I doubt that anyone reading this Blog needs an introduction to his writings (Myron is my favorite of his novels) or his opinions ( this recent interview should bring you up to speed on that score)
The Truly Devoted might want to get a gander at his film credits, and those of his favorite actor.
Even more exciting is the fact that he’ll be shortly seen in this docudrama, doubtless playing himself (needless to say, his ideal role.)
But I’m a sentimental man, and I can’t help but feeling something more than cheery Birthday greetings are in order in light of the fact that on September 25th Howard Austen died.
Here’s a passage from Fred Kaplan’s Vidal biography, which Vidal doesn’t like and in partial revenge inspired the memoir Palimpsest. But it’s a really neat passage, Gore, so hush up and read:
On Labor Day, 1950, a month after his occupying Edgewater, a significant piece of the puzzle of Gore’s life began to fall into place. Walking down a corridor in the Everard Baths, wrapped in the usual towels, his eyes met those of a twenty-one-year-old New Yorker, Howard Austen.”I saw Gore coming down the corridor and he was really something. Somehow our eyes struck. In the corridor. Towels here and a schmatte there. Then we started talking and ended up in bed. And it was just a total disaster.” But in a larger sense it quickly became a great success. “There was an enormous attraction, but it wasn’t physical. But it didn’t matter, you know. It was a kind of relief. I felt like I had met a soul mate. . .At the end — and you never exchange names — I couldn’t resist, and I said, as I was putting my clothes back on ‘Now, listen, tell me who you are?’ and he said he was a student at the University of Virginia.On the chair was a copy of The New Yorker and a book and maybe a copy of another prestigious magazine. I said, ‘Ya know, you’re full of shit!’ He said ‘What do you mean?’ I said,’No one who’s a student at the University of Virginia reads The New Yorker magazine.’ I thought he might say ‘Well, fuck you. Who are you to know?’ Instead he was delighted.”
And so it began, and continued until September 25, 2003. Vidal often said the secret of their significant otherness was the fact that they didn’t have sex. But as any gay person knows (yes I know you hate “gay,” Gore — tough shit), sex is only one part of any relationship.
Enter (stage left of course) the shade of Michel Foucault:
“I think what most bothers most of those who are not gay about gayness is the gay ‘lifestyle,’ not the sex acts themselves. . .the common fear that gays will develop relationships that are intense and satisfying even though they do not conform to the ideas of relationships held by others. It is the prospect that gays will create as yet unforeseen kinds of relationships that many people cannot tolerate.”
Had they had the opportunity would Gore have married Howard? I can see the former’s scowl and hear the latter’s laughter. And I also think of Pascale Greggory asking Bruno Todeschini “How would you describe our bond?” in Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train.
As far as I’m concerned any terms will do. Except “partner.” Jeez do I hate partner! I’m a man, not a law firm.
And so is Gore Vidal.
Happy Birthday Gore Vidal
Excerpt: David Ehrenstein tells us that yesterday was Gore Vidal’s 78th birthday. In an ideal world, he would have been president….
Tracked: October 4, 2003 10:11 AM