This time it’s Gore Vidal’s Gore Vidal: Sexually Speaking: Collected Sex Writings. What’s next, you ask? Ron Jeremy’s autobiography Ron Jeremy: The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz? Maybe when the mood strikes, but for now let’s talk Gore Vidal.
This is the man who gave us the delicious bite “Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little”. With such a lovely combination of wit and cruelty, I expect a lot from this collection of essays. The fact that that “sex” appears in the title of the book, I admit, didn’t not have any effect. True to what is promised, the collection includes essays on pornography and publishing, sex and politics, sex and self-help, sex and feminism, sex and . . . well, you get the picture. Witty these essays may be, opinionated they certainly are, but scintillating they don’t do. The best bit, I think, is the uproariously funny poke at Henry Miller’s self-absorption. Allow me to quote just enough from this essay to amuse, but stay on the right side of fair use.
And unless Henry Miller is indeed God (not to be ruled out for lack of evidence to the contrary), he does not tell the truth. Everyone he meets either likes or admires him, while not once in the course of Sexus does he fail in bed. Hour after hour, orgasm after orgasm, the great man goes about his priapic task . . . Henry Miller, by his own account, is never less than superb, in life, in art, in bed. Not since the memoirs of Frank Harris has there been such a record of success in the sack.