Sunday, September 18, 2011

I Like Gore Vidal

I like Gore Vidal's fiction and nonfiction very much, but my admiration for his abilities is tempered by the realization that he'd not approve of much about me. Gore's witty and warm, but kind of cranky, or at least that's the impression I have gotten from reading about a hundred pages of his reviews of novels, essays and authors. He disapproves of academia, taking particular exception to the social sciences and English. Maybe he has a point, indeed, but I'm the product of academia, had a great time in academia, and feel like an academic. For all the faults Vidal gleefully points out, I like academia and it likes me, because I seldom made less than an "A" and liked all my professors except the incompetent few. And few really are incompetent. Vidal is wrong there. Just because he's so clever, he belittles the efforts of others, as though they are nothing, when they are not, they are helpful in many ways that Vidal neglects to consider. A professor is not necessary for a self-driven reader such as Vidal, no, he is an exception. But most students are not Vidals. They are not anywhere close to being a Vidal. A professor is very useful to those students, and they would not, perhaps, otherwise learn. It is better for all to learn, than some, and more so in a democracy.

This is just one example of the many areas I part company with my hero. So I like Vidal, but take him with a grain of salt. I like salt.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

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