Gore Vidal, that is. The novelist, playwright and essayist spoke Tuesday evening at the Claremont McKenna College Athenaeum to impressionable college students, town graybeards and journalists (me).
At this point the literary lion doesn’t roar, he merely speaks in a sepulchral purr. To summarize his key points, America has been in deep decline for five decades, the world hates us, things are unlikely to improve and most of us are too dumb to know it, to know our own history, or to care.
Moderator: “So I’m not hearing a lot of hope.”
Vidal, poker-faced: “I bubble with it.”
On what passed for the bright side, Vidal said in response to a question about 9/11: “Bush didn’t do it. He’s too incompetent.”
If you hear reports of a mass suicide in Claremont, you’ll know what triggered it.