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On Gore Vidal

When I read that the editors of FI, in their introduction to S. T. Joshi’s obituary of Gore Vidal (FI, October/November 2012), quoted International Academy of Humanism Secretary Stephen Law that Vidal was “principled, honest, and courageous” I was perplexed and frightened. I could not help but wonder what Joshi had written and whether they were referring to the same man I knew as one of the world’s great anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists. After reading Joshi’s paean, I could understand their love of a fellow atheist. However, I could not help but notice that Joshi made no mention of Vidal’s vicious anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements reflecting his great hate of Jews. Nor was there any mention of his support for his support of causes of the political Far Right and seeming contempt of the United States. Much of Vidal’s hate was detailed by Norman Podhoretz in his well-known November 1986 article in Commentary magazine, “The Hate That Dare Not Speak Its Name.” Even the great Christopher Hitchens made note of this Vidal attribute, although he may have tended to minimize it (Vanity Fair, February 2010).

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