Meacham: Gore Vidal a “fascinating, discomfiting voice”


“Author, playwright, politician and commentator Gore Vidal, whose vast and sharpened range of published works and public remarks were stamped by his immodest wit and unconventional wisdom, died Tuesday at age 86 in Los Angeles.”

The Atlantic posted a great and infamous clip (above) of Vidal and National Review founder and conservative author William F. Buckley on ABC News in 1968.

The witty, acerbic, gay Gore found a powerful foil in the witty, acerbic, very-not-gay William F. Buckley, the conservative movement founder. In 1968, the two men were asked by ABC News to serve as analysts for the Republican and Democratic conventions. In a year in which conventions were contentious, Vidal and Buckley created fireworks of their own, most famously in the clip above (which is probably NSFW without headphones). During a discussion of the Vietnam War, Buckley – in his aristocratic drawl – compares opponents of the war (including Vidal) to Nazi appeasers. Vidal, in his own aristocratic drawl, fires back.

Random House’s Jon Meacham made mention of this moment on the show today (at around the 4:19 mark), which he referred to as an “iconic moment” and called Vidal a “fascinating, discomfiting voice…There’s an artistic record there that I think people will read for a very long time.”


Meacham: Gore Vidal a "fascinating, discomfiting voice"