Subtitle: Worst-thoughts on Gore Vidal’s Washington, D.C.
A few months back, dear worst-reader, while pondering Gore Vidal’s work, I took the liberty of reminding my sister that she should start reading Narratives of Empire. I’ve been ranting and raving about Gore Vidal to her for years. I’ve now read five of the seven books of this series, plus a whole bunch of his other stuff. Here’s a tag link to my Gore Vidal posts. Anywho.
My sister took note of my recommendation because on our next call she informed me that there would be no reading of any of Vidal’s work on account her public library no longer carried his books. WTF! Although an avid reader, she is no longer an avid book owner/buyer. Which is cool. Whatever floats your dingy, right. Then again. She also relies on her local library to have the books she wants in digital form so she can read them on her iPad (for free). Again. That’s cool. Our dingy is floatin’.
There’s just one problem in this world of worst-writer reading recommendations. When I asked her to inquire as to why a public library in my grand & missed united mistakes of #Americant doesn’t have one book (either digital or analog) by Gore Vidal her answer was nothing less than… bewildering. After the call I got to thinking about how censorship and well-framed narratives make up the entirety of #Americant public discourse in times of faux-newz, epic comic book movies and cable tv galore that does nothing less than mind-fcuk. With that in worst-mind, do I think prudery, bigotry and dumbing-down of a country would inevitably lead to indirect literary censorship–of the likes of Gore Vidal? You betcha I believe it, baby. But enough of my worst-gibberish about the obvious.
According to Wiki, Washington, D.C. is the least political of Gore Vidal’s seven novel series Narratives of Empire. I don’t quite know what “least political” means since I’ve not read anything by the likes of Henry James, the works of which this book is supposed to, according to Wiki, emulate. I’m also not able to distinguish anything between literary realism and/or literary modernism. Two more big concepts that kind of elude me. But I will worst-say this about it: this is the easiest of the five Narrative books I’ve read thus far. For. Don’t you know. Gore Vidal’s Narrative series was not written in historical chronology–and they, unabashedly, are not full of praise and wonder of all things red-white-and-blue. Since I’m also not reading them in order—either historical ￼chronology or publishing chronology—￼I can definitely tell that this book isn’t like the others I have read￼. Although it’s the second to last book in the historical chronology￼, Washington D.C. was the first published in 1967. Of the series I’ve read so far, Burr, Lincoln, Hollywood and Empire, this one is much more subtle in its truth-telling and/or criticism (of all things red-white-and-blue). The second in the series that was published, Burr, which begins the historical￼ chronology, is not as subtle at all. It’s as though Vidal found his mark after publishing Washington D.C. thereby realising there’s no need to go easy on ‘em–and write like Henry James (what ever that means). The last published book of the series is The Golden Years. It was published in 2000. All in all, that’s thirty-two years of truth-telling and critical historical novel writing about #Americant that I wonder if only Gore Vidal is good at￼. In other worst-words, it’s thirty-two years of writing, in essence, about the history of #Americant where nothing is buttered-up.
Miss you Mr. Vidal!
Here’s a small example of some text from Washington D.C. that tickled my fancy:
They made love as if they had been married a long time yet still desired each other. But then, they had known each other a lifetime and their lovemaking could be considered simply a progression in a friendly relationship. Lately Peter found himself, to his disgust, using jargon words like “relationship,” picked up from Aeneas and his friends who, to a man, were addicted to the opulent vocabulary of psychiatry, a pseudo-science now in vogue, even more than phrenology had been during the previous century. But though Peter found touching the belief of the simple in these new mysteries, he was alarmed when intellectuals attempted to redefine art and life in terms borrowed from the mental therapists, who meanwhile, like the early church fathers, warred with one another, each maintaining that his was the truth and all else heresy. The first victim in these stormy quarrels had been the English language. Eager to illuminate interpersonal activity, words were made up exactly as if this elaborate game were a science in which new things heretofore unknown must be named. One of the great discoveries, the Vinland of the bold voyagers, was “relationship,” a word Peter personally found less appealing than the as yet uncoined “connectionship” or “loveship.” -Gore Vidal, Washington, D.C., Chapter Five, Part III.
There’s two more to go until I finish Narrarives. And as I’ve worst-written before, this is yet another excellent piece of art depicting my beloved & missed #Americant as only Gore Vidal can. Which sometimes makes me beg the question: what would it be like if smart people (as opposed to political morons) ran things?