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It’s Not That Gore Vidal Hates Gays Marriage. He Just Hates Americans Who Want It

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Gore Vidal has never been one to keep his mouth shut. Even on the homosexual activist agenda! That includes the subject of gay marriage, which he’s never been a fan of. But not in the Elton John sort of way. But in a “even straight marriages are F’d” sort of way. In 2006, he told Time, “Since heterosexual marriage is such a disaster, why on earth would anybody want to imitate it?” His position hasn’t changed, but the recipient of his ire may have. He’s now going after Americans!

Like pal Dennis Altman, Vidal thinks the idea of gay marriage is bogus. But then why are we all fighting mad about securing the right to, one day, get a divorce? Because we are ignorant patriots, that’s why.

“I’m not into partnerships,” Vidal, a single man, says. “I don’t even know what it means. [I couldn't] couldn’t care less [about same-sex marriage. Does anyone care what Americans think? They’re the worst-educated people in the First World. They don’t have any thoughts, they have emotional responses, which good advertisers know how to provoke.”

(Vidal, a former Hillary Clinton supporter who switched to Barack Obama, has his own criticism of the current president. Obama is doing "[d]readfully. I was hopeful. He was the most intelligent person we’ve had in that position for a long time. But he’s inexperienced. He has a total inability to understand military matters. He’s acting as if Afghanistan is the magic talisman: solve that and you solve terrorism. … He f***ed [health care] up. I don’t know how because the country wanted it. We’ll never see it happen”)

Now, it’s easy to dismiss the ramblings of an octogenarian who, it could be argued, is out of touch with the priorities of gay Americans today. But this is a man who appeared on Sacha Baron Cohen’s Ali G show as himself. He must get us, right?

By:           editor editor
On:           Oct 1, 2009
Tagged: , , ,

  • 32 Comments
    • kevin vancouver
      kevin vancouver

      He’s brilliant.

      Oct 1, 2009 at 11:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fitz
      Fitz

      I think what a lot of people fail to grasp is the concept of equality. there are some 1500 or so rights that married couples have. They don’t matter so much when you are 26 and building house in SF or NY… But they do when you are at other phases of life.. like when you deal with real estate, or travel, and of course taxes and benefits. An old rich intellectual opera fag is really going to grasp the desperateness and anger.

      Oct 1, 2009 at 11:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brad
      Brad

      When I was 16 I spent several hours in the library reading “The City and the Pillar,” and I prefer it when Gore Vidal gives me boners, not curmudgeonry.

      His arguments are boring. If you don’t want to get married, don’t get married. If other people want to, let them. It’s a question of equality more than necessity.

      Shut up and write something erotic.

      Oct 1, 2009 at 12:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      Vidal: I see no good in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam

      “I regard monotheism as the greatest disaster ever to befall the human race. I see no good in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam — good people, yes, but any religion based on a single, well, frenzied and virulent god, is not as useful to the human race as, say, Confucianism, which is not a religion but an ethical and educational system.

      – Gore Vidal, At Home, 1988, from James A Haught, ed., 2000 Years of Disbelief

      Oct 1, 2009 at 12:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Republican
      Republican

      I’d say he’s out of touch with a lot of groups’ priorities, not just that of gays. He acts like passing healthcare reform should be simple for the President and Congress. It’s easy to say that Americans support “healthcare”, but when it comes to the details, Americans bitterly disagree on what should be done. Every single person in DC has to worry about reelection and rightfully so.

      While many people love Vidal for his supposed brilliance, I’ve never been able to get over the fact that he acts like anything he wants to see happen is both the only right choice and easy to pull off. He’s arrogant to the extreme. His own political success record is dismal. Thank God for that.

      Oct 1, 2009 at 12:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alleyne
      Alleyne

      There’s often a fine line between eloquent and glib, and Vidal is on the wrong side of it.

      Oct 1, 2009 at 12:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Merv
      Merv

      He’s an elitist who thinks he’s better than everyone else because of his blue-blooded background he can’t stop talking about. It never occurs to him that coupled gay people might need marriage because of practical considerations such as insurance, inheritance, hospital visitation, immigration, retirement, etc. If it doesn’t affect him personally, he couldn’t care less.

      Oct 1, 2009 at 12:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Republican
      Republican

      And before anyone jumps on my comment, I realize that not literally everyone has to worry about reelection (SCOTUS, interns, etc.), but the point is still valid. There are political realities that make certain changes way more difficult than Vidal wants to admit. I remember when he praised Kucinich and commented how his views were loved by the Americans. That’s as out-of-touch as the staunchest, Bush-loving conservative.

      Oct 1, 2009 at 12:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • The Swimmer
      The Swimmer

      I think everyone has missed the point of this debate, Vidal included.

      He said Americans are stupid. Truth is, Americans are not stupid but rather under-educated. America is reaching the apex of the Empire Stage. As a result of our massive military (we’re about to have 3 wars), extreme debt, gluttonous capitalism with no end, etc… We have no healthcare system, extremely inequality in public schools, as well as massive economic inequalities and severe infrastructural problems at home.

      AMERICA IS BECOMING 3RD WORLD!

      The only way to combat this is to pick a choice. We can continue going down the route of extreme capitalism. We can continue expanding out military size, disregard our schools/hospitals, and continue being the Great Christian Race nation. We may have a black President but racism is still very rampant.

      The other choice? SOCIALISM! Yes I said it. The evil word that scares people to death. We give up our military ambitions. Pull back most of our bases. Go into negotiating/multi-lateral mode. We invest all that money back at home in universal healthcare, universal education, downtown urban cores that take Americans away from automobiles. This in turn will lead to higher standard of living, more equality and wait for it… GAY EQUALITY! When you have socialism you have urban thinking and when you have people living closer together you have more likelihood of equality.

      Oct 1, 2009 at 1:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MoHoTo
      MoHoTo

      He’s sort of old-school loner gay, like Quentin Crisp was. Unsentimental and distrusting of things that smack of conventional or hypocritical. But he loves the idea of love. While I don’t agree with him for many of the reasons mentioned above, I have to admit many of my favorite gay curmudgeons, mostly long gone, happened to think the same way. And they didn’t belittle my longing for a life-partner as trivial. It was more of a live and let live, think and let think approach. Which is perfectly fine.

      Oct 1, 2009 at 1:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • pc
      pc

      I want equal rights so that when me or my partner die, the other doesn’t have to pay inheritance tax on 50% of the estate which we’ve collectively worked our asses off for 25 years to get!

      Oct 1, 2009 at 1:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fitz
      Fitz

      @pc: Right– or so that some long lost third cousin doesn’t come in and say that your husband/partner should be buried in a family plot, and that she should take his things & money. But it’s even more than just death-stuff or even hospital stuff. there are so many ways that we pay for more than we get. Do you own property together? We do.. and even with all the best legal stuff we can get, we still pay more to exchange it, etc. and my benefits? I make a lot more than him– if I die before, he gets zilch.

      Oct 1, 2009 at 1:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John from  England(used to be just John but there are other John's)
      John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

      @Merv:

      Can Jews be blue-blooded? He’s a Jew. I though blue blooded was a term for aristocratic anglo-saxons..?

      @Brian:

      He’s damn right about that. The only reason we’re in these crazy messes if good ol religion.

      “Axis of Evil” Oooo-kay…

      Furthermore not sure why the above are getting their g-strings in a knot. Vidal is talking to a left wing crowd who are already convinced or have thier own minds, not some redneck hinterland town that thinks all gays eat babies.

      Bah, see why American’s are so dumb? You guys can’t even show respect to someone who is clearly more educated then you all….Republican had to typically react emotionally to Vidal’s rant-go figure.

      Oct 1, 2009 at 1:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Republican
      Republican

      John from England,

      Commenting on Vidal’s failure to give Obama slack on an issue because he (Vidal) refuses to admit how difficult it is to actually get things done in Washington is not reacting emotionally.

      And by the way, if you think your comment about Americans and respect isn’t based on emotion, then frankly, you don’t know the meaning of the word.

      Oct 1, 2009 at 2:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jack
      Jack

      @The Swimmer: I, sadly, agree with you and on many points with Ms. Vidal. The military could use this bitter old (GV) queen’s bile as a biological weapon.

      Oct 1, 2009 at 5:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Gore Vidal? He’s as irrelevant today as he ever was.

      If he thinks the gay rights movement should just be about sex, he’s hugely mistaken. Gay rights should be about rights, which means ensuring that we are not treated as second-class citizens in the scheme of things.

      We can argue about the scheme of things but, within this scheme, we must ensure that we are treated equally.

      Oct 1, 2009 at 5:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chuck
      Chuck

      I think Merv and the Swimmer got it exactly right. The only thing that I give credence to what Vidal said was his musings on Obama. He’s right that Obama is inexperienced and, from the start has allowed Republicans to have too much of a voice in the process. Many a progressive has wished Obama would be more like Shrub in his leadership ability to get things done. We have had to watch Obama grow up over this past year and seem shocked that the GOP didn’t have an academic’s sense of decency and fair play. Sorry O, but politics is ugly and the office of president should make you exempt from thinking you have to be everybody’s friend. Hillary would have known all this from day 1.

      The original interview also quotes Vidal as predicting Obama will be a one termer and may not have much of an agenda beyond healthcare, which was really Hillary’s idea anyway. So far, I have seen no evidence to the contrary.

      Oct 1, 2009 at 6:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Distingué Traces
      Distingué Traces

      He’s not Jewish! Why would you think that?

      He’s about as blue-blooded as any American can be — a member of one of our oldest political families.

      And yes, he’s glib and shallow.

      Oct 1, 2009 at 6:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gendex
      gendex

      I’m fond of him.
      What he says is all too true.

      Oct 2, 2009 at 12:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marcelo
      Marcelo

      Oh, he gets ‘you’ gay man.

      Its actually ‘you’ who doesn’t ‘get it’.

      Gays are like Christians – they get it as long as it’s biblical -but any other explanation of things – and your instantly a sinner.

      Gore Vidal and other critics are trying to say that shame gave rise to the Gay identity. Which is a bad thing – because it is a made up identity drawn from shame. A religious identity.

      And, we, lovers of cock (or pussy, for my female friends) shouldn’t adopt a forced identity based on the silly beliefs of morons.

      Oct 2, 2009 at 4:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles Merrill
      Charles Merrill

      I am surprised he doesn’t see the significance of gay marriage as aa constitutional issue. He is thinking about the institution of marriage as aa dead thing, not about civil rights for LGBT’s.

      Oct 2, 2009 at 6:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DJ
      DJ

      Excuse me, I can’t seem to find the rat’s ass I’m supposed to give! As if I needed some self-loathing, pseudo-intellectual and his personal take on MY marriage. Marriage, like abortion is a matter of personal choice. If YOU don’t want one, fine but don’t put up legal blockades for me. And WTF does being a “blue blood” mean anyway? My family has been in America since 1634, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, the Civil War and WW II veterans and through my great-grandmother a direct decendent of King George III. BFD, does this mean my family tree trumps YOUR opinion? Classes in a “classless” are worthless as benchmarks for individual rights.

      Oct 2, 2009 at 2:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Distingué Traces
      Distingué Traces

      @Marcelo:

      I find the standard religious line and the standard pop-psych line to be pretty much equally tiresome.

      And in fact the fundies have adopted the language of “socially constructed identity” as part of their own arguments. Both the ‘phobes and the everyone-is-really-bi universalists seem to me to be stuck in the language of the mid-twentieth century.

      Gore Vidal at least has the excuse that it was the standard received wisdom of his generation. But younger people parroting him have no excuse except the wish to erase or trivialize the reality of gay experience.

      Oct 2, 2009 at 6:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chris
      Chris

      @Marcelo: Marcelo, I think I love you!

      Oct 2, 2009 at 9:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • McShane
      McShane

      Octogenarian or not, anyone who’s followed his career knows that he’s one of the only above average gay mind in this country.. The man is and always has been brilliant. If more gays would follow his example we would have a say in this country.

      Oct 2, 2009 at 10:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • marcelo
      marcelo

      @Distingue trace

      Your talking more conceptual history.

      I’m talking about being free from constructed paradigms (as we were prior to the rise of the ‘gay’ identity).

      This is not an intellectual arguement. You know yourself – and if you pause a thought, even for a second, you must see that it’s our conceptual miliue that creates identity.

      This conceptual miliue is religious and mostly based on fraudulent archaic belief systems. And our identity is based on these language systems.

      Sexuality comes before identity, as sexual urges are ancient – they predate religion and all concepts. And, thanks to science and the study of animals, we know that homosexual acts and bisexual acts existed, naturally, as part of the environment since day one.

      We make associations, mostly out of fear. As long as we feel seperate and apart from the world (this concept of seperation is religious and archaic) then, we will cling to anything that makes us feel safe and secure and not seperate. Especially in the ‘fear’ driven world that we live in today.

      But, of course, we are not seperate.

      We’ve only been told we are.

      Oct 2, 2009 at 10:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Allen
      Allen

      Regarding Vidal’s comment on Gay Marriage: “I’m not into partnerships … I don’t even know what it means”. At least the tired old Queen is being honest with us. If he is not able to comprehend what a life partnership is, then his opinion on the subject should have no value or meaning to those of us who do.

      In Vidal’s work, “Point to Point”, he even admits that when his parnter of 53 years, Howard Austen, was going into surgery just prior to his death, Howard had to ask Vidal to kiss him. Clearly Vidal is only capable of self-love and is able to only understand true caring for others only as an intellectual exercise. Vidal has taken great pride in his reputation of being “all brain and no heart” all of his life and sadly, achieved his goal.

      It’s okay to have intellectual exchanges with a tired old Queen, who is all brain and no heart, but keep the subjects of discussion properly focused on areas best suited to Mr. Vidal. As of me, as a 57 year old Gay man who loves and treasures his life partner, I want to publicly honor my life commitment to my partner in marriage and really do not care if Mr. Vidal can not comprehend such things.

      Oct 5, 2009 at 9:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • McShane
      McShane

      @No. 21 · Charles Merrill : You are right, of all people , Vidal is one of the most notable historians and constitutional experts alive.. If it was a Constitutional issue he would say so.

      And You are right , I think that he sees marriage for anyone as being a dead thing; no more than a vestige of religion.

      Oct 5, 2009 at 12:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pete
      Pete

      You mention Sacha Baron Money- Guzzler Cohen. Do you think that his anti-gay Bruno had any influence on all these recent gay-bashings . Good thing that the gay focus group he tried the film on reacted badly to the actual gay bashing scene that he had in the original.

      Oct 18, 2009 at 6:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joe Corbett
      Joe Corbett

      !!John from England(used to be just John but there are other John’s)!!

      sorry John, no apostrophe in this Johns it is only a plural.

      Oct 26, 2009 at 8:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve
      Steve

      Yeah, but it’s one thing to be against gays getting married, and to be against gays being allowed to get married. Somehow I doubt he’s against the latter – I’m sure if you asked him, should gay people have the right to get married as straight people have, he’d say yes – even as if you asked him, should they get married in the first place, he’d say no. There’s a distinction to be drawn here – we should have all the same rights as everyone else. Whether or not we exercise those rights should be up to us – not a bunch of religious fanatics. And I’m sure, positive he would agree with that.

      Mar 18, 2010 at 6:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Klarth
      Klarth

      The problem is that he is not being quoted here as holding that belief. Maybe these quotes were taken out of context, but maybe he just wasn’t thinking about the actual legal issue of same-sex marriage at that time.

      He’s just one man, however talented and whatever his contributions have been. We can either work with him or around him.
      It’s whatever.

      Mar 21, 2010 at 5:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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