Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Those Were the Days, My Friend! (Gore Vidal, We Miss You Already) (You Too, Maeve Binchy)

Dear Madame L,

I'm appalled at the negative campaigning I'm hearing from both the Romney and the Obama campaigns. 

What happened to the days when politicians treated each other with courtesy?



Dear Old-Fashioned,

Apparently you're not only old-fashioned, but your memory is deceiving you. Check out this debate between Gore Vidal and William Buckley during the 1968 presidential campaign (warning: some of the language is shocking, though not on the level of your average high-school student) and tell Madame L you really want this kind of political discourse to return to TV:

By the way, Madame L found this video easily because it has been played frequently on news shows today, as the death of Gore Vidal, at the age of 86, is announced. 

In addition to waging battles of words with people like Buckley, Vidal was a prolific writer. One of his plays, "The Best Man," is being revived on Broadway.

If Madame L had the time and money, she'd want to see this play. (Tickets start at $67 --- Ouch! --- and that's after you fly out to New York and stay in a flea-bag hotel for way more than that.)

Failing that, Madame L is determined to read the script. It's available, free, from the Library of Congress, but this version doesn't seem very readable. You can also get it as a down-loadable Word document by searching at It's available at Amazon but for an outrageous price for every copy except a very used and barely acceptable one. Madame L believes she'll check it out from her local library.

Why will Madame L miss Gore Vidal? She didn't even know him. Nor did she know the Irish writer Maeve Binchy, whose death was also announced this week. But she read some of the works of both of them, and she admires their writing. Who will take the place of the staunch liberal and the journalist-turned-novelist?


Madame L, Who Asks More Questions Than She Answers

1 comment:

AskTheGeologist said...

How could you miss this man? He was a misanthrope.

Full of himself and more than a little bit creepy.

Fairly good writing doesn't absolve those things.