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  1. The Gore Vidal facebook page is announcing that he has died. He was 86. I've not read Vidal's novels--I have several on docket, including one of his pseudonymous mystery novels--but I recently devoured a good chunk of The Selected Essays. Like him or loathe him, the man had a wicked way with words. His interviews are pretty entertaining, too...and his confrontation with William Buckley is the kind of thing legends are made of: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYymnxoQnf8 Unfortunately, not many of his essays seem to be available online. "Tarzan Revisited" (1963) is a good sampling, though. Better examples,I think--certainly more provocative--would be "Pink Triangle and Yellow Star" (1981) or--especially--his take-down of the Kennedys in "The Holy Family" (1967)--neither of which are available online, afaik. EDIT: Here's the official announcement at Vidal's website. Nothing more than a date, at this point. EDIT EDIT: Here's an interview with Vidal from last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJSSwU1m42k EDIT X3: LA Times has an obit. So does SeattlePI: [i found both of these via BoingBoing, which also links to a Gore Vidal fansite] Here's our thread on Ben Hur, a movie for which Vidal was one of the screenwriters.