Satirist Vidal States Americans 'Ripe for Dictatorship' in Speech
Attacks U.S. 'Emptiness'
"If ever there was a people ripe for a dictatorship, it is the American people today," playwright-novelist Gore Vidal, author of Visit to a Small Planet, said yesterday afternoon.
America has come to this state of moral complacency and emptiness as a result of the same trend which has done so much to kill the art of satire in this country, explained Vidal in an address sponsored by the Advocate at Longfellow Hall.
The satirist then declared that Americans have become members of "domesticated wolfpacks." Vidal continued, "We have lost the picture of solitary man standing up against other men and the facts of his creation." Not only unable to stand alone, Americans are also affected by "a tolerance so profound it is akin to terror," which stultifies the artist.
This blandness, Vidal maintained, creates "a spiritual ergot which causes young writers to abort early." He admitted that even his famous Visit was softened for general consumption.
Another obstacle to satire, Vidal noted, is that our leaders, unlike those of some other countries, "are to a man innocent of civilization." During a short White House job, Vidal "found that the Great Golfer read only westerns, and his staff reads Gallup polls."