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Thursday, August 02, 2012

TDB: Gore Vidal’s Great Love, Baseball Prodigy James Trimble

James Trimble...Last of the Washington Senators Hot Shots.

Gore Vidal chose to be buried beside his partner of more than half a century—but he picked the cemetery to be just a few strides from the one great love of his life, a golden-haired baseball prodigy who joined the Marines and was killed by a Japanese suicide bomber when he was just 19.

...(James) Trimble was by then the hottest baseball prospect anybody could remember. The Washington Post reported he had pitched a no-hitter against Woodrow Wilson High School. He struck out 14 batters, much to the consternation of a beauty officially named Woodrow Wilson’s most beautiful blonde, Christine White.

“He wouldn’t let our boys hit the ball,” she would later tell the writer James Roberts in his book, Hardball on the Hill. “It seemed so unfair.”

...A future in baseball seemed assured with a letter from the Washington Senators inviting him to try out, saying, “Just bring your glove, shoes, and sweatshirt and we can furnish you with a uniform.” He walked away with a contract giving him $5,000 up front and a full scholarship to Duke if he agreed to play for the Senators afterwards.

...The fighting on Guam was all but done when he arrived, and he was able to play baseball between patrols. He lived a dream as he got to pitch against major league ball players who now wore a Marine uniform. He scored 27 victories and suffered just two losses, and made the Third Marine Division All-Star Team.

“Thank God for God, you and baseball in this dark wilderness,” he wrote White.

Repoz Posted: August 02, 2012 at 08:12 AM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, senators, washington

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   1. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: August 02, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4198768)
Gore Vidal's great love was the image looking back at himself in the mirror. That is all.

A minor essayist. He will not be missed and his death should be an occasion to remember all of the loathsome, evil, vicious things he said and hateful causes he espoused, not to cloak him in some farcical veil of decency that he himself would have rejected.
   2. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 02, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4198785)
I've read a few of his historical novels and they were quite good. Haven't read his essays but if Esoteric thinks they are so terrible they must be pretty good.

On the other hand, Vidal was responsible for giving us the Michelle Bachmann we have today. I had heard Bachmann make similar comments before and it just underscored for me how vacuous Bachmann's conservatism is if that was her seminal ideological moment.

As for the article itself, it was an interesting story that I hadn't heard before. It reminded me a bit of the main character in Chabon's "Kavalier and Clay" who falls in love with the dashing actor before he goes off to war.
   3. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: August 02, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4198801)
I've read a few of his historical novels and they were quite good. Haven't read his essays but if Esoteric thinks they are so terrible they must be pretty good.
No, it's the other way around. He was a banal, thoroughly mediocre novelist (good for dishing gossip in the form of historical fiction -- I suppose Burr is the most well-known for this, but actually Julian is better -- but absolutely dead and lifeless when it comes to any attempt at novelistic, descriptive prose). He was a rather clever essayist, however. No Chris Hitchens (not even a DFW, really), but still rather gifted and certainly superior to overrated egotists like Mailer and arguably Capote as well.

Speaking of interesting stories I hadn't heard before...my disdain as a conservative for Michele Bachmann is near-legendary, but one thing she is not is stupid. She lets people think that about her because it works to her advantage, but she is actually fairly intellectual (this is from personal experience) and that little Vidal anecdote hints at it. Speaking only in terms of her personality type (i.e. set aside politics) it's interesting how she combines real intelligence with reckless seat-of-the-pants irresponsibility; it's not a combination of characteristics that's terribly uncommon, but it sure is in a successful politician.
   4. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: August 02, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4198820)
I liked some of his essays and both of his memoirs. Also, Lincoln was a fun read.

but still rather gifted and certainly superior to overrated egotists like Mailer and arguably Capote as well.


Mailer's "Naked and The Dead" and "Execution Song" will always make him an important writer in my book. As for his essays, it's still embarrassing to think about his White Negro hipster bullshit one.
   5. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 02, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4198824)
I think Michelle Bachmann just wanted in on some of those Sarah Palin millions. You can make a lot of money in America telling niche groups what they want to hear.
   6. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: August 02, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4198833)
the loathsome, evil, vicious things he said and hateful causes he espoused

He was in this movie (and apparently wrote his own dialogue, as well). That's more than enough.
   7. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: August 02, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4198854)
On the other hand, Vidal was responsible for giving us the Michelle Bachmann we have today. I had heard Bachmann make similar comments before and it just underscored for me how vacuous Bachmann's conservatism is if that was her seminal ideological moment.


Otto: *Apes* don't read philosophy!

Wanda: Yes they do, Otto. They just don't *understand* it.

   8. JoeHova Posted: August 02, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4198858)
It's a shame that pretending to be stupid and insane is apparently beneficial in American politics.
   9. Lassus Posted: August 02, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4198908)
Otto: *Apes* don't read philosophy!
Wanda: Yes they do, Otto. They just don't *understand* it.


On a scale of 1-10, that movie was somewhere in the area of an 82.
   10. Srul Itza Posted: August 02, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4198991)
Never underestimate the intellectual shortcomings of a Mets fan.
   11. tfbg9 Posted: August 02, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4199063)
Execution Song


Its The Executioner's Song.

And its off the scale great.
   12. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: August 02, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4199069)
Ugh. I promise I knew that and was barely awake and am semi-literate anyway.
   13. Lassus Posted: August 02, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4199075)
Never underestimate the intellectual shortcomings of a Mets fan.

This is about my comment on A Fish Called Wanda? What would you have preferred, old man, The Sunshine Boys?
   14. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: August 02, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4199095)
On a scale of 1-10, that movie was somewhere in the area of an 82.
I watched it again recently and while it's great fun, the HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE '80s soundtrack knocks it all the way down from an 82 on your 1-10 scale to something more in the range of a 7 or an 8.

It's funny how the soundtrack didn't stick out to me at all back in the day (I saw it as a kid when I was eight or nine -- think 1988-1989 -- and instantly loved it, got interested in Monty Python because of it), but now I find it impossible to ignore.

I could watch Jamie Lee Curtis' various insults of Kevin Kline on a loop, however. Great comic acting from both of them.
   15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 02, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4199117)
Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann told The Daily Caller Wednesday that author Gore Vidal’s “snotty, mocking attitude” helped her realize she was a conservative.


That's incredibly amusing, but not for the reason that Bachmann probably thinks that it is.
   16. Sunday silence Posted: August 02, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4199126)
Is that the second best comedy of the 80s, after Tootsie? When was Ground Hog Day? I always liked that one.
   17. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 02, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4199147)
Groundhog Day was in the 1990s.

Great 1980s comedies, in no particular order:
Midnight Run
A Fish Called Wanda
Coming to America
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
I'm Gonna Git You Sucka
The Naked Gun
Overboard
Back to School
Nothing in Common
Fletch
Back to the Future
Broadway Danny Rose
Sixteen Candles
This Is Spinal Tap
Ghostbusters
Romancing the Stone
Trading Places
Victor/Victoria
Zelig
Popeye
The Blues Brothers
Airplane!


   18. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: August 02, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4199149)
When was Ground Hog Day? I always liked that one.


1993.
   19. Steve Treder Posted: August 02, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4199153)
Got to have Planes, Trains, and Automobiles on the list.

Hell, virtually anything with John Candy.
   20. fra paolo Posted: August 02, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4199155)
I was a big fan of Gore Vidal, but he went on too long trying desperately to make himself significant, and ended up saying and doing things a less desperate man probably would have avoided.

Despite Esoteric's distaste, in my view Vidal is certainly a noteworthy — literally in the sense of clearly worth at least a footnote — figure in a history of American literary culture during the Cold War period. He is quite representative of a time when it was thought that literary people could be media celebrities, and some of his novels either anticipated subsequent real history, in the case of Dark Green, Bright Red and Messiah, or very effectively captured the mood of the time, as in the case of Burr and 1876. Vidal also undeniably had talent for a kind of aphoristic writing, as his several famous quotes indicated. One may just as well exclude J B Priestley from a history of British literature in the years 1930-60 as excluding Vidal from the period 1945-95 or so.

Palimpsest is one of the great literary works of the last quarter of the twentieth century. Sadly, my copy is back in Blighty, but there's a moment around page 250 IIRC when he is talking about Rousseau, I think, and his all-too-often hidden acid sense of self-mockery is deployed to great effect. I am also fond of Two Sisters, a book that foreshadowed both Burr and Palimpsest.


   21. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: August 02, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4199170)
Palimpsest is one of the great literary works of the last quarter of the twentieth century.
If this is truly the case, then it merely confirms my belief that English literature has been in an extremely fallow period since the mid-'70s. Even Pynchon wouldn't qualify from that era (V. is '63, Lot 49 is '66, and Gravity's Rainbow is '73) were it not for Mason & Dixon which I actually believe to be his best work...or at least my favorite. (It's his most humane.) Basically it's David Foster Wallace (who was still so young, relatively speaking, and Infinite Jest quite the messy, unfocused work despite its brilliance), William Gaddis, and maybe Stanley Elkin. DeLillo is overrated but at least in the conversation. And John Kennedy Toole is the greatest one-shot wonder of this or pretty much any other era, but it's only one book.

I confess to never acquiring a taste for Cormac McCarthy. I can't pass judgment on his work simply because I've never brought myself to finish any of his books (not meant as an insult, just don't have the appetite for the worldview he's dishing out).

I find all of the currently trendy New York-scene DFW knockoffs to be mostly intolerable rubbish. Foer, Franzen, Eggers...ugh. American literature, disappearing in a cloud of smug, self-congratulatory, overly precious yet still arthritically mannered meaninglessness. It's made me turn almost completely to history and non-fiction in recent years.
   22. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 02, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4199198)
Great 1980s comedies, in no particular order:
Midnight Run
A Fish Called Wanda
Coming to America
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
I'm Gonna Git You Sucka
The Naked Gun
Overboard
Back to School
Nothing in Common
Fletch
Back to the Future
Broadway Danny Rose
Sixteen Candles
This Is Spinal Tap
Ghostbusters
Romancing the Stone
Trading Places
Victor/Victoria
Zelig
Popeye
The Blues Brothers
Airplane!


That list doesn't include the greatest '80s comedy of all, Repo Man.
   23. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: August 02, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4199200)
When did Groundhog Day start getting its (appropriate) due as a 'great' comedy? Not initially, I don't think.
   24. Dangerous Dean Posted: August 02, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4199209)
You can make a lot of money in America telling niche groups what they want to hear.


Al Gore and Al Sharpton wonder what you are talking about.
   25. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: August 02, 2012 at 06:14 PM (#4199219)
That must have been a heck of a glory hole!
   26. Srul Itza Posted: August 02, 2012 at 06:18 PM (#4199220)
This is about my comment on A Fish Called Wanda? What would you have preferred, old man, The Sunshine Boys?


Actually, I think I misread your post. I somehow thought the 82 was a negative comment on the movie.

In the immortal words of Emily Litella, nevermind.

EDIT: And regardless of what you may think, George Burns and Gracie Allen were comic geniuses.
   27. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 02, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4199230)

#17 - how could you leave out Bull Durham and Major League?
   28. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 02, 2012 at 06:48 PM (#4199234)

Also Ferris Bueller, Beverly Hills Cop, Big, I'm sure a bunch of others I'm forgetting...
   29. Swedish Chef Posted: August 02, 2012 at 06:50 PM (#4199235)
Foer, Franzen, Eggers...ugh. American literature, disappearing in a cloud of smug, self-congratulatory, overly precious yet still arthritically mannered meaninglessness. It's made me turn almost completely to history and non-fiction in recent years.

I hear good things about "Fifty Shades of Grey".
   30. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: August 02, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4199236)
That list doesn't include the greatest '80s comedy of all, Repo Man.

Plate o' shrimp
   31. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 02, 2012 at 07:05 PM (#4199244)
Dave - Yeah, missed Bull Durham. Definately belongs up there.

Beverly Hills Cop isn't that good. It isn't bad, but it isn't that good.

And I've never seen Big, Ferris, & only parts of Major League. What I've seen of Major League is really funny.
   32. A triple short of the cycle Posted: August 02, 2012 at 07:05 PM (#4199245)
Caddyshack was released in 1980.
   33. AndrewJ Posted: August 02, 2012 at 07:09 PM (#4199248)
That list doesn't include the greatest '80s comedy of all, Repo Man.


That and Lost in America are the two most honest movies about the Reagan era.

"Let's commit some crimes! Let's order sushi and not pay!"
   34. phredbird Posted: August 02, 2012 at 08:11 PM (#4199298)
That list doesn't include the greatest '80s comedy of all, Repo Man.


the more you drive, the stupider you get.
   35. DA Baracus Posted: August 02, 2012 at 08:25 PM (#4199302)
Speaking of funny movies and Gore Vidal, I am reminded of:

Lt. Gen. George Miller: I'm a voracious reader. I'm the Gore Vidal of the Pentagon.
Karen Clarke: Gore's gay.
Lt. Gen. George Miller: No, he's not!
Karen Clarke: I beg to differ, but...
Lt. Gen. George Miller: He's gay? 'Cause I've been saying that Gore Vidal line.
Karen Clarke: He is gay.
Lt. Gen. George Miller: [pause] Guess I'd better stop saying that then.
   36. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: August 02, 2012 at 09:11 PM (#4199333)
Speaking of funny movies


Oh, so you think "funny movies" are within your purview, eh?

Well, allow me to pop a jaunty little bonnet on your purview and ram it up your shitter with a lubricated horse ####!

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