interest.”

      Nov 2, 2009 at 11:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein
      David Ehrenstein

      As for Polanski’s proper punishment (by London’s lights) you’ll find it right here —

      Nov 2, 2009 at 11:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein
      David Ehrenstein

      I’m sorry, I meant Landon.

      But I keep thinking of London Lee for some reason.

      Nov 2, 2009 at 11:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mrs Patrick Campbell
      Mrs Patrick Campbell

      We hate all fish – especially young fish, they are the ickiest and the stinkiest!

      Nov 2, 2009 at 11:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • romeo
      romeo

      @ Landon #42, are you coming on to me? COOL ! LMAO

      “O, speak again, bright angel!”

      As for Vidal, my take is that gay men of that era were operating from a necessarily limited perspective. More or less creating “being gay” from whole cloth without the more expansive sensitivities that came later and created the awarenesses and filters we have now. But I’m not really excusing him altogether, he could be a louse when it came to the guys, a result, maybe, of not respecting himself either. Same thing happens now, only less than then hopefully.

      Nov 2, 2009 at 11:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      David:

      Thanks again for proving my point. You are acting as Gore’s disciple here. I’ve hurt your feelings by pointing out true but unpleasant things about a man you admire. Rather than dealing with the content on what In have said, you throw yourself into tantrum. I like Ken Russell a lot. I have no opinion on an appropriate punishment for Roman Polanski. My feelings aren’t hurt.

      I pointed out earlier Vidal helped cement two negative types of behavior in gay men. Vidal loved petty, spiteful feuds with any gay man who challenged his superiority. How Gore hated Truman Capote! How David hates me! See– isn’t he clever? He’s Just Like Gore.

      And again, Gore pushed upon us the already potent trope that tops are superior to bottoms. David actually thinks he is insulting me by calling me a bottom. Um— David, I get my knowledge of Gore’s sex scenes honestly. Like him, I’m a top with a sadistic streak. Unlike Gore, though, I don’t view myself as superior to my bottoms. Calling me something the men I love must be is not an insult.

      Nov 2, 2009 at 11:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hardmannyc
      hardmannyc

      That’s pretty funny coming from uber-WASP Vidal who’s notorious for his parlor anti-Semitism.

      Nov 2, 2009 at 12:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein
      David Ehrenstein

      “I’ve hurt your feelings”? In your dreams Miss Thing!

      “I pointed out earlier Vidal helped cement two negative types of behavior in gay men.”

      And oyu of course are the third.

      “How Gore hated Truman Capote!”

      His frued with Truman Capote is one of the most hilairous in all modern literary history. Capote was such a lier, so easily found out — and so easy to fool. There’s tons of fun stuff about this in all the bios.

      ” David, I get my knowledge of Gore’s sex scenes honestly.”
      Do Tell Michelle! Were you at the next cuble at the Everard when Gore met Tinker?

      ” I’m a top with a sadistic streak.”

      Once again The Word from Bottoms Who Think They’re Tops.

      (Sorry about the echo.)

      Nov 2, 2009 at 12:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein
      David Ehrenstein

      Nov 2, 2009 at 12:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      Romeo:

      My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words
      Of thy tongue’s utterance– yet I know the sound

      Dude, you read nineteenth century philosophy and have an intelligent opinion on the merits of Myron. How could I keep myself from coming on to you?

      I think our perspectives on Vidal are pretty much the same– our differences appear to be only ones of degree. I certainly have affection as well as respect for the old asshole. I listened to Sarah Vowell’s The Wordy Shipmates last week and she quotes Nathaniel Hawthorne eloquently on the Puritans:

      “Let us thank God for having given us such ancestors and let each successive generation thank him, not less fervently, for being one step further from them in the march of ages.”

      That’s how I feel about Gore– I am grateful to him, but let’s move on. Maybe none of us could have done better if we were inventing gay identity out of whole cloth as he did indeed help to do, but in 2009 all of us can certainly do better than bad-mouthing people who were raped as children in order to seem “outrageous” and sell a few books.

      P.S. To David: Yes, I’m smarter and more confident than you. It’s fun to watch you debase yourself, but you’re the one who’s doing it. If you want to discuss the merits of anything I have to do say, go right ahead. But it is much more fun for me to watch you implode.

      Nov 2, 2009 at 1:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • romeo
      romeo

      Landon, loved the Hawthorne quote. A wise perspective. As we’ve noted, people are products of their time for the most part.

      Sort of off-topic, but a very old Cecil Beaton once replied to a young admirer who was asking him a lot of questions about how cool it must have been to be in with the Bloomsbury crowd, etc. “young man, the past was not what you think it was….” I think I know what he was trying to tell him and it stuck in my mind.

      Nov 2, 2009 at 1:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein
      David Ehrenstein

      “Yes, I’m smarter and more confident than you.”

      It’s Stuart Smalley!

      Nov 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • romeo
      romeo

      BTW, Landon, played Romeo in high school. Look good in tights I’m told. LMAO. But wouldn’t be in show business for anything!

      Nov 2, 2009 at 1:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      Romeo:

      The Beaton quote seems on target to me. This conversation also made me think of the end of Lear:

      “We that are young
      Shall never see so much nor live so long.”

      Wow, David– you’re a hit parade of witless insult. Who do you think you’re impressing by comparing me to an SNL skit two decades old? Again, I’m happy to discuss ideas with you, but the sadist in me prefers watching you to respond to intellectual challenge by slinging feces. Like a monkey.

      Nov 2, 2009 at 2:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • romeo
      romeo

      Landon, re: the Lear quote, that remains to be seen. I sense strange times are coming. We’ll see.

      Have a great day. Gotta go live my real life.

      Nov 2, 2009 at 2:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein
      David Ehrenstein

      Tat “SNL skit of two decades ago” is now member of Congress.

      “Again, I’m happy to discuss ideas with you, but the sadist in me prefers watching you to respond to intellectual challenge by slinging feces. Like a monkey.”

      Ah your true colors at last!

      Brown.

      Whenever I vist “Conservative” (ie. neo-fascist) sites and dare to question the prevailing “wisdom” I am accused of “flinging poo.”

      I trust your dues for the Log Cabin Republicans have been paid.

      When you have an idea I’d be happy to discuss it with you. So far your “ideas” suggest little more than the mutterings of a tired old queen about to shuffle off her barstool for the sidewalk sale.

      Nov 2, 2009 at 3:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      Romeo:

      I played Macbeth in high school. Bet your legs were better in the tights but I got compliments. I agree about the strange times coming.

      David:

      There are people who disagree with you who are not Republicans. You and Gore are the conservatives here, insisting on the right of the powerful to rape and abuse the weak.

      Nov 2, 2009 at 3:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • benlayvey
      benlayvey

      @ No. 3, Landon Bryce

      Your analysis of Vidal reminds me of another brilliant thinker/writer/Homosexual? from Napoleonic France-Marquise de Sade. I will give both men passes on life only because of their enormous brains and for having the gall to highlight society’s hypocrisy.

      Nov 2, 2009 at 7:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • benlayvey
      benlayvey

      No. 17 · Merv

      Yeah, an advocate for slavery not because of its inhumanity but so he can have a harem of countless beautiful boys he can fuck at leisure and for free-typical of an ancient Roman patriarch.

      Nov 2, 2009 at 7:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • romeo
      romeo

      LMAO!!! Poor Gore, I hope he doesn’t wander in here to see himself equated with an out of control perv of the magnitude of
      de Sade! Really, guys, let’s show a little discernment.

      Howya doin’ Landon? Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeping in its petty pace? Bet you were cute in those tights. LOL

      Nov 3, 2009 at 12:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      Romeo:

      I think de Sade is Vidal’s absolute ancestor, and I hope he would not be offended by the comparison. I think sexual liberation– the idea that our bodies are our own and our for pleasure rather than the property of God and government– starts with him. More significantly, true freedom of the press derives its philosophical basis in western discourse from the publication of his work. Good men read de Sade, recognized merit in it, and neither went mad nor became criminals. Once the people who made law could not deny that, censorship crumbled.

      Sure, de Sade was crazy and criminal, a bad person. Still a great man.

      Two such opposed kings encamp them still
      In man as well as herbs: grace and rude will.

      Benedicite, baby. Doing fine. How about you?

      Nov 3, 2009 at 11:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      De Sade was a far better philosopher than a writer, but I would hardly call him “out of control”.

      After he was released from the Bastille he was made a judge by the Jacobins, and found himself having to pass sentence on members of his wife’s family who hated him and had sent him to prison in the first place.

      He could easily have sent them to the guillotine, but he pardoned them because to practice cruelty as part of the state machinery (instead of as a free individual) went against his beliefs.

      Also, while he is known nowadays for his sexual excesses, what really shocked people back then was his blasphemy. Nobody really cared about him beating and poisoning servants and prostitutes (and there weren’t that many incidents – he spent most of his life incarcerated).

      What he was really hated for was defiling communion wafers during a session. Now why would someone jerk off on communion wafers and jam them into people during sex? Not for fun or lubrication, I expect. Obviously it was a deliberate plan to shock.

      Nov 3, 2009 at 12:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • romeo
      romeo

      @ Landon: I’m good !

      You make a good point about de Sade. Actually, I had the same feeling about reading Genet. Repelled by a lot of what he wrote, but admired his courage, and his capacity to create beauty as he saw it out of such desperate circumstances. Interesting that these are all French guys. Love Paris; always get treated well there, which I understand is unusual for Americans. Guess they dig my gay fashionista vibe. LOL

      Did Demetrius in “Midsummer” the year before Romeo. Drama teacher was a cool guy and never perved on me, but I always wound up in tights and skimpy togas. LOL Shakespeare was a hoot when he was making fun of bad poetry, which the Elizabethan era had a lot of.

      “Oh Helen, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine,
      To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyn!”

      LMAO !

      Nov 3, 2009 at 12:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      Romeo:

      You draw me like a magnet! ALWAYS had a thing for Demetrius. I don’t read French well enough to read Genet in the original and I’ve always found him unreadable in translation. I think for people like Rimbaud and he, they were already branded criminal by society for being and just went with it, using it a an excuse for genuinely criminal behavior. William S. Burroughs is the American Genet.

      Nov 3, 2009 at 1:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • romeo
      romeo

      Only read them in translation. Tried Rimbaud. Probably should have tried harder. Just didn’t move me. Borroughs the same. Remember thinking, now here’s a guy I’d never want to know personally. He had some extraordinary images, but where in the hell was he going with all that? Rented the vid of “Naked Lunch” to watch with some friends. After it was over about all we could say was “but nobody was naked!” LMAO ! The book had some really erotic images, I remember. Something about a naked cute redhead falling through a glass window. Gruesome, but HE was naked. What the fuck happened with the movie. I dunno.

      Hey, I’m shallow; what can I tell ya.

      “Sleep dwell upon thine eyes,” Landon, “peace in thy breast.”

      You know, it’s amazing that these sharks around here haven’t yelled at us to “get a room!” LOL

      Nov 4, 2009 at 12:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      Strumpetwindsock:

      Thanks for the defense of de Sade. He is really crucial to modern philosophy in a way that few people are willing to acknowledge.

      Romeo:

      What early tongue so sweet saluteth me?
      (Think about how dirty that could be)

      The dirty parts of Naked Lunch are just what you would expect from a murderous sadist. They’re really, really hot. What happened with the movie is it was made by David Cronenburg, who’s a genius, but one of the most anti-erotic filmmakers of all time. He finds the human body more horrifying and disgusting than David Lynch does! I was disappointed that he made two films with important gay content, since he seems to me to have a distinctly heterosexual perspective. That’s why The Breed, his horror film about giving birth, works so well. Neither Naked Lunch nor M. Butterfly works at all, because they both need to be erotic and they both need to be gay.

      Nov 4, 2009 at 1:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @ #71

      (okay… we’re off topic here)

      Actually there’s a documentary about Naked Lunch in which Cronenberg explains why – with Burrough’s permission – he made a “straighter” film. I take your point, but it is interesting that he recognized and acknowledged his percpective.

      Nov 4, 2009 at 2:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jj
      jj

      I can’t help but think, if Polanski had been a middle aged female and the 13 year old had been male, there would be no issue here. Nothing would have happened. That’s how fucked up our culture is.

      Jul 20, 2010 at 10:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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