Gore Vidal Quotes

A good deed never goes unpunished.

A narcissist is someone better looking than you are.

All children alarm their parents, if only because you are forever expecting to encounter yourself.

All in all, I would not have missed this century for the world.

Andy Warhol is the only genius I’ve ever known with an I.Q. of 60.

Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so.

Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.

As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.

As the age of television progresses the Reagans will be the rule, not the exception. To be perfect for television is all a President has to be these days.

By the time a man gets to be presidential material, he’s been bought ten times over.

Democracy is supposed to give you the feeling of choice, like Painkiller X and Painkiller Y. But they’re both just aspirin.

Fifty percent of people won’t vote, and fifty percent don’t read newspapers. I hope it’s the same fifty percent.

Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.

I never miss a chance to have sex or appear on television.

I’m all for bringing back the birch, but only between consenting adults.

In America, the race goes to the loud, the solemn, the hustler. If you think you’re a great writer, you must say that you are.

In writing and politicking, it’s best not to think about it, just do it.

It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.

It is the spirit of the age to believe that any fact, no matter how suspect, is superior to any imaginative exercise, no matter how true.

Litigation takes the place of sex at middle age.

Many writers who choose to be active in the world lose not virtue but time, and that stillness without which literature cannot be made.

Never have children, only grandchildren.

Now you have people in Washington who have no interest in the country at all. They’re interested in their companies, their corporations grabbing Caspian oil.

On 16 September 1985, when the Commerce Department announced that the United States had become a debtor nation, the American Empire died.

One is sorry one could not have taken both branches of the road. But we were not allotted multiple selves.

Our form of democracy is bribery, on the highest scale.

Sex is. There is nothing more to be done about it. Sex builds no roads, writes no novels and sex certainly gives no meaning to anything in life but itself.

Some writers take to drink, others take to audiences.

Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.

Television is now so desperately hungry for material that they’re scraping the top of the barrel.

That is sad until one recalls how many bad books the world may yet be spared because of the busyness of writers.

That loyal retainer of the Chase Manhattan Bank, the American president.

The behaviour of President Bush on 11 September certainly gives rise to not unnatural suspicions.

The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity – much less dissent.

The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so.

The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along, paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return.

The greatest pleasure when I started making money was not buying cars or yachts but finding myself able to have as many freshly typed drafts as possible.

The more money an American accumulates, the less interesting he becomes.

The theater needs continual reminders that there is nothing more debasing than the work of those who do well what is not worth doing at all.

There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.

There is no such thing as a homosexual or a heterosexual person. There are only homo- or heterosexual acts. Most people are a mixture of impulses if not practices.

There is something about a bureaucrat that does not like a poem.

There’s a lot to be said for being nouveau riche, and the Reagans mean to say it all.

Think of the earth as a living organism that is being attacked by billions of bacteria whose numbers double every forty years. Either the host dies, or the virus dies, or both die.

To a man, ornithologists are tall, slender, and bearded so that they can stand motionless for hours, imitating kindly trees, as they watch for birds.

Today’s public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can’t read them either.

Until the rise of American advertising, it never occurred to anyone anywhere in the world that the teenager was a captive in a hostile world of adults.

We must declare ourselves, become known; allow the world to discover this subterranean life of ours which connects kings and farm boys, artists and clerks. Let them see that the important thing is not the object of love, but the emotion itself.

We’re not a democracy.

What is in question is a kind of book reviewing which seems to be more and more popular: the loose putting down of opinions as though they were facts, and the treating of facts as though they were opinions.

What other culture could have produced someone like Hemmingway and not seen the joke?

Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies.

Write something, even if it’s just a suicide note.

Writing fiction has become a priestly business in countries that have lost their faith.