Best quotes by the American Novelist Gore Vidal

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

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

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.
  • Sex

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



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.
  • Publicity

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

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.
  • Sex

A narcissist is someone better looking than you are.
  • Vanity

Never miss a chance to have sex or appear on television.
  • Opportunity

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

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

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

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

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

Never have children, only grand children.
  • Children

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.
  • Facts

Some writers take to drink, others take to audiences.
  • Praise

It makes no difference whom you vote for -- the two parties are really one party representing four percent of the people.
  • Voting

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.
  • age

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

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

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

I find in most novels no imagination at all. They seem to think the highest form of the novel is to write about marriage, because that's the most important thing there is for middle-class people.
  • Authors

Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps twenty players, and Tennessee Williams has about five, and Samuel Beckett one - and maybe a clone of that one. I have ten or so, and that's a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them.
  • Authors

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.
  • Birds

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

If most men and women were forced to rely upon physical charm to attract lovers, their sexual lives would be not only meager but in a youth-worshiping country like America painfully brief.
  • Charisma

Great critics do not explicate a text; they describe it and then report on what they have described, if the description itself is not the criticism.
  • Criticism

Laughing at someone else is an excellent way of learning how to laugh at oneself; and questioning what seem to be the absurd beliefs of another group is a good way of recognizing the potential absurdity of many of one's own cherished beliefs.
  • Cynicism

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


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Gore Vidal Quotes About

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Gore Vidal president quotes

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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.
  • age

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

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

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

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

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Gore Vidal people quotes

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

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

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

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.
  • companies

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.
  • action

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Gore Vidal writing quotes

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

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

I find in most novels no imagination at all. They seem to think the highest form of the novel is to write about marriage, because that's the most important thing there is for middle-class people.
  • Authors

Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps twenty players, and Tennessee Williams has about five, and Samuel Beckett one - and maybe a clone of that one. I have ten or so, and that's a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them.
  • Authors

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

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Gore Vidal democracy quotes

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

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

We're not a democracy.
  • democracy

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

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Gore Vidal world quotes

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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.
  • advertising

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

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.
  • allow

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.
  • corporate

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More quotes by Gore Vidal

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

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.
  • Government

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
  • Language

Of course, it is possible for any citizen with time to spare, and a canny eye, to work out what is actually going on, but for the many there is not time, and the network news is the only news even though it may not be news at all but only a series of flashing fictions...
  • Media



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.
  • Media

There is hardly an American male of my generation who has not at one time or another tried to master the victory cry of the great ape as it issued from the androgynous chest of Johnny Weissmuller, to the accompaniment of thousands of arms and legs snapping during attempts to swing from tree to tree in the backyards of the Republic.
  • Men

For half a century, photography has been the art form of the untalented. Obviously some pictures are more satisfactory than others, but where is credit due? To the designer of the camera? To the finger on the button? To the law of averages?
  • Photography

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.
  • Population

It is difficult to find a reputable American historian who will acknowledge the crude fact that a Franklin Roosevelt, say, wanted to be President merely to wield power, to be famed and to be feared. To learn this simple fact one must wade through a sea of
  • Power

When Ronald Reagan's career in show business came to an end, he was hired to impersonate, first, a California governor and then an American president who would reduce taxes for his employers, the Southern and Western New Rich, much of whose money came from the defence industries. There is nothing unusual about this arrangement. All recent presidents have had their price-tags.
  • Presidency

I'm all for bringing back the birch, but only between consenting adults.
  • Punishment

It is marvelous indeed to watch on television the rings of Saturn close; and to speculate on what we may yet find at galaxy's edge. But in the process, we have lost the human element; not to mention the high hope of those quaint days when flight would create one world. Instead of one world, we have star wars, and a future in which dumb dented human toys will drift mindlessly about the cosmos long after our small planet's dead.
  • Space

All the other candidates are making speeches about how much they have done for their country, which is ridiculous. I haven't done anything yet, and I think it's just common sense to send me to Washington and make me do my share.
  • Speeches

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.
  • Speeches

A talent for drama is not a talent for writing, but is an ability to articulate human relationships.
  • Theater

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.
  • Theater

The last best hope of earth, two trillion dollars in debt, is spinning out of control, and all we can do is stare at a flickering cathode-ray tube as Ollie answers questions on TV while the press, resolutely irrelevant as ever, asks politicians if they have committed adultery. From V-J Day 1945 to this has been, my fellow countrymen, a perfect nightmare.
  • Trouble

Never have children, only grandchildren.
  • children

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

Litigation takes the place of sex at middle age.
  • age

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.
  • advertising

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

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

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.
  • car

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.
  • book

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

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

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

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

It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.
  • enough

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

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

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.
  • allow

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

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

A good deed never goes unpunished.
  • deed

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

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.
  • corporate

We're not a democracy.
  • democracy

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

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

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.
  • companies

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

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.
  • action

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


Novelist similar to Gore Vidal


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Aldous Huxley 170 quotes
Ernest Hemingway 168 quotes
Charles Dickens 125 quotes

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