Wednesday, August 01, 2012

RIP, Gore Vidal (updated)

[From Aaron Burr's journal]: [Thomas] Jefferson was a ruthless man who wanted to create a new kind of world, dominated by independent farmers each living on his own rich land, supported by slaves. It is amazing how beguilingly he could present this contradictory visions. But then in all his words if not deeds Jefferson was so beautifully human, so eminently vague, so entirely dishonest but not in any meretricious way. Rather it was a passionate form of self-delusion that rendered Jefferson as president and as man (not to mention as writer of tangled sentences and lunatic metaphors) confusing even to his admirers.
I read Burr, A Novel, when it was first published in 1973. I was 15 years old and not terribly interested in Aaron Burr, but I knew Gore Vidal from watching his eloquent and taciturn debate with William F. Buckley during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

It was delightful to watch because both men literally wanted to make the other catch sheer force of hatred.


Updated: Talk about wanting someone to catch fire.

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