Gore Vidal’s Bon Mots


Sun 11.25.18

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

It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.

A narcissist is someone better looking than you are.

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

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

Envy is the central fact of American life.

Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little.

The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country — and we haven't seen them since.

Every four years the naive half who vote are encouraged to believe that if we can elect a really nice man or woman President everything will be all right. But it won't be.

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

A good deed never goes unpunished.

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

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

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

Some writers take to drink, others take to audiences."

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.

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

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

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

Congress no longer declares war or makes budgets. So that's the end of the constitution as a working machine.

We should stop going around babbling about how we're the greatest democracy on earth, when we're not even a democracy. We are a sort of militarised republic.

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.

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.

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.

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

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. 

Both Marx and Christ agree that in this life, a right action is consideration for the welfare of others. 

 Litigation takes the place of sex at middle age. 

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

 Didn't George Washington say, 'He who controls Afghanistan will carry New Jersey?

 I'm exactly as I appear. There is no warm, lovable person inside. Beneath my cold exterior, once you break the ice, you find cold water.

 Americans, in general, are ignorant, bigoted, and deeply unhappy with their declining incomes.

 To preserve the human race, it is now necessary to reorganize society. To this end, an Authority must be created with the power to control human population, to redistribute food, to purify air, water, soil, to re-pattern the cities.