Vidal gored

Gore Vidal, the novelist and essayist who died this week, famously remarked “I’m exactly as I appear. There is no warm, lovable person inside. Beneath my cold exterior, once you break the ice, you find cold water.” Equally (if not more) famously, he engaged in a hissing match with the late conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr., infuriating the latter by calling him a “crypto-Nazi.” Buckley, ordinarily a civilized and skilled verbal pugilist, responded with ferocity best captured by the YouTube clip here: “Now listen, you queer,” he said, “stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in your goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered.” What is less well known is Vidal’s resentment fueled hatred of the Jews. In this vintage piece by Norman Podhoretz, the long-time Commentary editor dissects this pathological strain of Vidal’s pathological personality. Along the way, he treats us to entertaining and instructive tales of squabbles among the literary lions and pretenders of the second half of the twentieth century. Read “The Hate That Dare Not Speak Its Name.”


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