Gore Vidal, the celebrated American author, playwright, and political activist, died, aged 86, at his home in the Hollywood Hills section of Los Angeles, CA on Tuesday, July 31, 2012. With a career spanning the better part of six decades, Vidal was known as much for his 25 novels as for his screenwriting, essay collections, and political campaigning.
His obituary in The New York Times declares him an “elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters.” The obituary also points to Vidal’s outspoken and, at times, caustic character – a trait that put him at odds with many due to his provocative rebuke of others and, on a political platform, his candid critique of US imperial foreign policy and the Israeli treatment of Palestinians.
One of his last public appearances was the 2011 Media@McGill Beaverbrook Annual Lecture, hosted by Media@McGill in partnership with the Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival, at McGill University. Entitled, "Questioning Gore Vidal: On the Media", a humorous and animated Vidal gave his critical observations of both the American and international media in an hour-long interview with Professor Marc Raboy, Beaverbrook Chair in Ethics, Media, and Communication. Asked about his statement that people have no voice, because the people have no information, Vidal quipped, “Well, [it’s] because we have the most corrupt press on earth.” After a pause, he addressed the state of the Canadian press: “You’re not doing too badly, may I say.”
The video of the 2011 Media@McGill Beaverbrook Annual Lecture with Gore Vidal can be streamed here.