A famed man of letters and sexual liaisons who never had a kind word for traditionalism, the late Gore Vidal hobnobbed with the rich and influential and locked horns with William F. Buckley on television. During one of these debates, Vidal called Buckley a “pro-crypto-Nazi,” prompting Buckley to call him a “queer.” Only one of these accusations was true, but both pale in comparison to a charge Vidal’s own relatives are now leveling at the writer.
That, as the Daily Mail puts it, he was a “globe-trotting paedophile who preyed on underage boys.”
The revelation came courtesy of Vidal’s half-sister Nina Straight and her son, Burr Steers, while talking to Tim Teeman, author of the new book In Bed with Gore Vidal. Both Straight and Steers were quite close to the writer during his last years; Vidal died in 2012 at age 86.
Vidal made no secret of his ravenous homosexual appetites and had affairs with actors such as Rock Hudson, Fred Astaire, Charles Laughton, and Noel Coward and also cruised male prostitutes from England to Egypt. This deathstyle even led to violence, with Vidal and a number of other men beating up a male prostitute in 1957. But it was what the foul-mouthed Vidal didn’t boast of, allege Straight and Steers, that was most damning. Writes the Mail, “Nina Straight suggested her half-brother had committed ‘Jerry Sandusky acts’ — a reference to a recent notorious case in which a U.S. college football coach was found guilty of sexually abusing young boys.”
Helping to complete the picture, the Mail wrote:
[Steers added,] “Gore spent a lot of time in Bangkok, after all.”
The Thai capital is infamous for child prostitution and Gore would visit every year. Friends say he had sex there with young male prostitutes.
This helps explain another chapter in Vidal’s life: the expensive legal battle he launched against Buckley in which both writers sued each other for libel. According to Straight and Steers, Buckley had a file on Vidal containing “incriminating” evidence of his pederasty, and Vidal was “terrified” of it coming to light. In fact, “Ms Straight believes Vidal — who was the first to sue — spent $1 million fighting the battle to keep Buckley from revealing details of his dealings with underage boys,” wrote the Mail.
Unfortunately, we’ll never know for sure what the file contained. Buckley’s son, Christopher, said that he discarded the Vidal file in 2012.
Yet I believe the allegations. I’ll tell you why.
“The lady doth protest too much, methinks,” said Hamlet’s mother Queen Gertrude. William Shakespeare knew man’s nature. When people devote tremendous energy to defending or justifying some action, they invariably have a vested interest in doing so. Usually this is because they’re guilty of it themselves.
I think here of the woman who reacted hysterically to pro-life sentiments because she herself once had an abortion; or the man I knew who I was virtually certain was cheating on his wife and who, almost out of the blue one day, emphatically said, “What’s wrong with sex!” And I think of how I defend faith and am guilty of having it myself (lacking though it is, I’m sure). People always give themselves away.
I also think of Gore Vidal. As to this, the Mail reports Steers as saying that Vidal dismissed the adolescent victims of transgressing priests as “hustlers who were sending signals.” Note that this is a common rationalization among pedophiles. Steers also said, writes the paper, “that when Vidal’s half-brother, Jamie Auchincloss, was caught with child pornography, ‘Gore would not condemn him.’” The Mail then adds, “In the Seventies, Vidal even spoke out in support of paedophiles who formed a notorious group set up to campaign for legalised sex between adults and children called NAMBLA, the North-American Man/Boy Love Association.”
Then there was what Vidal said about the 13-year-old girl drugged and raped by director Roman Polanski: “I really don't give a f***. Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she's been taken advantage of?”
Why you’d have to drug a prostitute to get sex wasn’t explained. But, hey, perhaps the above is why Vidal’s many fans think he has such a way with words.
There are also Vidal’s travels. Listen, there’s only one reason a person such as him goes to Thailand “every year” — and it’s not for cultural enrichment. Note that Thailand is widely advertised in homosexual magazines; it was even touted in a NAMBLA magazine as a prime destination for sex tourism. And in 1989 already, writes Benoit Denizet-Lewis in Boston, “at least one NAMBLA member was arrested in Thailand after police said he was running an orphanage that served as a front for child prostitution.”
In addition, the Mail tells us:
Vidal himself revealed in his memoirs that he was “attracted to adolescent males….”
[And] one of his friends admitted he was astonished when Vidal once told him: “You know I’m a pederast.”
Really, though, none of this astonishes me — given Vidal’s leftist leanings. What do I mean? Well, why do you think liberals so viciously attack tradition and Christianity? Why do you think laugh-lusting leftist Bill Maher once said on his old show Politically Incorrect, “The concept of Absolute Truth is scary”? It’s for the same reason pro-life views evoked the emotional response in the woman I mentioned.
Leftists almost invariably have an affinity for — and want to justify — behaviors Christianity calls sins.
They know that if Christianity is right, they’re wrong. And they know that if Christianity holds sway, not only will people never accept their sins, but it will be harder for them to accept themselves.
This isn’t just because they can’t condemn the sin but love the sinner, but because they conflate the sinner and the sin. Consider how leftists talk. Vidal didn’t say, “I’m someone who has engaged in pederasty.”
He said, “I am a pederast.”
Leftists don’t just say, “I’ve indulged in homosexual behavior.” They say, “I am a homosexual.”
It’s the Zen of Being Wrong, as they become one with their sins.
And, of course, when this is your attitude, you’ll see any condemnation of your choice behaviors as a condemnation of you.
This is why Vidal has plenty of company. Hardcore liberal Bay Area radio host Bernie Ward was sent to prison in 2008 for possession and distribution of child pornography. It was learned in 1983 that far-left Massachusetts congressman Gerry Studds had an affair with a 17-year-old boy a decade earlier (he was re-elected). It was recently revealed that British Liberal Democrat politician Cyril Smith was a “serial abuser of boys” and that this fact was covered up by other liberal politicians; another Liberal Democrat legislator, Derek Osbourne, was arrested this year for possessing and distributing images of children suffering, as the police put it, “the most serious level of abuse.” Back on our side of the pond, retired socialist disk jockey David Herman was arrested at about the same time for plotting to transport a seven-year-old girl to the Caribbean so he could molest her. I could go on. Why, even late essayist Christopher Hitchens, while certainly no pedophile, admitted in his memoir Hitch-22 that he’d had homosexual experiences in school. So is it any wonder he was a self-proclaimed “anti-theist” who ranted against Christianity? He was another who doth protested too much.
It’s hard to keep up with the attempts at justification, though. When I wrote my piece “The Slippery Slope to Pedophilia” earlier this year, I didn’t know that the American Psychiatric Association had just released the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and reclassified pedophilia from a disorder to a “sexual orientation” (after an uproar, they revised it to an “interest”).
So who knows? In a couple of decades, Vidal’s fans may no longer deny his pederasty, but say that he was on the cutting edge of sexual liberation.
Correction: This article originally stated that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was released by the American Psychological Association, rather than by the American Psychiatric Association. We apologize for the error.