A Very Crotchety Gore Vidal

I’ve never thought twice about Gore Vidal. No matter how many times the East Coast literary hype machine tells me he’s an important writer, he’s always seemed a bit of a dinosaur from the Kennedy years. (It’s a tagline with this guy: “He knew JFK!”) But I found this interview-of-sorts with him in the London Times to be entertaining, in its sheer vitriol and bitterness:
The last year or so I’ve been reading some London newspapers (The Guardian, The Times, and for sheer trashy shock value, The Daily Mail), and it’s noticeable how much energy they put into complaining about the U.S. But if you read the NY Times, you’ll rarely read a piece describing the U.K. as a hellhole—read the Daily Mail and you can figure it out yourself. I’m sure the caustic Brit or European would say it’s because we Americans are so “provincial.” But as a newspaper reader, it does seem the NY Times comes across as more confident and level-headed, while the anti-U.S. rhetoric of the U.K. papers seems snarky and petty. Vidal’s comments are a good example. I agree with him on many points, especially the great divide on education in this country. But Vidal’s comments get so bitchy that he loses all credibility and comes across as a childstar grown old and ornery.

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