Around the world people mourned the death of Gore Vidal and shared their memories and tributes, according to Reuters.
Vidal known for his acerbic wit, criticisms and commentaries on sex and American society in his novels and essays died at his home in Los Angeles on Tuesday of complications from pneumonia.
As an American author, playwright, essayist, screenwriter and political activist he set the stage early in his career to outrage conservative critics in 1948 when he wrote a novel featuring unambiguous homosexuality, which for the times was risky, but in true Vidal form and character—he didn’t care—in fact he reveled in controversy which was his famous appeal earning him the moniker of “the Oscar Wilde of his time.”
Sidney Blumenthal, a former aide to Bill Clinton, said Vidal was "one of the several dominant literary figures of mid-century America".
"What he had in his veins was a sense of high politics and an understanding - in a way that no other literary figure of his generation did - of Washington. It was unique," Blumenthal told BBC radio.
British theatre and opera director Jonathan Miller, who moved in the same celebrity circles as Vidal in New York in the 1960s, paid tribute to the writer, describing him as "grand" and "fun to be with.”
His body of work includes 26 essays and non-fiction, 8 plays, 26 novels, and 14 screenplays.
Known for his outspoken views on politics and never shy or demur in a public forum, Vidal supposedly engaged in an altercation with Norman Mailer as they both were to appear on the Dick Cavett Show.
His political tendencies are a polemic because while he supported Ralph Nader for president, he campaigned against incumbent Governor Jerry Brown in favor of himself for the same elective office in 1982 for the Democratic primary election to U.S. Senate from California.
He was, however, a staunch supporter of Democratic causes, but called himself a "conservative" and wrote in the 1970s:
“A characteristic of our present chaos is the dramatic migration of tribes. They are on the move from east to west, from south to north. Liberal tradition requires that borders must always be open to those in search of safety or even the pursuit of happiness. But now with so many millions of people on the move, even the great-hearted are becoming edgy. Norway is large enough and empty enough to take in 40 to 50 million homeless Bengalis. If the Norwegians say that, all in all, they would rather not take them in, is this to be considered racism? I think not. It is simply self-preservation, the first law of species.”
Vidal said at a 1999 lecture in Dublin, Ireland, “I think of myself as a conservative.” He was a protectionist at heart and loved America and democracy. “My family helped start [this country],” he wrote, “and we’ve been in political life since the 1690s, and I have a very possessive sense about this country.
Whatever one’s views are of Gore Vidal the writer or political activist, one thing can certainly be said--he was never lost for words or opinions.