A post-apocalyptic Liberace and the popular author as hallowed gasbag

Two cultural events viewed this past weekend.

First, on C-SPAN’s Book TV, there was a taped broadcast of the National Book Awards ceremony from earlier in the week (I think). The paranoid conspiracist and gasbag novelist Gore Vidal was with great aplomb wheeled out, literally, to get some award and proceeded to ramble on about FDR, telling a story that had no apparent end and no apparent point, all to nervous laughter from the literati crowd. After the FDR story, Vidal characteristically summed things up: America still sucks (despite the Messiah, apparently, who he did not mention), the movies are no good anymore, and the books are pulped before they are read, as they should be. Well, that is certainly a way of putting it.

Then, last night, at the end of the American Music Awards, American Idol finalist Adam Lambert gave a much awaited (by fan Madam Vandam) performance. Instead of featuring his incredible singing voice, however, the thing played out as some sort of S&M shtick with Lambert grabbing this or that loin and I think receiving some faux-fellation from one of the sprawling lads. His singing voice was shuttered, is the best way I can describe it. And with his ridiculous get-up and hair he came off as a post-apocalyptic Liberace.

It was a disappointing engagement.

Next day: I said to Madam Vandam last night, about this post, that probably half the country (the younger half) doesn’t know who Liberace is. He was a cultural icon for so long that it might have gone unnoticed by those who grew up watching his regular bouts with the piano that Liberace is rarely if ever mentioned today. To put it in terms the more contemporary half of America might understand: Liberace was what Madonna used to be. So, for those who missed the reference here’s a photo of the maestro in modest resplendence:


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