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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: November 5, 2008 @ 11:44 am

    Gore Vidal on election night

    Fiona McCann

    One of the funniest bits of a wonderful night which has me underslept and overjoyed was watching Gore Vidal being interviewed by David Dimbleby.  YouTube Preview Image

    • JC says:

      No seriously. Anyone preparing for a live TV interview should study this. The idea seems to be to confound and backfoot your interviewer as often as possible. Use the element of surprise. Things get good around 1:18. Then there’s “I don’t know what you’re saying I’m saying. Would you do it again?” and “I don’t know why you would because I don’t know who you are.” And always remember to remind your interviewer when it’s his turn. You might even consider kind of even picking your nose there at the end, though that may only work if you are actually Gore Vidal.

    • Q says:

      I’m still laughing at Christopher Hitchens’s comment that Palin couldn’t tell the different between Sarkozy and Inspector Clouseau. LOL.

    • Fiona says:

      JC – great stuff, isn’t it?

      A – Wonderful! Shame we didn’t get such moments on RTE – nor even updated graphics much of the time. I gave up on RTE early on and just stuck with the BBC for much of the night, with the occasional flick back to see how Mr Bird was getting on in his new post.

    • NaRocRoc says:

      That’s hilarious. Vidal’s has more ego than marbles. At least Dimbleby, with humour and humility, deals with it and cuts him off.

      All in all the Beeb’s analysis was quite good. That said they’ve been falling apart technically all night and even today. And Dimbleby was underwhelmed by the lack of excitement with the whole US electoral process. They don’t do it like the Brits he lamented. He was like a child who’d been promised Disneyland but had to settle for Blackpool.

      That said, RTÉ’s coverage was lame, well below their usual high standards. It was well behind and practically irrelevant. Token public service broadcasting but hardly cutting edge.

    • Markham says:

      Whatever you do, Gore, don’t look into the camera.

      ‘It’s your turn.’ – Brilliant.

    • Paddy McAteer says:

      Who, on this earth, decided to ask Gore Vidal to make a political contribution – but the finale was much appreciated. Thanks

    • B says:

      RTE’s was terrible.

      An Elvis-esque viewing method of watching 3 televisions at once for Sky, BBC and CNN was the way to go.

      Why’s yer man talking like Dylan Moran?

    • Neil Ward says:

      I thought Vidal was brilliant. Egotistical, bitchy and incredibly funny. Fair play to Dimbleby for dealing with him like such a pro and at least having a giggle about it.

    • Fiona says:

      Markham – that’s my favourite line. I nearly fell off the chair when I heard it the first time. What an excellent thing to say to Dimbleby.

      Paddy – worth watching to the end, ain’t it?

      B – I added the internet into the equation too, so had a monitor or two running, but found the NY Times way behind the Beeb when it came to clocking electoral votes.

    • B says:

      CNN was a good bit ahead of BBC I think… not entirely accurate though

    • Gray Wright says:

      Isn’t he just stellar, cranky and full of pith and vinegar in an era of bland tv contributors!

      I was long gone to sleep when this happened Fiona so thanks for pointing it out and for your lovely comment the other day.

    • Quint says:

      Where or what is Vidal looking at? Dimbleby is a pro.

    • A bit OT, but Gore Vidal is responsible for the single most boring/enraging evening of my entire life – about four years ago I went to see him read from his latest book in Berlin only to discover that there had been a change of plan and he was just going to sit on stage for nearly three hours while a German actor read from Julian, his book about the late Roman empire, in German. My German’s pretty decent so I could at least understand what was being said if I concentrated hard, but it was still horrendously boring and my poor husband fell asleep. At the end Vidal stood up, everyone cheered madly (well, almost everyone), and that was it. Oh, and before he came on someone played a trumpet. It was all a bit surreal. And I can now never look at Vidal without remembering that awful evening…

    • Fiona says:

      B – I gave CNN a miss. Not enough tellies in these belt-tightening times, alas.

      Gray – Not at all. Enjoyed the post very much.

      Quint – Dimbleby comes off well here, but was irritatingly pompous at other moments.

      Penny – Grrrrr. Sounds horrendous, but is still always good to have a Gore Vidal story up one’s sleeve. Though I’m not a great fan of his work, I would go to a Vidal reading for the entertainment value, though he clearly didn’t provide in your case! Let that be a lesson, I guess.

    • professor says:

      Dimbleby. What are his other names? Farquar Rotherswaithe? Where do you find them? You English aren’t a cliche or anything.

      For your information, Vidal answers the question and so the imbecile repeats Vidal’s answer back to him in the form of a question. Smashing repartee. Cheerio.


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