Sad Day For America: Gore Vidal Dies At 86

By one of those odd coincidences that almost make me mystical, I finished reading Gore Vidal’s memoir “Palimpsest” yesterday around 9 pm. I had been reading it for the previous 24 hours, which means that I had been absorbed in its pages while Vidal was dying. No one had tipped me off that he was nearing the end. I had simply plucked it down off the shelf, on a whim. Something, apparently, was in the ether. Although I find sections of Vidal’s novel “Myra Breckenridge” to be hilarious (and the book inspired the style of my great friend, Dee Sushi), it was Vidal’s nonfiction that I tended to re-read. He was peerless as an essayist, specializing in politics (his grandfather was a U.S. Senator) and show biz and literature. By the 1990s, Vidal, to put it mildly, tended to recycle themes; in fact, his second volume of memoirs, “Point To Point Navigation,” contains whole chunks lifted from “Palimpsest” and other volumes. And I did often tire of Vidal’s insistence that America is a National Security State birthed under Truman. (Even though that characterization strikes me as largely accurate.) But few contemporary writers were funnier than Vidal; he was the Lord of LOL. Oh, how I shall miss reading him!

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