“I told you so,” – Gore Vidal. A recommendation of documentary Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia
One of the finest and most important documentaries I recommend: Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia. Inspiring. Educational. Just like Gore Vidal will always be.
First, from my perspective, I am grateful documentary maker and director Nicholas D. Wrathall created such a fine tribute to the man who has been my mentor my entire life.
Likewise, in my deep desire to share the invaluable import of Gore’s insightful work with as many as possible, I think this film when viewed will strongly invite and encourage individuals to read the timeless historical truth presented in his essays and novels. As one who has read Gore Vidal extensively for over 35 years, it was a delight to view.
Thus, I highly recommend this documentary to all – in it you will see a man who never cared what others thought of him – making him the most eloquent truth teller during my lifetime, for only one who is an individual as Gore Vidal who writes the truth as he knows it (and he knows far more than the majority of you reading this, as you will discover with appreciation if you, too, value truth and its telling in this world of lies).
I began reading Gore as a young teenager (I am now 48 as I write this in 2015); no writer influenced me more.
He made me aware of the many lies the country (its government and entire society) I lived in wanted me to remain indoctrinated with. I changed as I read Gore – and those changes were paramount to the individual I am. I became disillusioned about the country I was born into and its culture of lies. His prose perfectly communicated me truths which I explored…leading to my complete rejection of empire and its imperialism, tyranny, and control of the individual by all the arrogant “do-gooders” I saw all around me…people who wanted to inflict their values on me and others. The only other writers who influenced me so were not contemporaries, but those such as Mark Twain and Frederic Bastiat. But, Gore, was my first and evermore influence, for in him I found a man whom I respected, admired, and chose to and could learn from more than any other writer. I will always love him.
His essays, music to my ears, an idiom descriptively apropos, for in his writings I found not just ideas and facts, but a heart truly saddened by the death and destruction all around him and a mind devoted to sharing with those who would listen how it all could be altered. Poignancy particularly runs through his essays and short stories. His telling of truth opened my eyes. But most people choose lies, fear the truth, and fear is the way the masses are controlled to tolerate and participate in the evils.
In this documentary, I was pleased his works, political life, and personal (biographical) life were examined. A private man as Gore, the clips Wrathall filmed with him in his last years, are precious. His literary career is most impressive, as is his public appearances in which he (as in his writing) always spoke the truth as he knew it…and he knew it!
The film is a wonderful montage of Gore Vidal interview clips, tv appearances, speeches, photographs, and personal glimpses – all depicting how much he cared for humanity and for his countrymen…with a knowing that what people were allowing to occur in the USA would lead to self-destruction…a republic was being lost as evil was being committed domestically and worldwide. Add to this his lucid delineation of the absurdities of this “civilized” society, and you have a communicator whose expression of ideas is timeless.
The personal glimpses provide a taste of what you’ll discover in his literary essay masterpieces – a man who never let societal norms shape who he was. Amongst the many political writings are also poignant pieces, inspired by his life and losses, all pointing to an embracement of truth no matter how painful that reality may be. Even that which seems humorous, as he wryly says things, brings with it a knowing of the dark experiences responsible for that knowledge. Interviews with those who knew him are interspersed.
Provocative is a word for some to describe what you will view in this film (and even more so as you read his books), but never have I found him so…I believe “provocative” feelings must occur within those who adhere to a sense that their values of aggression are being attacked (they are being exposed) and thus they recoil in anger and similar feelings because the love of truth and respect for all individuals is not in them. But those words from him, “I told you so,” will stand the tests of time as the country deteriorates into the darkness it embraced, thought it could handle, and ultimately decays into a morass from which there is no escape.
I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated this documentary, and think it should be viewed by anyone who humbly seeks truth, respects individuality, and more than anything: rejects aggression personally and politically. No other writer has come close to the eloquence, beauty, and indomitable strength of Gore Vidal’s works. He is our nation’s biographer – the true one.
Thus, I highly recommend this film to you. It is now available on Netflix streaming, and for educators out there, it was just picked up by Bullfrog films website: http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/gore.html The documentary website – link takes you to its excellent trailer to view there : http://www.gorevidaldocumentary.com/trailer/
(A personal note: One of the most fulfilling writing experiences for me was my interviewing Gore in 2005 and later my review of Point to Point Navigation (his 2nd memoir) . You may read both my pieces linked from the blog I wrote upon his death: http://christinesmith.us/wordpress/2012/08/01/in-memory-of-gore-vidal/
Watch the film, read my interview/book review, begin reading his literary masterpieces (novels, essays, pamphlets, plays, short stories and two autobiographies/memoirs)…with a good heart and mind, you’ll grow immensely thanks to the man I consider the greatest contemporary truth teller.