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  1. "The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along, paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return."
  2. "The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity - much less dissent."
  3. "As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests."
  4. "He will lie even when it is inconvenient, the sign of the true artist."
  5. "Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates."
  6. Envy is the central fact of American life.  interview by Gerald Clarke (1974), The Paris Review Interviews: Writers at Work, 5th series (1981) 
  7. "There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man."-

     

"Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn. ''

"I don't see us winning the war. We have made enemies of one billion Muslims."

"In almost every case (where the United States has fought wars) our overwhelming commitment to freedom, democracy and human rights has required us to support those regimes that would deny freedom, democracy and human rights to their own people."

"I am an obsessive rewriter, doing one draft and then another and another, usually five. In a way, I have nothing to say, but a great deal to add."

"Until the rise of American advertising, it never occurred to anyone anywhere in the world that the teenager was a captive in a hostile world of adults."

"This is not at all bad, except as prose." 

"For half a century photography has been the "art form" of the untalented. Obviously some pictures are more satisfactory than others, but where is credit due? to the designer of the camera? To the finger on the button? to the law of averages?"

"The idea of a good society is something you do not need a religion and eternal punishment to buttress; you need a religion if you are terrified of death"

"Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies." gore vidal quotes: author and political pundit

"What other culture could have produced someone like Hemmingway and not seen the joke?"

"Litigation takes the place of sex at middle age." Gore Vidal quotes: political pundit and sage

" 'Liberal' comes from the Latin liberalis, which means pertaining to a free man. In politics, to be liberal is to want to extend democracy through change and reform. One can see why that word had to be erased from our political lexicon."

"If most men and women were forced to rely upon physical charm to attract lovers, their sexual lives would be not only meager but in a youth-worshiping country like America, painfully brief."

" When the white race broke out of Europe 500 years ago, it did many astounding things all over the globe. Inspired by a raging sky-god, the whites were able to pretend that their conquests were in order to bring the One God to everyone, particularly those with older and subtler religions."

" Thomas Paine, when asked his religion, said he subscribed only to the religion of humanity."

I don't want anything. I don't want a job. I don't want to be respectable. I don't want prizes. I turned down the National Institute of Arts and Letters when I was elected to it in 1976 on the grounds that I already belonged to the Diners Club.


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Gore Vidal on the Democrats and religion (5-7)

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR: This idea that this undemocratization or growth of fascism is incremental: What are the other signs of it in American society?

GORE VIDAL: Well, it's been the monopolizing of great wealth, which tends to happen in basically unjust societies and undemocratic societies. We have plenty of would-be democrats, would-be liberals, and would-be progressives. But how do you organize? The Democratic Party is a machine to get votes for its people, none of who should probably be elected to the high offices of state. That's all. The Republican Party is fundamentally crooked and might well be outlawed one of these days. Le Pen, you know, in France, who is an out-and-out fascist, the French have managed in some clever way to contain him. I mean, he's always running for president; his votes never seem to show up. I don't know how they do it, but we've got to do that with the Republican base, the religious right. We don't want them running the country. Nobody does. Certainly not the founding fathers. And I think we have to ride herd on them and make sure they do not seize the state.

JAY: Well, they kind of did, and�.

VIDAL: Of course they did. They took advantage of 9/11 and so on.

JAY: How do you assess this danger to democracy of the organization of the hard right alliance of evangelicals?

VIDAL: Well, you have to work out what it is. They are a little splinter. They can't summon many voters at any given time. They are a minority of a minority of a minority. They have everybody buffaloed because the great corporations like them and pay money to their candidates for sheriff and senator. And they're playing big-time politics. Yes, indeed. But the average person doesn't like them. You know, any time I want to get applause�and I lecture across America in state after state after state�when I fear things are getting a little low, I always say, �And another thing: Let us tax all the religions,� I bring down the goddamn house with that. And any politician would if he had sense enough to do it. The people don't like their tax exemption.

Gore Vidal The Quotable American American Masters PBS

"It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail."
"Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn."
"Write what you know will always be excellent advice for those who ought not to write at all." – from The Second American Revolution, 1983
"The more money an American accumulates the less interesting he himself becomes." – from Homage to Daniel Shays: Collected Essays
"Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies." – from The Sunday Times Magazine, 1973
"Andy Warhol is the only genius I've ever known with an I.Q. of 60″
"I am at heart a propagandist, a tremendous hater, a tiresome nag, complacently positive that there is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise." – from Homage to Daniel Shays: Collected Essays, 1972

"The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so."
"You hear all this whining going on, 'Where are our great writers?' The thing I might feel doleful about is: Where are the readers?" – from Esquire, 2008
"Never pass up a chance to have sex or appear on television."
"A narcissist is someone better looking than you are." – from The New York Times, 1981

"History is nothing but gossip about the past, with the hope that it might be true." – from Butt, 2007
"The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country - and we haven't seen them since." – from Matters of Fact and Fiction: Essays 1973 – 1976
"Celebrities are invariably celebrity-mad, just as liars always believe liars." – from Palimpsest: A Memoir

Random Quotes

Homage to Daniel Shays : Collected Essays (1972)

The theater needs continual reminders that there is nothing more debasing than the work of those who do well what is not worth doing at all.
Random House/Vintage, 1973, ISBN 0-394-71950-6

Matters of Fact and Fiction (1978)

The Second American Revolution (1983)

At Home (1988)

The average "educated" American has been made to believe that, somehow, the United States must lead the world even though hardly anyone has any information at all about those countries we are meant to lead. Worse, we have very little information about our own country and its past...

A View from the Diner's Club (1991)

Screening History (1992)

Harvard University Press, 1992, ISBN 0-674-79587-3

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire (1992)

United States - Essays 1952-1992 (1992)

The City and the Pillar and Seven Early Stories (1995)

Palimpsest : A Memoir (1995)

Viking/Penguin, 1996, ISBN 0-14-026089-7

What I've Learned (2008)

People in my situation get to read about themselves whether they want to or not. It's generally wrong. Or oversimplified - which is sometimes useful.
Interview by Mike Sager, Esquire, (June 2008), p. 132

Gore Vidal's America (2009)

Seven part interview by Paul Jay, The Real News, (5 July 2009)

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