July 11, 2002
Our Greatest Living Novelist?

Marc Cooper's interview with Gore Vidal in the LA Weekly has already provoked hoots of derision in the Blogosphere. Here's one factor no one seems to have noticed. A patrician novelist should be familiar with his native language, but Vidal seems to struggle a bit. Consider this sentence:

We had planned to occupy Afghanistan in October, and Osama, or whoever it was who hit us in September, launched a pre-emptory strike.

Since when is "pre-emptory" a word? He means 'preemptive', but seems to have mixed it up with 'peremptory', which means something quite different. It could be a transcription error, but aren't interviews like this generally run by the interviewee before publication to catch just this kind of mistake?

Vidal's error is as bad as Mike Tyson's recent statement that he is planning to "fade into Bolivian". Of course, Tyson has never claimed to be a particularly competent writer, speaker, or thinker.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at July 11, 2002 12:10 AM