Fiction and Poetry 3am Magazine Contact Links Submission Guidelines
Literature
Arts
Politics
Nonfiction
Music

 
   
 
 

3am ESSAY


GORE VIDAL AND TIMOTHY McVEIGH AT THE EDINBURGH FESTIVAL

"The dogmas propagated by contemporary ‘libertarian’ militants can be traced back to nineteenth century anarchists like Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, a vicious anti-semite who dreamt of the Nazi holocaust nearly a hundred years before the Nazis. For these groups government of any kind is an anathema. And everyone is of no value. Soho bar customers, Brick Lane pedestrians, subway commuters, low paid lab technicians, government office workers are all fair targets for such hate groups. And of course such hate groups are there to create terror and a mood so that the violence on their agenda takes place. For Gore Vidal to line up with Timothy McVeigh is odd and seems to show a surprising lack of understanding about how reactionary movements function."



‘Any man who does not labour to be obsolete is not worth his salt’. There is something grandly, sublimely transgressive in this thought, and very American too – notice that strenuous ‘labour’ and the calculating, masculinist ‘worth his salt’ that pulls it consciously away from the more European, laid back, Beckettian ‘Fail, try again, fail better’ approach to the ambition of the annihilating self. William Burroughs, whose thought it was, used to be at the same boarding school as Gore Vidal, but by pronouncing sentences seemingly defending the bombing of an American crèche it’s Vidal not Burroughs who seems to be out to make his obsolescence complete.

Applauding a neo-nazi fertiliser truck bombing in which 168 people were killed, including 19 children playing in a crèche, sounds like the kind of assessment that links up with a right wing neo-nazi cabal which permeates the anarchist Primitivist Network and the ‘academic’ journal ‘Anarchist studies’ amongst others. The dogmas propagated by contemporary ‘libertarian’ militants can be traced back to nineteenth century anarchists like Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, a vicious anti-semite who dreamt of the Nazi holocaust nearly a hundred years before the Nazis. For these groups government of any kind is an anathema. And everyone is of no value. Soho bar customers, Brick Lane pedestrians, subway commuters, low paid lab technicians, government office workers are all fair targets for such hate groups. And of course such hate groups are there to create terror and a mood so that the violence on their agenda takes place. For Gore Vidal to line up with Timothy McVeigh is odd and seems to show a surprising lack of understanding about how reactionary movements function. The Oklahoma bombing was not the work of just one man and McVeigh’s role may not be clear, but the idea that McVeigh was not sympathetic to neo-nazism is frankly idiotic. And its not as if Vidal is using the case to highlight the obscenity of state execution or anything like that.

The USA is where, according to this iconoclastic émigré, the President ‘… occupies a place greater than Trajan’s at the high noon of the Roman empire…’ It’s current office holder, George W Bush, signed more than one hundred death warrents whils’t Governor of Texas. This twisted boy-goon even, according to Christopher Hitchens ‘… countered the Christian conservative petition on behalf of Karla Faye Tucker by mimicking her last-minute entreaties (‘Oh, please don’t kill me’) to a reporter for Rupert Murdoch’s Weekly Standard…’. Real sick stuff. It’s where surrender to the plutocratic principle is the oldest story of US politics in the book and where, according to Vidal, an unelected and secretive permanent government is the busy heart of its real power and its real corruption. He has long written about these things, alongside what he sees as America’s other curses - monotheism, sexual stereotyping and U.S. Imperialism. It’s his bag and it’s brilliant stuff.

The belief in spooks, hidden governments, decisions made behind closed doors, a general suspicion of government in the pocket of the old Chase Manhattan Bank, that’s the usual cocktail that makes up U.S. liberal thinking – out of which comes Woodward and Bernstein Washington Post style heroics plus Mulder and Scully X-File style conspiracy fantasies.

And of course there are real secrets to be found. Woodward and Bernstein did bring down Nixon after all. And last week science discovered a third species of elephant and before that killer dinosaurs even bigger than T-Rex. Conventional wisdoms assumed since childhood are thus demolished. Without the iconoclasts new discoveries wouldn’t be made. But Vidal’s recent defence of Timothy McVeigh, the man executed for the Oklahoma bombing, is an iconoclastic position that seems to sacrifice wisdom to the barbarians. When his irony looks like a bid for obsolescence, there’s a sense of Vidal protesting beyond his means.







GET OUR NEWSLETTER!
Your Name:
Your Email:
 
Enter your email address above for 3 AM MAGAZINE'S Monthly Newsletter. Each time a new issue is posted, we'll let you know. (Your email address will be kept confidential!)









home | buzzwords
fiction and poetry | literature | arts | politica | music | nonfiction
| offers | contact | guidelines | advertise | webmasters
Copyright © 2005, 3 AM Magazine. All Rights Reserved.