After watching a documentary on Gore Vidal last night, I was reminded of my late hero's unwise traffic with Timothy McVeigh. I think Gore was a whore for attention and lacked discretion in distinguishing good attention from bad attention. I think Gore gained nothing by that traffic and gave his ideological opponents a gift that keeps on giving. Perhaps Gore had grown decrepit in his old age and lost some of his judgement or perhaps his decisions were all in character. Killing a bunch of people should not be a means to get attention for a cause, or else civilization is truly dead. The terrorist committed an act of war, and there is not much to discuss about war. War is answered by war, violence begets violence and so on.
Viewing clips of Gore through the years, I agree with others in finding him foremost an entertainer, secondly a critic, and only last a philosopher. Many things that he said do ring true, but he exaggerated for dramatic effect, as writers like to do to stave off their nemesis, the reader's boredom. I think Gore could have chosen his battles more carefully, but then would Gore have still been Gore, and would anyone have ever heard of him at all? Perhaps he reckoned on accruing occasional setbacks in seeking the greater goal of achieving notoriety and success as an entertainer. I would not make the mistake of asserting that Gore was wise however. Clever, yes, very, and cunning as well. Perhaps he was wise in the sense that his personal life seemed surprisingly neat and solid. He never wanted for money, and his relationship with his partner endured to his death. He seemed quite content and lived to a ripe old age, enjoying the admiration of a legion of fans right to the end. In reading Gore, I think it is important to perceive that he exaggerates and sometimes takes extreme positions that seem far out on a limb because he is a performer, an entertainer that is doing his best to engage an audience that he may indeed hold in some secret contempt.