Liberals at Twilight

 

Dessicated novelist Gore Vidal recently stood from his plate of roast child, unchained his latest romantic conquest from the cellar wall and tottered over to one of those new-fangled electronic speaking devices to deliver his views to Daniel Trilling of the New Statesman. This, for instance, on the Republican Party:

These are the small-town enemies of everybody. They just dislike everyone. They couldn’t come out and say: “We don’t want a black president” – we’ve finally got past that roadblock. So what they did was set out to slaughter the opposition party, the Democrats.

The rest is equally considered and sage. And okay, I’m joking about his personal habits, but this is a phenomenon I noticed first listening to Norman Mailer give an interview toward the end of his life. I noticed it again only recently debating former talk show host Dick Cavett on NPR. To wit: Lefty celebrities of the sixties age badly. Really badly. Once their wit or talent or gift for invective is gone, they have nothing left but crotchety and unreasoned distaste for the Others who disagree with them. They have become, in fact, conservative in the pejorative sense of that word: inflexible, immovable, cantankerously defiant of change.

Age is no friend to any of us, of course. But these are people whose every idea failed spectacularly, who have lived to see that their considerable talents were used in a way that ultimately debased American discourse and themselves. They are a bitter, disappointed and secretly self-disgusted generation. Ciao, baby.

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Members have made 56 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Craig McLaughlin Inactive

    Except for Garrison Keillor. He remains a delight.

    • #1
    • October 12, 2010 at 4:26 am
  2. Profile photo of flownover Inactive
    Craig McLaughlin: Except for Garrison Keillor. He remains a delight. · Oct 11 at 4:26pm

    tru dat

    • #2
    • October 12, 2010 at 4:34 am
  3. Profile photo of Scott R Member

    Gore’s appearance on Uncommon Knowledge in 2002 with Dinesh D’Souza is a classic example of what you describe: a repulsive, bitter blob.

    • #3
    • October 12, 2010 at 4:36 am
  4. Profile photo of EJHill Member

    The Progressives have always advanced their favorite fantasy of universal acknowledgment of their greatness. They preferred that it would come as some sort of mass enlightenment but they would readily accept our incarceration in a re-education camp. If both of those failed they were also open to Plan C, which is our physical extinction. (If you think I exaggerate check out the stories on the 10:10 “Green Film” where global warming denying children are blown up.)

    They thought they had the answer in Mr. Obama. After all, who dare question the wisdom of a black man? And if his policies were questioned they could always yell, “Racism,” couldn’t they? It never failed in the past.

    But the charge has grown tiresome and it has failed – spectacularly. As has their policies.

    • #4
    • October 12, 2010 at 4:37 am
  5. Profile photo of Diane Ellis Contributor

    “Plate of roast child” (or perhaps “Liberals at Twilight”?) caused there to be an advertisement exhorting viewers to “Become a Vampire!” The ad features a young woman with blood running down her chin. Disturbing image.

    • #5
    • October 12, 2010 at 4:39 am
  6. Profile photo of flownover Inactive

    I’m sorry but was seized by a paroxsym of reckless mirth with the second course of kid ! Poifect !!

    Who was enabing these tottering piles of typing (hat tip to TC) ?

    Quentin Crisp, Benny the Ball…..they’re all here !

    • #6
    • October 12, 2010 at 4:40 am
  7. Profile photo of flownover Inactive

    Gore is the only time I have been advised of something to be avoided that could be described in one word.

    It was in Pamplona , Al was still a congressman, Gore was still a congregational man .

    Just saw the trap I’d set. I think Gary Oldman and Linda Hunt have opportunities.

    And have the local office call Anne Rice back, maybe have Bobby Jindal call her.

    • #7
    • October 12, 2010 at 4:48 am
  8. Profile photo of Midget Faded Rattlesnake Moderator
    Diane Ellis, Ed.: “Plate of roast child” (or perhaps “Liberals at Twilight”?) caused there to be an advertisement exhorting viewers to “Become a Vampire!” The ad features a young woman with blood running down her chin. Disturbing image. · Oct 11 at 4:39pm

    I dunno… I’ve been getting that “Become a Vampire!” ad for weeks here, no matter the post. Plus those even more disturbing “Make My Baby” ads, featuring pictures of kids with orange-blue faces, lopsided pupils, serial-killer deadpans, or something equally horrific.

    Maybe it’s just part of the buildup to Halloween.

    Or maybe they’ve identified me as being part of the “baby-making vampire” niche market.

    • #8
    • October 12, 2010 at 4:58 am
  9. Profile photo of Bill Walsh Member

    Chaney_Phantom_01.jpgYou’re right that all they’re left with is bile and choler, but I wonder if it’s not the result of disappointment and experience, but time stripping away niceties and politesse to reveal the skull beneath the skin.

    After all, if you’re as radically opposed to What Is as a Mailer or a Vidal, you’re either furious because of something, or you’re finding something to hang your inchoate fury on. Add the disinhibiting effect of age, and one may be looking at the dark heart that was always there, cloaked in their gauzy, lofty claims of a superior love for humanity.

    And their hateful adversaries? Project much, dudes?

    • #9
    • October 12, 2010 at 5:05 am
  10. Profile photo of flownover Inactive
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake

    Midge ? Meet Eric.

    Is that a robot in your driveway or are you just glad to predict me ?

    • #10
    • October 12, 2010 at 5:11 am
  11. Profile photo of Midget Faded Rattlesnake Moderator
    Speaking of the ads we get here, there’s now one running from the AARP asking“WHERE DO THE CANDIDATES’ STAND ON THE ISSUES?”Umm… the candidates’ what?

    I thought one of the advantages retired folks were supposed to have over us youngsters was better punctuation. But apparently, we’ve reached the point where even the elderly can’t punctuate.

    Now excuse me while I go make my vampire baby.

    • #11
    • October 12, 2010 at 5:12 am
  12. Profile photo of flownover Inactive

    Excuse the acting like I was “inoculated with a victrola needle” , but Mailer in the morning and Vidal at night is just not acceptable for a nice autumn day like this.

    Missouri was beautiful, we shut down Robin Carnahan> Imaginary wet index finger strokes air–

    As Lileks contemplates a rake, we use a scythe.

    • #12
    • October 12, 2010 at 5:17 am
  13. Profile photo of Midget Faded Rattlesnake Moderator
    flownover
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    Midge ? Meet Eric.

    Is that a robot in your driveway or are you just glad to predict me ? · Oct 11 at 5:11pm

    Flownover, who’s Eric?

    I admit to being a geek, but if it’s a current pop-culture reference you’re making, it’ll probably go swoop! right over my head unless there’s an explanatory link attached. Because really, I’m that much of a geek.

    • #13
    • October 12, 2010 at 5:20 am
  14. Profile photo of EJHill Member
    Diane Ellis, Ed.: “Plate of roast child” (or perhaps “Liberals at Twilight”?)….

    Is this what you’re looking for, Diane?

    • #14
    • October 12, 2010 at 5:28 am
  15. Profile photo of flownover Inactive

    Eric Schmidt, CEO Google, MegaObamaMoney

    Oldernyu

    • #15
    • October 12, 2010 at 5:29 am
  16. Profile photo of flownover Inactive
    EJHill
    Diane Ellis, Ed.: “Plate of roast child” (or perhaps “Liberals at Twilight”?)….
    Is this what you’re looking for, Diane? · Oct 11 at 5:28pm

    You’re a scary guy EJ, Halloween beckons.

    • #16
    • October 12, 2010 at 5:31 am
  17. Profile photo of flownover Inactive
    • #17
    • October 12, 2010 at 5:34 am
  18. Profile photo of Patrick Shanahan Inactive

    Andrew,

    A movement built on youthful “attitude” and disdain for basic American virtues could not help but descend into self-parody. “I hope I die before I get old” sang The Who in an anthem for the generation. Turns out they were right. Those who stagger into senescence with that youthful attitude unchanged are pitiful and silly characters -bitter, empty shells whose actuals selves have collpased under the pressure of decaying hipdom.

    Gore Vidal is a cultural black hole.

    • #18
    • October 12, 2010 at 5:36 am
  19. Profile photo of EJHill Member
    Patrick Shanahan: A movement built on youthful “attitude” and disdain for basic American virtues could not help but descend into self-parody.

    Amen to that. When a 67-year-old Mick Jagger sings “I can’t get no satisfaction,” I mean, at his age, is anyone surprised? No satisfaction without the little blue pills…

    • #19
    • October 12, 2010 at 5:46 am
  20. Profile photo of Cas Balicki Inactive
    Andrew Klavan: Dessicated … ·

    Desiccated?

    • #20
    • October 12, 2010 at 5:49 am
  21. Profile photo of Kenneth Inactive

    Well, when the universe has stubbornly refused to re-order itself in line with your commands and the dewy coeds of Vasser and Brown no longer throng to your cocktail receptions, one tends to become bitter.

    Dammit.

    • #21
    • October 12, 2010 at 5:50 am
  22. Profile photo of flownover Inactive

    Yeah, just got the email from amazon saying the homelander book is shipping a month early !! my daughter will be very pleased. thanks andrew

    • #22
    • October 12, 2010 at 6:19 am
  23. Profile photo of Midget Faded Rattlesnake Moderator
    Kenneth: Well, when the universe has stubbornly refused to re-order itself in line with your commands and the dewy coeds of Vasser and Brown no longer throng to your cocktail receptions, one tends to become bitter. · Oct 11 at 5:50pm

    And desiccated. It’s the lack of dew that does it, Cas.

    EDIT: Ah, Cas, I see, it was the spelling you questioned, not the word. Desiccated is one of my problem words, too — mainly because my intuition is to spell it with two c’s, but then my intuition is always also that my intuition is wrong. The word’s been tripping me up ever since the dewy age of 14.

    • #23
    • October 12, 2010 at 6:26 am
  24. Profile photo of Mel Foil Inactive

    Mercifully, most of the people that were naive enough to be entertained by Vidal or Cavett in the 1960s, are dead now. They can’t suffer the embarrassment of seeing what poor judges of character they were.

    • #24
    • October 12, 2010 at 6:29 am
  25. Profile photo of Pseudodionysius Member
    Bill Walsh

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake

    Note, though, that if he’s right, the fact that Ricochet forbids discussion of 99% of conspiracy theories means that Ricochet is run by conspirators. (With Peter Robinson as the sinister éminence grise, of course.) · Oct 11 at 8:50pm

    The Ricochet Ministry of Information wants you to know that the Junta has declared There Is No Conspiracy. Those who assert there is will run afoul of the secret masters o—

    Perhaps I’ve said too much. · Oct 11 at 10:06pm

    All true conspiracies require at least one mastermind with plentiful facial hair.

    • #25
    • October 12, 2010 at 6:30 am
  26. Profile photo of Pseudodionysius Member
    Andrea Ryan

    Peter Robinson

    Kenneth

    …I like ya better as an eminence grise.

    · Oct 11 at 7:17pm

    You can’t imagine how delighted I am to hear that. · Oct 11 at 8:40pm
    That term is screwing with me. Gris (pronounced like grise) means “pig” in Swedish. It’s a good thing I studied French, too. Any other animal and I could think of something fun…but, I’m not touching that one. 🙂 · Oct 11 at 10:08pm

    I can’t possibly comment on this triple entendre without running afoul of the constabulary.

    • #26
    • October 12, 2010 at 6:31 am
  27. Profile photo of Palaeologus Member
    Patrick Shanahan: Gore Vidal is a cultural black hole. · Oct 11 at 5:36pm

    In academic news, Multiculturalism pitched what can only be described, according to sources close to the “ideal,” as an “enormous hissy-fit” today.

    The big M responded, “Look, Gore Vidal is a friend of mine; he’s good people. But, really, he’s a cultural black hole? He couldn’t carry my…”

    We now return to regularly scheduled programming.

    • #27
    • October 12, 2010 at 6:33 am
  28. Profile photo of Peter Robinson Founder

    For perhaps the most bizarre episode of Uncommon Knowledge ever filmed, take at look at the show on which my guests were Dinesh D’Souza and…Gore Vidal.

    Click here.

    • #28
    • October 12, 2010 at 6:36 am
  29. Profile photo of Songwriter Member
    Andrew Klavan:

    Lefty celebrities of the sixties age badly. Really badly. Once their wit or talent or gift for invective is gone, they have nothing left but crotchety and unreasoned distaste for the Others who disagree with them. They have become, in fact, conservative in the pejorative sense of that word: inflexible, immovable, cantankerously defiant of change.

    Conjures up the image of the aging radical on his front porch: “You conservatives better GET OFF MY LAWN!”

    • #29
    • October 12, 2010 at 6:55 am
  30. Profile photo of Kenneth Inactive
    Peter Robinson: For perhaps the most bizarre episode of Uncommon Knowledge ever filmed, take at look at the show on which my guests were Dinesh D’Souza and…Gore Vidal.

    Click here. · Oct 11 at 6:36pm

    Peter, you look like a college sophomore in that episode.

    I like ya better as an eminence grise.

    As for inflicting Gore Vidal on your audience and yourself, I can’t decide whether you’re a sadist or a masochist.

    • #30
    • October 12, 2010 at 7:17 am
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