I wonder whether Gore Vidal figures in any history classes? He is brilliant, funny, and piercing. He died in 2012.
The documentary was released in 2013. You can find it on Netflix.
TRAILER: Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia (2014) – Gore Vidal Documentary HD
BIOGRAPHY: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gore_Vidal
See also Gore Vidal´s “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How we got to be so hated” which provides a dozen pages listing in chart form the nearly 200 US military interventions [operations] since WWII.
I cannot find, but I am pretty sure that for a time in his young adult years Vidal worked as a journalist reporting from one of the Latin American countries that was a target of U.S. imperialists. As I recall, he was astounded by the discrepancy between what was happening on the ground in the country, and what was being reported in the American media, to U.S. citizens. I don’t remember which country it was. If you know of any documentation regarding that introduction of Vidal to the reality of American foreign policy, I will appreciate receiving it. Muchas gracias.
VIDAL WITH PRESIDENT MIKHAEL GORBACHEV OF THE SOVIET UNION (RUSSIA)
Gorbachev is on the Cast List of the film – footage from meetings between the two.
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Thanks to “Variety“:
Film Review: ‘Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia’
This highly entertaining documentary should attract healthy niche sales.
A fine memorial to one of 20th-century America’s most brilliant, original — and cranky — thinkers, “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia” duly charts the late scribe’s artistic achievements and often glittering celebrity social life. But the emphasis is on his parallel persona as a harsh scold of U.S. social injustices and political corruptions, his remarks about which invariably got attention even while delivered from his longtime expatriate home in Italy. Primarily shot with Vidal’s full cooperation before his death a year ago at age 86, Nicholas Wrathall’s highly entertaining documentary — though it will also infuriate some — should attract healthy niche sales, especially to broadcasters.
Aptly introduced by one TV interviewer as “a thorn in the American establishment, of which he is by birth a charter member,” Vidal was raised in a family with high social and political connections. Rather than choosing politics, however, he sought fame as a novelist — but after his acclaimed first efforts, 1948’s “The City and the Pillar” caused such a scandal with its sympathetic treatment of homosexuality that he was blackballed from coverage for years by many outlets, including the New York Times. This forced him to turn toward Hollywood and Broadway for work; his successes there included the screenplay for “Ben-Hur” and stage hit “The Best Man.”
Marvelously indifferent to the notion of tact — yet so articulate he made mincemeat of famed verbal jousters like William F. Buckley and Norman Mailer, as recalled in some delicious clips here — Vidal made no secret of his own views on sexuality, which were pretty out-there even by later Gay Lib standards. (He announced, “Sex destroys relationships … I’m devoted to promiscuity,” while living many decades with platonic companion Howard Austin.)
But it was his willingness to engage with other issues of the day that often enraged conservatives. The Vietnam War, Nixon, the Reagan era rise of evangelical Christian power brokers, U.S. provocations against perceived enemy governments, President George W. Bush’s responses to 9/11 (“We’ve had bad presidents before but we’ve never had a goddamn fool”), and the escalating gap between the wealthy and the struggling (“This is a country of the rich, for the rich and by the rich”) all earned his memorably vivid tongue-lashings. He also critiqued what he deemed the general self-mythologizing of Americans as historically open-minded and resistant to institutional manipulation.
While much here will be familiar to fans (especially those who have read his memoirs), there are some surprises, like Vidal’s latter-day dismissal of good friend John F. Kennedy’s “disastrous” presidency; the revelation that he once shared a cottage with fellow pal Paul Newman; or the drama of his contentious estrangement from onetime protege Christopher Hitchens (who died in 2011, but is also extensively interviewed here).
Pic doesn’t delve deeply into Vidal’s career as a fiction writer, although it’s worth noting that an oeuvre that juggled such high-profile outrages as “Myra Breckenridge” with brilliantly crafted historical novels like “Lincoln” remains undervalued precisely because he was so prolific and popular. Clips from his film projects add to a lively mix that also encompasses much vintage news/talkshow footage (including a notable evisceration of an extremely uncomfortable young Jerry Brown during one of the Vidal’s two actual political campaigns), plus interviews with famous friends like Dick Cavett and Tim Robbins.
But the grounding material here is with the elderly Vidal himself, whom we first encounter ruminating atop his future burial plot, shrugging off the fear of death like any other opponent. Unfailingly witty and devastatingly insightful, he personifies that near-extinct species — the public intellectual.
Assembly is rock-solid.