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March 27, 2005 - He's Back













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Ah, a good new interview with Gore Vidal here in City Pages - Minneapolis/St. Paul.

 

TEASER –

 

… What is the Republican Party? Well, it used to be the party of the small-town businessman, generally in the Middle West, generally sort of out of the mainstream. Very conservative. It now represents nothing but the gas and oil business. They own it. And the people who go to Congress are simply bought. They are lawyers who are paid to represent Halliburton, big oil, big banking. So the very rich corporate America has a party for itself, the Republican Party. The Democrats don't have much of anything but a kind of wistful style. They just want everyone to be happy, and politically correct at all times. Do not hurt other people's feelings. They spend so much time on political correctness that they haven't thought of what to do politically about anything. Like say "no" to these preemptive wars, which are against not only the whole world's take on war and peace, but against United States history.

 

This is something new under the sun--that a president, just because he feels like it, can declare war on anybody. And Congress will go along with him, and the courts will support him. The founding fathers would be mortified if they saw what had happened to their handiwork, which wasn't very great to begin with but is now done for. When you have preemptive wars, and you have ambitious companies like Bechtel who will build up what, let us say, General Electric has helped to destroy with its weaponry--these interests are well-represented.

 

There is no people's party, and you can't even use the word. "Liberal" has been demonized. A liberal is a commie who's also a pedophile. Being a communist and a pedophile, he's so busy that he hasn't got time to win an election and is odious to boot. So there is no Democratic Party. We hope that something might happen with the governor of Vermont, and maybe something will or maybe it won't. But we are totally censored, and the press just follows this. It observes what those in power want it to observe, and turns the other way when things get dark. Then, when it's too late sometimes, you get some very good reporting. But by then, somebody's playing taps.

 

TEASER TWO ON RONALD REAGAN FORWARD –

 

He was small-town American Republican, even though he started life as a Democrat. He believed in the values of Main Street. Sinclair Lewis's novels are filled with Ronald Reagans, though Babbitt doesn't get to the White House. But this time Babbitt did. So it was very congenial for Reagan to play that part, not that he had a very clear idea of what his lines were all about. Those who were writing the scenarios certainly knew.

 

I'd say the downward skid certainly began with Reagan. I came across a comment recently, someone asking why we had gone into both Grenada and Panama, two absolutely nothing little countries who were no danger to us, minding their own business, and we go in and conquer them. Somebody said, well, we did it because we could. That's the attitude of our current rulers.

 

So they will be forever putting--what they do is put us all at risk. You and I and other civilians are going to be the ones who are killed when the Moslems get really angry and start suicide-bombing American cities because of things the Bush/Cheney junta has done to them. We will be the ones killed. Bush/Cheney will be safe in their bunkers, but we're going to get it. I would have thought that self-interest--since Americans are the most easily terrified people on earth, as recently demonstrated over and over again-- we would be afraid of what was going to befall us. But I think simultaneously we have no imagination, and certainly no sense of cause and effect. If we did have that, we might know that if you keep kicking somebody, he's going to kick you back. So there we stand, ignoring the first rule of physics, which is that there is no action without reaction.

 

TEASER THREE ON HOW BUSH’S MIND WORKS –

 

I should think very oddly. He's dyslexic, which means--it's a problem of incoherence. I have some dyslexia in my family, and they can be reasonably intelligent about most things, but they have problems with words, the structure of language. Not really getting it. There's an inability to study anything. Sometimes they also have an attention deficiency and so on.

 

I would say that he is undisturbed by these things. His is a mind totally lacking in culture of any kind. I'm not talking about highbrow culture, just knowledge of the American past, and our institutions. He's got rid of due process of law, which is what the United States is based upon. Once you can send somebody off and put them in the brig of a ship in Charleston Harbor and hold them as long as you like uncharged, you have destroyed the United States and its Constitution. He has done those things.

 

TEASER FOUR ON PUBLIC EDUCATION POLICY –

 

… I don't think Bush himself is particularly relevant to any of this, since he avoided education entirely throughout his life. Which gives him a sort of purity. He was a cheerleader at Andover, where he learned many skills that have been very useful to him since.

 

The educational system was pretty good once. I never went to a public school, and the private schools here are generally good, though we are also better indoctrinated than the public schools. It certainly got bad around the '50s. Just as we became a global empire, the first thing I was struck by was that they stopped teaching geography in public schools. Now here we are a global power, and nobody knows where anything is. I loved geography when I was a kid. It's really the way to get to know the world. The success of Franklin Roosevelt was that he was a great philatelist. He collected stamps, and he knew where all the countries were and who lived in them. Now we have people who don't know where anything is. I remember a speech Bush gave in which he was reaching out not only to the "Torks" but the "Grecians" at some point. We live in total confusion time.

 

There is also something in the water--let us hope it was put there by the enemy--that has made Americans contemptuous of intelligence whenever they recognize it, which is not very often. And a hatred of learning, which you don't find in any other country. There is not one hamlet in Italy in which you can fail to find kids desperate to learn. Yes, there are areas where they might be desperate to become members of the Mafia, but that's because they don't have any money. And a country like Italy is not rich, not as rich as we are. But there isn't a kid in Italy who can't quote Dante. There's no one in America now who knows who Shakespeare is, because they stopped teaching him in high schools.

 

So we are out of it. And no attempt is being made to put us back into it.

 

Gove Vidal lives up in the Hollywood Hills, just above the world headquarters of Just Above Sunset online magazine, although he has maintained a villa in Italy for many decades as a second home.  Now that his companion has passed away – yes, he’s gay – the Italian place is for sale.  If you have a spare seventeen million, US dollars, you could snag this place in Amalfi.  Description here - but it may be gone by now.

 

Well, you can click on the link at the top of the page and read the whole interview.

 

 































 
 
 
 

Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
 
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