Gore Vidal

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Stephen Scullion:  “You do the sport because you love it and you’re passionate and want to see how good you can be. I ran 12 miles over a mountain this morning because I enjoy it, and I’d do that whether the Olympics are happening or not.”  Photograph:  Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

The best sports stories are the ones where we can also find ourselves Con Houlihan always told me the good sportswriter will find the best stories in(...)

Michael Stipe: ‘My life’s work with music is intangible’. Photograph: Adam Berry/Getty

The last time I saw Michael Stipe he had a beanie hat on and was wandering between the tents at the Extinction Rebellion camp in Trafalgar Square(...)

Florida governor Ron DeSantis runs one of America’s largest and most complex states to some, if not unanimous, acclaim. File photograph: Getty

If US liberalism’s nightmare is a competent populist, Ron DeSantis might be the one to give it corporeal form. Florida’s governor is Trump-ish in styl(...)

There are popular laws, beloved laws and President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Photograph: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty

The coronavirus pandemic has become a rout of national stereotypes. In France – seat of reason, advancer of germ theory – anti-vaxxers are legion. The(...)

Then US vice-president Joe Biden shakes hands with Chinese president Xi Jinping in Beijing, 2013. Photograph: Lintao Zhang/Pool/AFP via Getty

One of the first battles in the American civil war took place near a Missouri town that it amused fate to name Carthage. Two millennia before, the Rom(...)

Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies in Mank. Photograph: Netflix

History has not been kind to Marion Davies. The biggest female movie star of the early 1920s, she was crowned Queen of the Screen by theatre owners in(...)

Demonstrators are seen in the reflection of a first World War US army recruitment poster in Washington this week. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

As Americans take their politics to the street, comparisons abound with 1968. It is worth recalling a less kinetic showdown in that summer of urban st(...)

US president Donald Trump: His very nationalism – his American amour propre – makes him amazingly easy to provoke into conflict.  Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Donald Trump is a deceptively conventional US president of the 21st century. Elected to unpick his nation’s entanglements in the Middle East, he has s(...)

So rewarding: a marathon reading of Ulysses at UCLA in 2002. Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty

“I’ve never finished Proust or Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities or even The Brothers Karamazov,” Zadie Smith told the Guardian last week. I’m (...)

In a Word...

Schadenfreude is the pleasure experienced while witnessing another’s misfortune. There is little doubt that, on this side of the Irish Sea, we have wa(...)

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