I was deeply saddened to learn this morning of the death yesterday of Gore Vidal at age 86. He was the great rebel angel of American literature. At some point down the road, I want to write more about Vidal and his relationship--both good and bad--with cinema. However, my wife and I have, after much searching, just bought a house and are in the process of moving in, so I'll be occupied with other things for a while. For now, I will merely state that Vidal is the artistic and political figure who has had the single greatest influence on my life, though plainly I lack even one-millionth of his astounding abilities. Reading his 1978 dystopia Kalki at the age of thirteen was an electrifying experience for me, and soon I was devouring anything by the writer that I could get my hands on. (Here's a lovely 2008 review by Bill Kauffman of the author's final essay collection.) Vidal was, quite simply, my hero, and I wouldn't be who I am today without having encountered his work so many years ago. Hail and farewell to an American patriot!