well charles lane has a point about gore vidal, who was sort of an evil crank. however, i'm pretty much willing to forgive anyone with that prose style for anything. lane quotes vidal on the death of vidal's nemesis (and presumably lane's hero) william f. buckley: “I thought hell is bound to be a livelier place, as he joins forever those whom he served in life, applauding their prejudices and fanning their hatred.” perhaps this is supposed to be an illustration of vidal's 'nihilism,' really it's just a typical perfectly-made insult; i'd be proud to have produced that sentence. one thing to consider about someone like vidal: ok he had a cultural presence. but the actual effect of his own opinions on anything real was miniscule. so go ahead and just do your beautiful ugly thing. i figure he and buckley are perched in a glass booth above hell quibbling for opposite reasons with satan's politics, which currently dominate our blasted nation.
buckley wrote well, though not invariably. he did not write as well as gore vidal.