I began revering the late Gore Vidal as a novelist after coming across "Kalki" following its 1978 publication. Then I admired his persona as professional provocateur, initially via his public battles with Norman Mailer and others, and even more as I later consumed his trenchant essays and blistering historical fiction. If the recent film "Lincoln" or the book on which it was based - "Team Of Rivals" - helped shape your current view of our 16th president, I don't recommend Gore Vidal's "Lincoln" (1984).
But if you have minimal tolerance for cage rattling, I do highly recommend you devote ninety minutes watching "The United States Of Amnesia". Aside from fortifying my esteem for Vidal's work, the old footage shown in this documentary reminded me how Vidal's young age crankiness and perpetual cynicism contributed to his uncanny prescience. Watching the film made me long for a fraction of his foresight, let alone moral courage. I'd lose about half my family and many of my friends publicly uttering just a portion of Vidal's provocations. But it would be liberating to do so. That silly need for approval can be suffocating.
Which artist of any kind prods you to speak your mind more, approval aside?
"Art is the enemy of democracy." - Gore Vidal