Amis on Vidal


Amis on Vidal on homosexuality

From: James Diedrick
MartinAmis: Amis's Contemporaries
Date: 4/15/99
Time: 2:41:42 PM
Remote Name:


From "Unpatriotic Gore," Amis's review of Gore Vidal's *Pink Triangle and Yellow Star and Other Essays, 1976-1982* (Observer, 15 August 1982: 30):

". . . . In the opening essay, on Scott Fitzgerald's 'Notebooks,' we learn that Fitzgerald makes 'rather too many nervous references to fairies and pansies.' In the second, on Edmund Wilson, we learn that Wilson's notebooks, too, 'are filled with innumerable references to "fairies" that range from derisive to nervous.' What does 'nervous' mean here exactly? does it mean that Fitzgerald and Wilson are 'nervous' about being fairies themselves? Yes, because Vidal has always believed that heterosexuals got that way purely through the conditioning of the powerful middle class. . . . . Vidal expands his platform. The ruling classes fear the gays because they aren't as easily dominated as the hen-pecked, ball-broken straights with their nagging wives and grasping children. Everyone--oh, happy day--is a potential 'same-sexer.' This is a terrific plus because 'we have more babies than we know what to do with.' Finally, and clinchingly, 'the family is an economic, not a biological unit.' Actually, of course, the family is both: how could a parent-child relationship *not* be biological? But what the family mainly is is a unit, willy-nilly. To disapprove of this fact is as futile as disapproving of oxygen or bipedalism."


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