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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Gore Vidal, the RAW connection?

If you pay attention to the world of letters at all, you'll know by now that Gore Vidal died. (His historical novel Julian, about the last pagan Roman Emperor, was very good and very well-researched. Perhaps you have noticed my obsession with late Roman/early Byzantine history.)

Jesse Walker wrote an obituary for Reason and noted (in an email) that Vidal's Myron uses the names of Supreme Court justices to replace the names of sex organs in descriptions of sex acts, much as Wilson did in Schroedinger's Cat (presumably for the same reason, to protest an anti-porn decision by the high court.) "I suspect that's where Wilson got the idea," Walker writes. Walker thinks that Vidal's use of the justice's names may only have been in the first edition; Wikipedia appears to be silent on this.

Many of Vidal's criticism of U.S. foreign policy sound like Wilson. (Many of Vidal's obits mention his "isolationism," the favorite smear against people who speak out for peace.)

Update: Interesting Christopher Buckley essay on Vidal.

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