The Importance of Being Gore Vidal: “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” Gore Vidal — October 3, 1925-July 31, 2012
In case you didn’t know, Gore Vidal was all kind of awesome.
First off, he went by the name Gore. He wanted a distinctive name fitting for an aspiring author or national political leader, and — success! (His grandfather was U.S. Senator Thomas Gore of Oklahoma.)
Gore is a fantastic name. Remember meeting Gore way back when? No? That’s because you never met him. If you had met him, you would recall it. I mean, the guy’s name was Gore, for God’s sake.
Second, he was everywhere. By all accounts, he was edge-of-your-seat fun and a rollercoaster ride to be around. I suspect he was never boring. He probably mumbled fascinating witticisms in his sleep. I think hanging out with him would be like starring in The Importance of Being Earnest, an all-encompassing experience filled with Bunburying and perambulators and people dining on little cucumber sandwiches. It almost makes me wish I had been discovered as a baby in a handbag at Victoria Station.
All of which is another way of saying Gore was kind of Oscar Wilde-ish. Gore was America’s enfant terrible, shockingly frank, acerbically funny. And he had his critics for sure. He tended to prefer a battle of wits to drawn-out debate (aphorisms trumped arguments). Some took him to task for his contemptuous tone, caustic wit, and pithy one-liners.
He had his critics, but he didn’t seem to give a damn about them. He knew who he was, and he knew what he wanted to say. The importance of being Gore Vidal was that he had style and said his piece. But then, I like people who kick asses and take names.