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Top quotes by Gore Vidal on politics, government, media, opinion and more.

96 Top Quotes By Gore Vidal, The Author Of Julian

Quick Facts

Born On: October 3, 1925

Died On: July 31, 2012

Born In: West Point

Founder / Co Founder: The Ludington Line, Transcontinental Air Transport , Northeast Airlines

Died At Age: 86

Eugene Louis Vidal, better known as Gore Vidal, was a novelist, essayist, playwright and screenwriter from the United States, who was also regarded as one of the leading public intellectuals in the world in the 20th century. He was born in a distinguished family, which was politically active and his grandfather on the mother’s side was in fact a senator. Vidal was a political thinker, writer and intellectual whose primary focus was on the history of America, with special focus on the politics and foreign policy. He was an essayist for some of the leading publications like Esquire Magazine, The Nation and New York Review of Books among others. Vidal’s writing skills quickly established him as one of the leading intellectuals and thinkers in the United States, while his books made him a household name in the country. Some of his most well-known books include ‘The City and the Pillar’, ‘Burr’, ‘Lincoln’, ‘Julian’ and ‘Myra Breckinridge’ among others. ‘Myra Breckinridge’ was also turned into a film which drew a lot of controversy due to its contents. Vidal was also a master debater who went toe to toe with some of the leading thinkers of the day in televised debates and captivated audiences with the force of his arguments and his eloquence. Here are some of the very best Gore Vidal one liners and quotes.

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The unfed mind devours itself.

Gore Vidal

How marvelous books are, crossing worlds and centuries, defeating ignorance and, finally, cruel time itself.

Gore Vidal

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

Gore Vidal

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

Gore Vidal

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

Gore Vidal

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.

Gore Vidal

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.

Gore Vidal

Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little.

Gore Vidal

The important thing is not the object of love, but the emotion itself.

Gore Vidal

It is not enough merely to win; others must lose.

Gore Vidal

I’m not sentimental about anything. Life flows by, and you flow with it or you don’t. Move on and move out.

Gore Vidal

Monotheism is easily the greatest disaster to befall the human race.

Gore Vidal

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

Gore Vidal

I sometimes think it is because they are so bad at expressing themselves verbally that writers take to pen and paper in the first place

Gore Vidal

A narcissist is someone better looking than you are.

Gore Vidal

Always a godfather, never a god.

Gore Vidal

We are the United States of Amnesia, we learn nothing because we remember nothing.

Gore Vidal

The idea of a good society is something you do not need a religion and eternal punishment to buttress; you need a religion if you are terrified of death.

Gore Vidal

Andy Warhol is the only genius I've ever known with an IQ of 60.

Gore Vidal

To a born-again atheist like myself, it is clear that each of us has multiple selves, talents, perceptions. But to the Roman Catholic, unity is all.

Gore Vidal

Write what you know will always be excellent advice for those who ought not to write at all. Write what you think, what you imagine, what you suspect!

Gore Vidal

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.

Gore Vidal

Southerners make good novelists: they have so many stories because they have so much family.

Gore Vidal

A writer must always tell the truth (unless he's a journalist)

Gore Vidal

As I looked back over my life, I realized that I enjoyed nothing--not art, not sex--more than going to the movies.

Gore Vidal

There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat.

Gore Vidal

Traitors who prevail are patriots; usurpers who succeed are divine emperors.

Gore Vidal

Love is a fan club with only two fans.

Gore Vidal

I suspect that one of the reasons we create fiction is to make sex exciting.

Gore Vidal

It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.

Gore Vidal

Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head.

Gore Vidal

Never have children, only grandchildren.

Gore Vidal

History is idle gossip about a happening whose truth is lost the instant it has taken place.

Gore Vidal

Never offend an enemy in a small way.

Gore Vidal

Nothing human is finally calculable; even to ourselves we are strange.

Gore Vidal

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

Gore Vidal

Of course his dust would be absorbed in other living things and to that degree at least he would exist again, though it was plain enough that the specific combination which was he would never exist again.

Gore Vidal

The first TV babies are now writing with a TV mind that has no attention span at all.

Gore Vidal

Never pass up a chance to have sex or appear on television.

Gore Vidal

There is something about the state putting the power to bully into the hands of subnormal, sadistic apes that makes my blood boil.

Gore Vidal

Miss Rand now tells us that what we have thought was right is really wrong. The lesson should have read: One for one and none for all.

Gore Vidal

Reality is something the human race doesn't handle very well.

Gore Vidal

In fact, life itself is a contradiction if only because birth is the direct cause, in every single case, of death

Gore Vidal

I wanted to be a politician and a movie star. But I was born a writer. If you're born that, you can't change it. You're going to do it whether you want to or not.

Gore Vidal

We are given our place in time as we are given our eyes: weak, strong, clear, squinting, the thing is not ours to choose. Well, this has been a squinting, walleyed time to be born in.

Gore Vidal

How hungrily we read about ourselves!

Gore Vidal

The worst thing to happen to Lincoln - aside from the unfortunate incident at Ford's theatre - was to fall into the hands of Carl Sandburg.

Gore Vidal

Although Americans justify their self-interest in moral terms, their true interest is never itself moral.

Gore Vidal

Ideally, of course, a relationship is best, but then how many people are capable of deep feeling? Practically none.

Gore Vidal

If Henry Miller often sounded like a village idiot, it is because, like Whitman, he was the rest of the village as well.

Gore Vidal

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

Gore Vidal

Since nothing is free, to each his price.

Gore Vidal

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.

Gore Vidal

Anyone who sings about love and harmony and life [john lennon] is dangerous to someone who sings about death and killing and subduing [Nixon]

Gore Vidal

The public is always relieved to find that once the chief officers of state are elected they do not sincerely want change.

Gore Vidal

Heroes must see to their own fame. No one else will.

Gore Vidal

Nothing that ever was changes. Yet nothing that is can ever be the same as what went before.

Gore Vidal

Once people get hung up on theology, they've lost sanity forever. More people have been killed in the name of Jesus Christ than any other name in the history of the world.

Gore Vidal

No one can ever love us quite so much as we love ourselves.

Gore Vidal

Americans tend to play different roles, hoping that somehow they’ll stumble on the right one.

Gore Vidal

Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps 20 players. … I have 10 or so, and that’s a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them.

Gore Vidal

For the average American freedom of speech is simply the freedom to repeat what everyone else is saying and no more.

Gore Vidal

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

Gore Vidal

Eventually all things are known. And few matter.

Gore Vidal

Let the dust take me when the adventure's done and I shall make the dust glitter for all eternity with my marvelous fury.

Gore Vidal

Christianity is such a silly religion.

Gore Vidal

I’ve always said, ‘I have nothing to say, only to add.’ And it’s with each addition that the writing gets done. The first draft of anything is really just a track.

Gore Vidal

The rhetoric of hate is often most effective when couched in the idiom of love.

Gore Vidal

Prepare yourself for some bad news: Ronald Reagan’s library just burned down. Both books were destroyed. But the real horror: He hadn’t finished coloring either one of them.

Gore Vidal

It is curious how little interested we are in the sexual desires of those who do not attract us.

Gore Vidal

Love is not my bag.

Gore Vidal

Always beware of the fact, that the only thing hindering an all out revolution is your fear of losing the scraps they throw at you.--Twitter post, July 29, 2012

Gore Vidal

Whether he knows it or not, the middle-income American is taxed as though he were living in a socialist society.

Gore Vidal

To turn life into words is to make life yours to do with as you please, instead of the other way round

Gore Vidal

That's why Priscus is wisest of all: silence cannot be judged. Silence masks all things or no thing. Only Priscus can tell us what his silence conceals, but since he won't, we suspect him great.

Gore Vidal

A good deed never goes unpunished.

Gore Vidal

We no longer live in a nation, but in a Homeland.

Gore Vidal

To be categorized is, simply, to be enslaved

Gore Vidal

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.

Gore Vidal

Ronald Reagan is a triumph of the embalmer's art.

Gore Vidal

It is of no consequence what others think of you. What matters is what you think of them. That is how you live your life.

Gore Vidal

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

Gore Vidal

Drugs. If they did not exist our governors would have invented them in order to prohibit them and so make much of the population vulnerable to arrest, imprisonment, seizure of property, and so on.

Gore Vidal

Sexual revelation in literature, must be tactful and must serve plot

Gore Vidal

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.

Gore Vidal

For a man to successful, not only must he succeed but his friends must also fail.

Gore Vidal

I'm a born-again atheist.

Gore Vidal

Love it or loathe it, you can never leave it or lose it.

Gore Vidal

Say very mildly, we have only one political party in the U.S., the Property Party, with two right wings, Republican and Democrat.

Gore Vidal

...Leggett feels that to be excitingly right in general is better than to be dully accurate in particular. That is why he is such an effective journalist.

Gore Vidal

That my plans have lately gone somewhat awry is the sort of risk one must take if life is to be superb.

Gore Vidal

...,I have never visited any city in the world where I was not told that I just missed the golden age. I seem never to be on time." Cyrus Sitema

Gore Vidal

I think there should be a constitutional amendment making it impossible for anyone to be president who believes in an afterlife.

Gore Vidal

Beneath my cold exterior, once you break the ice, you find cold water.

Gore Vidal

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

Gore Vidal

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

Gore Vidal