Thursday, August 2, 2012

Gore Vidal: October 3, 1925 - July 31, 2012

Gore Vidal was one of the great polemicists of our time. I'll never be in his league of course but he was a hero to me and an influence in my life long love of polemics which has served me well all my life. That love continues to serve me well in writing this blog. I owe a great debt to Gore Vidal for being a role model and a standard setter even though I could never match the standard he set.

Gore Vidal died on July 31, 2012. The world is a better place because he lived a long and influential life. The world will miss his talent and the prolific thoughts from a first class mind.

Vidal was an accomplished author, essayist, screenwriter, playwright, and political activist. He often angered political conservatives with his liberal views and opinions. As a young man, I shared many of his liberal views. Even as I grew more and more politically conservative in my midlife, I continued to share an appreciation for Vidal's liberal views on human sexuality. Long before it was as tolerated as it is today, Vidal lived openly as a bisexual man. Like me, he held the opinion that bisexuality is the biological norm for human males and that homosexuality and heterosexuality are variations from that biological norm.

Vidal's father was a West Point graduate and later served in the Roosevelt Administration. His mother was a socialite and an actress. Gore, himself, could have followed his social class and have attended any of the Ivy League Universities, but he chose to enter the U.S. Navy because of his great love for the country and his desire to serve it.

The competing interests and influences in Vidal's life could be seen in the way he lived out his life. Always a fighter for liberal causes and a life long participant and apologist for the Democrat Party, he never the less thought of himself as a conservative. As he saw it, his family had been a major force in the building of this country throughout its history and he was determined to protect it at all costs.

Never married, Vidal had numerous sexual affairs with both men and women. Some of them were well known. In 1950 he met Howard Austen and the two of them lived together until Austen's death in 2003. Vidal claimed that he and Austen were not sexual partners because sexual activity between people spoiled relationships. Never the less their bond was tight and when Austen was buried Vidal bought a plot next to him for himself.Because he lived his life openly as a bisexual man long before bisexuality was even recognized to exist, he always felt that society penalized him and kept him from having all of his achievements fully recognized.

Upon his death, the New York Times described Vidal as, "an Augustan figure who believed himself to be the last of a breed and he was probably right."

He was, no doubt a great man, and all of us as bisexual men stand on his shoulders.

Rest in peace Vidal.

Jack Scott

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I deeply regret that I must reinstate the verification process for those who want to leave comments on my blog. This is due to the intolerable amount of spam that spammers are attempting to leave on the blog.

At the same time I am changing settings so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will not have to have your comments moderated. My hope is this will encourage more readers to take the time to comment. The fact is I want to read comments with those of you who disagree with me as well as those of you who agree with me. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and non-threatening.

The only reason I take the time to write this blog is to spur your thoughts and comments. Please do not let the spammers cause you not to comment. I know entering the verification words and numbers is a pain in the ass, but I hope you will not let the spammers cause you not to comment.

I still very much look forward to hearing from you.

Jack Scott

Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott