By Marcie Frank
Novelist, tv character, political candidate, and maverick social commentator, Gore Vidal is likely one of the such a lot leading edge, influential, and enduring American intellectuals of the prior fifty years. In easy methods to Be an highbrow within the Age of television, Marcie Frank offers a concise advent to Vidal’s existence and paintings as she argues that the twentieth-century shift from print to digital media, relatively television and picture, has not just loomed huge in Vidal’s proposal but additionally based his profession. Vidal’s prolific
literary output, Frank exhibits how he has mirrored explicitly in this topic at each flip: in essays on politics, his ebook on Hollywood and historical past, his experiences and interviews, and topical tours in the novels. while, she strains how he has many times crossed the road supposedly keeping apart print and digital tradition, probably with extra good fortune than the other American highbrow. He has written tv serials and screenplays, seemed in videos, and frequently seemed on tv, so much famously in heated arguments with Norman Mailer at the Dick Cavett convey and with William F. Buckley in the course of ABC’s insurance of the 1968 Democratic nationwide Convention.
Frank highlights the connections among Vidal’s attitudes towards television, intercourse, and American politics as they've got proficient his literary and political writings and reveal appearances. She deftly situates his public character with regards to these of Andy Warhol, Jacqueline Susann, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, and others. through describing Vidal’s sensible maneuvering among various media, Frank means that his occupation deals a version to aspiring public intellectuals and a refutation to those that argue that digital media have eviscerated public discourse.
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Additional info for How to Be an Intellectual in the Age of TV: The Lessons of Gore Vidal
Although they take opposite positions on the hospitality of the university toward intellectuals, neither Said nor Robbins fully acknowledges the links between the specialization of knowledge and the media shift. Their accounts can thus sound nostalgic for a print-based intellectual culture, a problem that Posner avoids. Though he also tells a story of the decline of the educated and competent citizen, Posner incorporates into his account electronic modes of publicity. 5 This incorporation of electronic resources, whose citational criteria include ‘‘media mentions,’’ however, reﬂects Posner’s minimalist conception of culture, deriving from having the market as his primary conceptual tool.
Between the Acts is the title of one of Virginia Woolf’s lesser-known novels (of 1941), but Cavett’s writers also alluded, in an ironic and veiled fashion, to Jacqueline Susann’s best-selling novel The Love Machine (1969). The joke stages the cultural viability of television by playing to the educated viewer’s appreciation of the diﬀerences between Woolf and Susann and dramatizing the ‘‘pulpy’’ preference for sex over television. 7 48 Vidal and Mailer’s display of literary rivalry on tv and Cavett’s representation of literary rivalry with tv both suggest that what was at stake in this episode’s almost zoological display of types of machismo was the diminishing literary, cultural, and political authority of the male novelist.
Relying on the same east-west split, the recent ﬁlm Adaptation (2002) portrays the revenge of a Hollywood-based screenwriter on a New York– based New Yorker writer as he struggles to adapt her book The Orchid Thief for the screen. The wild inventiveness of this revenge—the screenwriter must discover that the writer is really a drug-addled would-be murderer in order for him to complete an adaptation that can thus include the amount of action, death, and gore requisite for success on ﬁlm—suggests that the geographic contrast is exhausted.
How to Be an Intellectual in the Age of TV: The Lessons of Gore Vidal by Marcie Frank