Gore Vidal’s Best Quotes: Sex, Politics, and More

Aug 1, 2012 The Daily Beast

The author and playwright was known for his politically and socially controversial novels and essays, as well as his quotable quips. The Daily Beast recalls some of Vidal’s most memorable comments.

Gore Vidal
Sophie Bassouls, Sygma / Corbis
On Sex:
"I never miss a chance to have sex or appear on television."

"Sex is. There is nothing more to be done about it. Sex builds no roads, writes no novels and sex certainly gives no meaning to anything in life but itself."

"There is no such thing as a homosexual or a heterosexual person. There are only homo- or heterosexual acts. Most people are a mixture of impulses if not practices."

On Envy:
"Envy is the central fact of American life."

"It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail."

"Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little."

On Politics:
"Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically by definition be disqualified from ever doing so."
"Democracy is supposed to give you the feeling of choice like, Painkiller X and Painkiller Y. But they're both just aspirin."
"Fifty percent of people won't vote, and fifty percent don't read newspapers. I hope it's the same fifty percent."
"Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates."
"Every four years the naive half who vote are encouraged to believe that if we can elect a really nice man or woman President everything will be all right. But it won't be."
"As the age of television progresses the Reagans will be the rule, not the exception. To be perfect for television is all a President has to be these days."
"The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country— and we haven't seen them since."
"Andy Warhol is the only genius I've ever known with an I.Q. of 60"
"A good deed never goes unpunished."
"Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn."
"The more money an American accumulates, the less interesting he becomes."
"The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so."
"There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise."
"A narcissist is someone better looking than you are."