Gore Vidal’s Groundhog Day

Andrew Ferguson at The Weekly Standard has an obit on Gore Vidal that is worthy of Vidal’s former student, the late Christopher Hitchens.

From the 1950s, before Ike had even left the White House, Vidal was announcing that the right-wingers had seized the Republican party from the sensible members of a generation before; a generation later, the right-wingers had seized the party from the sensible members of a generation before; and so on, for half a century. In his world “the generals” were always two ticks away from declaring war and imposing martial law; the theocracy would be arranged before the decade was out; he saw the dying embers of capitalism; and the dark curtain of fascism was falling even as you were reading his words. 

Try keeping that up for 50 years! No wonder he was a hero to the Personages. For them too every day is Groundhog Day, bringing fresh news from the day before about what won’t happen tomorrow. His career must stand as a great reassurance.

He ends the piece with one of the greatest sentences I’ve ever read:

If you’re wrong in the right way, all will be forgiven, until everyone forgets that there was ever anything to forgive. 

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